Ian Saxby

what is your name?
Ian Saxby
how would you describe what you do?
I’m an Expressionist painter.
what are you currently working on?
Local landscapes. I moved to New Brunswick at the end of 2015, and I’m trying to produce a solid body of work that I can sell in the tourist market.
what has had the greatest influence on your work?
My strongest influences are Vincent van Gogh, Reg Mombassa, and Christopher Tolkien. I first taught myself to draw by copying Tolkien’s maps from the back of his father’s books; I loved the fact that it’s possible to create very complex images by repeating a few simple shapes, so long as you have the patience to draw the same tree hundreds of times. Reg Mombassa taught me that paintings can be humorous and cartooney and still have depth and complexity, and van Gogh taught me that there is beauty in the most mundane scenery, if you’re willing to work at finding it.
what is the greatest misconception about you or your work?
Non-artists seem to think that art is magic, but it’s not. Art is a learned skill, and it’ll come to you if you’re willing to put in enough practice.
what do you see as the main strengths and weaknesses of the medium you work in?
Greatest strength – once you’ve developed enough ability, you can make anything real. Greatest weakness – paint and canvas degrade with time, and your work will be dust.
how has technology impacted upon the work you do?
Digital painting tools gave me a space to practice and refine my craft without wasting paint and canvases.
what’s the greatest piece of advice you would like to pass on?
Never give up on the thing(s) that you love. It’s taken me 45 years of practice to produce art that satisfies me, and it might take you that long. It’s worth it, though.
where can we find you online?
what are you reading at the moment?
A Monk’s Confession.
what are you listening to at the moment?
El Dorado, by ELO.
anything else we should know?
Don’t try to make a living from your art. 99 times out of 100, you’ll starve.
any suggestions for who we should interview next?
Paul Sizer. Consummate professional with a fearsome talent.

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