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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
Marvel-ous Art | BROWSE THE COLLECTION
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.
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.
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 BHG.com and MarthaStewartLiving.com about decorating with artwork. Our ethos is all about bringing great art to everyone.
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.
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.
Liz Lidgett’s Top 5 Rise Art Picks
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.
I am often attracted to high contrasts. This painting for example straddles the line of soft and dark.
The colours, the energy: it’s got a vibe that makes me want to stick around with it and pick out words and meaning.
I have a soft spot for clever collage work and this is a really fun piece.
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
Take a tour of his studio, hear about his upcoming show alongside the Venice Biennale and find out exactly what pursuing creativity means to Nick Malone.
Stray away from the recognisability of realism and embrace your curiosity by inviting the mystery of an abstract piece into your home.
It's been a busy fortnight at Rise Art, both for the team and our artists. Here's an update on what we've been up to and what's cracking lacking in the art world.
When it comes to photography, Martin Stranka is a game changer. Hear his inspiring story and discover how he makes his works - there's a method to his magic.
Rise Art discusses art and life with Emily Murray of The Pink House, and she tells us more about her die-hard passion for pink.
Put on your dancing shoes and surrender to festival fever with our top 5 works to take you to the heart of the party.
Award winning blogger Jenny Kakoudakis speaks to us about colour, art, interior design and why green is the colour to covet this year.