Thursday, August 19, 2010

An interview with Toni Robinson

Q – Could you introduce yourself briefly to the readers?

I am a visual artist driven by political and social ideas. I start with a concept, often precipitated by issues of social exclusion and prejudices and then explore suitable media with which to express this, to create awareness.

Q - How did you become interested in art?

I have always had a passion for the arts, earlier on in life as the viewer. Only later in life when I realised I can do and be anything I want to be did I return to university to study and have now been working full time as an artists for ten years now.

Q - What inspires you most as an artist?

My inspiration comes from a deep need to creative myself and from the numerous participants on projects I regularly delivered with people who do not believe they are creative.

Q - What is your favourite medium or media? Why?

I have two favourite mediums and love both.

Oil on canvass – painting alone in my studio where nothing else and no one else exists.

Installation art made in consultation with communities listening to other people’s views on life.

Q - Could you tell us some more about your work?

At this time I am painting portraits and love the intimacy of this.

I am also delivering 2 long term projects:

The Intergeneration Partnership Project with Swindon Borough Council- An arts and culture collaboration between children, young people and senior citizens in sheltered accommodation, aiming to foster a greater understanding between younger and older people to reduce the isolation of older people and engage the community.

A Heritage Lottery Partnerhsip project – to bring together young people from different comunities and cultures to explore diversity in order to gain a better understanding and respect of differt cultures.

Q - What are your influences; artists from the past or present who inspire you?

I love the freedom of the work of Louise Borgeois and Egon Schiele and so wish I could be as out there in my work. Also greatly admire the architect Frank Lloyd Right

Q – How do you choose the subjects of your works?

I collect people to paint by introducing myself to interesting people sometimes in the street and invite them to stay at my house while I paint and draw them, luckily my husband and children are very understanding and I have made some great friends this way. My installation work comes from conversations with people abut life.

Q- How do you prepare yourself for an exhibition or a show like the Open Studios?

Sadly I leave it to the last minute and then rush around preparing just like the rest of my busy life.

Q - Are there territories (media, subjects, etc.) you want to explore in the coming years?

I would love to have a mentor for my painting.

Q - As an artist, what would be your dream?

Six month of uninterrupted time in my studio

Q - Could you share one thing that you have learnt in your own art practice that would be useful to other artists?

Give yourself six months of uninterrupted time in your studio

For more information on Toni's work in the community, visit the website No Added Sugar.

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