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How to Make Music Out of Art

Posted in In the Studio by Rise Art on 19th July 2017

Imagine your favourite song transformed into paint on canvas. Robert Dunt does just that, spending long days in the studio painting meticulous and expansive colourfield canvases that act as a visual metaphor for the deeply layered nature of the music that inspires him. Visually striking and conceptually deep, Robert's works are a contemporary take on abstract expressionism. Take a look around his studio, and discover his devotion to distortion.



Tell us about your art

I am influenced by colour and inspired by music. I’m influenced by works that explore colour, such as the paintings of Patrick Heron. My intention is not just to recreate these works, but to develop them. To do this, I began looking at ways of using colour in a more contemporary context.

I was inspired by the alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain, who wrote "pretty" Beach Boys style pop songs but then covered them with noise, distortion and feedback. In a similar fashion, I began painting "pretty" Patrick Heron style paintings before covering them with black and white "Distortion Forms" as a visual metaphor for this audio distortion. The resulting paintings relate to the act of seeing with the freneticism of some sections referencing visual experiences, like looking at branches of trees as they shake in the wind. My aim is to give the viewer greater visual pleasure and to highlight the colours they see in the world.


Distortion Space, £5,275


When did you decide to pursue art full time?

I have always sought out creativity. I thought that being a barrister would give me a more creative experience in the legal world, but it wasn’t enough. Then I moved to journalism, and while it was better, there still wasn’t enough of a chance to really use one’s imagination.

One day later when I had an extra day’s holiday while my wife went back to work, I bought a canvas and some paints, and from the second I put the first large slab of colour on the canvas I knew that was what I was going to do.


Distortion with Green and Faces, £465


What does being creative mean to you?

Everything. There was a tutor at City & Guilds of London Art School that used to say being creative was an innate human trait, and I agree - it just often ends up hidden or pushed down.



What has been the greatest impact on you as an artist to date?

Realising that I wanted to make artworks that were driven by what I would like to see if I went to a gallery. Alongside this, the teachings of Andrew Grassie (an artist with the Maureen Paley gallery), who really taught me how to paint more professionally and technically.

Going to exhibitions - especially a Patrick Heron show at the Tate years ago, a David Hockney one in Paris with those great colourful landscapes, and Sigmar Polke at Tate Modern - is a constant source of inspiration.


Raining Distortion, £1,575


Give us a quick one liner about your studio space

I can see the trees in the park through the window.



Where do you seek inspiration?

Galleries and art books. I am always finding new colour combinations to try, and new ways to think about making 3D space on a 2D surface.


Where’s your favourite place to travel to and why?

St Ives - because of artists like Patrick Heron and Barbara Hepworth. And Mexico because it’s incredibly fun and relaxing but also culturally fascinating.


Yellow and Violet Distortion, £2,750


Best advice you’ve ever been given as an artist?

Probably Andrew Grassie telling me to paint the edges of some hard edged paintings more tightly. It made me realise that the work doesn’t really have to end up being tight, but you need to know what atmosphere you are trying to create and stick to that. Essentially you need to make your paintings as professionally as you possibly can.


What’s playing in your studio right now?

The Jesus and Mary Chain’s new album - Damage and Joy.


Favourite inspirational quote?

In a Scottish accent: “we don't have to use guitars, we could use clarinets. I can hardly play the guitar and I can’t bear that stuff like Eric Clapton where it’s all about learning to play the guitar. For me it’s all about the imagination” - The Jesus and Mary Chain.


Sliding Distortion, £2,325


Discover Robert's Work »

Just MARVELous: Art for the Comically-Inclined

Posted in Inside Scoop by Aimee Morris on 12th July 2017

It’s an eventful year in the world of comics. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the highest grossing film of 2017 thus far, with box office takings of $800 million. That’s an unfathomable number of cinema tickets (even at £15 a pop - thanks London). Add to that the recent Spider-Man: Homecoming sales of $200 million and you’re up to a whopping one billion dollars. Not too shabby Marvel, not too shabby.


Paul Mellia is the only artist licensed to reproduce images of Marvel characters.

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of Star Wars on film. Episode IV - A New Hope hit screens on 7 July 1977 and there’s been no looking back. The franchise’s chronology can be something of a mental hurdle though. Cue heavy sighs and rolling eyes from die-hard Star Wars devotees. They have the system sussed. To the average person though, starting with Episodes 4,5 & 6 and continuing on to 1,2 & 3, only to be followed by VII, VIII & IX, is somewhat baffling. Forgive us, we’re only simple, linear-minded people.

T'ain't Easy Being Green by Lisa Cirenza


Chronological difficulties aside, nobody can deny the awesomeness that is Star Wars. For one thing, consider all the great lines we’ve inherited from Mr Lucas. 'May the Force be with you' is thrown around like some kind of religious incantation. And nobody can say 'I am your father' with any measure of seriousness. Even if it’s true. Then there’s 'the dark side' and its various iterations (which usually involve cookies).


(We couldn't resist showing some love for DC Comics too.)

The Gibbon Who Wanted to be Batman by Carl Moore (left)

Alfred's Day Off by Samsofy Samlal (right)


Marvel is not the only Force shaping the comic universe. Japanese manga is a multi-billion dollar industry. Manga - meaning ‘whimsical pictures’ - emerged in the post-war period and became increasingly popular with Japanese youths in the ‘50s and ‘60s. The manga market in Japan is now worth over $6 billion. That’s a hell of a lot of zeros.


Takashi Murakami (left) and Chiho Aoshima's (right) works are inspired by manga aesthetics.


Whether you're a Marvel fanatic or a manga maniac, you'll find artwork at Rise Art that suits your tastes. And if you're new to the realm of comics, fear not. You don't have to be a seasoned comic con-goer to appreciate the groovy, pop art-style look that these graphics have to offer. 



Liz Lidgett's Guide to Adoring Your Walls

Posted in Guest Curators by Rise Art on 10th July 2017

Meet Liz Lidgett: the maverick on a mission to get people adoring their walls. Anyone who shares the view that a room without artwork is simply unfinished is our kind of person. We interviewed Liz to find out what drives her to spend her days as a crusader against bland, blank walls everywhere, and why she believes art and interior design are a match made in heaven. Gape at her growing art collection (we'll admit we were more than a tad jealous) and be inspired by her unyielding passion for all things art and design.


Photography by Rick Lozier


Tell us about you & what you do

My name is Liz Lidgett and I am an art advisor and CEO of Adore Your Walls. We help our clients find the perfect piece of art for their style, space and budget.


What inspires you in your work and life?

I have been an art lover for as long as I can remember. The fact that I get to wake up each morning and head to a job that I love, helping clients who I adore, is a dream come true. I stay inspired because I have serious passion, but I love to travel and see new homes, cities, etc. to bring back amazing ideas for my clients. I am always so energized when I get back from a trip.


Photography by Austin Day


Is art & design important to you and why?

Absolutely. Great art can take you places, and great design can improve your life. I am so passionate about what I do because I know we can improve clients’ lives by helping them fill up those blank walls and live with art. Our motto is #nomoreblankwalls.


What inspired you to start Adore Your Walls?

My art advisory company had been running for a few years before I started Adore Your Walls. I saw that there was a real need for art advisory work that dealt with affordable art. We create content for major brands, like and about decorating with artwork. Our ethos is all about bringing great art to everyone.


Play & Disversity 1, £540

Lucie Jirku


How integral do you think art is to interior design?

Simply put, I think a room is unfinished if it doesn’t feature artwork.


What are your top tips for a new buyer looking for the perfect piece for their home?

Spend some time on research. Head to your local museum and look at as much artwork as possible. It helps to know what you like and do not like. Make it meaningful. Get to know the artist you are buying from, or purchase artwork while you are on a wonderful trip. You’ll love the piece forever if it truly means something to you.


Photography by Austin Day


Do you collect art or anything else? If so what do you collect, and when and how did you start?

Yes! I have an ever-growing art collection. I also collect magnets from each museum my husband and I visit. We have quite the refrigerator full of magnets representing some of our favorite museums and favorite pieces of artwork. It started when we were right out of college and had no money for big souvenirs but could always buy a $5 magnet. It’s continued to this day and we love still picking one out together.


Where's your favourite place to travel to?

I love travelling somewhere new with my husband. Europe, of course, is always incredible. We’re currently trying to visit every single state and it’s been such an amazing project to see how staggeringly wonderful and vast this country is. I’ve taken back so much inspiration from our travels that has fed into my work.


Photography by Liz Lidgett


What do you surround yourself with at work or at home?

Postive, happy, hard-working people. My friends and family are all this way and it helps that they understand the drive and passion I have for my business. We support each other in so many ways.


Do you have a favourite artist, museum or gallery?

Pretty much anything Cecily Brown touches, I love.


How do you work art / creativity into your daily life? What do you do to stay creative?

Traveling, going to museums, meeting new people, reading… I try to work art and creativity in many varying ways. It’s one of the most important elements of my life and I feel like new experiences are what keep me on my toes and working at my best level.


Photography by Rick Lozier


Tell us your favourite motto or mantra

You have the same amount of hours in day as Beyonce.


Do you Instagram or Pinterest? Who do you follow?

I absolutely love Instagram and Pinterest. I love following other great designers, and artists. @JealousCurator is one of my favourite follows, she has a great eye. LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) has the best snapchat channel hands down.


Check out our interview with The Jealous Curator.


Liz Lidgett’s Top 5 Rise Art Picks

And Then x6 Yellow Universe, Takashi Murakami

Years ago I went to a Murakami exhibit at the MOCA-LA when I lived in Los Angeles. I was completely taken by his work and imagination. This takes me right back there.


About the Dead, Either Well or Nothing, Magnus Gjoen

I am often attracted to high contrasts. This painting for example straddles the line of soft and dark.


Wait and See, Niki Hare

The colours, the energy: it’s got a vibe that makes me want to stick around with it and pick out words and meaning.


Chicas Technicolor, Sergio Artola

I have a soft spot for clever collage work and this is a really fun piece.


5 For JP Sartre 2009, Glenn Brown

Just like the Murakami, I love this piece because it takes me back to a favorite exhibit. Recently my hometown museum, The Des Moines Art Center, had a spectacular exhibit by Glenn Brown. I went back over and over just to spend time with those paintings.


Adore Your Walls | Guest Curator Edit

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