We Interview Artist Andrew Kinsman, Ahead Of His Exhibition At ICC Birmingham

We Chat To Artist Andrew Kinsman, Ahead Of His Exhibition At ICC Birmingham

Local fine art collectors and enthusiasts will have the opportunity to meet an award-winning contemporary artist next month, when self-taught painter, Andrew Kinsman, will be making a special appearance in Birmingham.

The coveted artist will be unveiling his new collection, Café Society, at the Castle Fine Art gallery in the International Convention Centre (ICC) on Saturday 3rd June, between 1pm and 4pm.The collection will then be on display for a further week.

Andrew Kinsman, one of Castle Fine Art’s most popular artists, said: “The Café Society collection has been a long time in the making, so I’m very much looking forward to finally launching it at the ICC gallery. We caught up with him ahead of his exhibition to find what we can expect from his new collection.

You’re unveiling your new collection Café Society at Castle Fine Art in Birmingham’s ICC. What can people expect from the collection?

The upcoming show is my second solo exhibition at the ICC gallery and is a continuation of sorts from the last one. A few pieces originate from my three month stay in Paris in 2013. One was titled Café Society and became the catalyst for this current collection. I went back to Paris last summer to gather more reference surrounding the rich culture of the café, restaurant and bar scene of the incredible city, as so many other artists have done for hundreds of years. Hopefully this body of work will give a more intimate portrayal of the people and lifestyle.

Do you have any connections here in the Midlands or have you visited the Midlands before? Do you have any recommendations or favourite places?

I often visit Birmingham to meet with my publisher, Washington Green, and I always enjoy visiting. I rarely miss an opportunity to head straight to the famous Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery to view the expansive collection of Pre-Raphaelite paintings amongst other great Victorian figurative art.

Your paintings are very realistic and you pay strong attention to detail, what is your artistic process?

Even though my paintings look quite labour intensive, in style my approach is much less regimented than it used to be. In the past I drew out every detail before transposing it onto the canvas or board, but now I simply paint in a series of rough guide lines outlining the figures. I then proceed with a quick rough first glaze of colour, followed by the final glaze adding more depth and detail to the work. I work on several canvases at once so that when I’m exhausted on one work, I can move onto another painting instead of downing tools for the day.

How would you describe your style?

I would call myself a realist painter, not a photorealist. I like to show that my works are paintings with brush strokes and texture.

Have you inherited this creativity from anyone in your family?

All my family are artistic and musical but I’m the only one who has taken it further. My older brother was a great painter but he was very lazy and, when he did his A-Level art, he paid me to do his coursework for him. It’s funny looking back – I guess you could say I’ve passed my A Level art twice.

What advice would you give to your younger self?  What has experience taught you?

This question is difficult to answer because I’m still learning all the time. Advice I still live by today is not to take life so seriously and to learn to really enjoy what I am doing in the moment. For my younger self? Don’t use so much acne cream – it’s not helping!

Showcasing your work to a variety of clients invites their feedback and criticism. What has been the most memorable piece of feedback you’ve had?

When I was shortlisted for a Channel 5 art programme in 2005 I was interviewed by the late great Brian Sewell who I’m a huge fan of. He actually slated my work which I’d created 10 years previously, calling it an ‘antique’ and ‘utterly soulless’. He was right.

You’ve been lucky enough to receive commissions from royalty and celebrities. How does it feel when you get those commissions?

By the time I’m near completion with any portrait commission I’m normally tearing my hair out and vow each one will be my last, until the next one at least. I have a love hate relationship with painting portraits for clients as they’re so personal to them. I dare say I’ll paint many more in the future – I secretly love the challenge.

You are also a musician alongside being an artist. Tell us a little bit about that.

My main instrument is the saxophone. I actually gave up painting for five years to concentrate solely on music. I’ve had some fantastic experiences touring and recording with some of the greatest musicians and songwriters in the UK. I’ve just finished recording on the new Kasabian album For Crying Out Loud. That was great fun.

How do you manage to keep the balance between the two?

Before I became a published artist I was able to juggle both art and music 50/50 but now, apart from the odd recording session and more local gigs, it’s all about painting. I could never give up playing the sax, though. It allows me to be creative in a completely different way to painting.

You’ve played some great venues and gigs as a musician. Do you have a favourite?

I think my favourite tour was with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds when we played at some incredible venues all over the UK, including the Royal Albert hall and the O2 Academy. My favourite venue is the O2 Academy in Brixton. I’ve played there with a number of bands over the years including Kasabian. It’s the perfect size and due its layout you really feel connected with the audience.

You’ve achieved great success and won many awards. What is the proudest moment of your career so far?

Being commissioned to paint the ‘Football Heroes’ stamp series was a great honour. It was a fantastic experience and opportunity to meet some of my childhood heroes.

(Andrew created the artwork for a set of ‘Football Heroes’ stamps for the Royal Mail to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the FA rules being established)

Did you ever imagine you could become an established artist?

I’ve always had, and still do have, the determination to find a way to do what I really want to do in life no matter what it takes, so I never doubted myself. However I still have so much to learn as an artist, so I’m not patting myself on the back just yet.

As a self-taught artist, do you have any advice for any aspiring artists?

Beware, it’s very addictive.

After the exhibition, what is next for you?

After the ICC exhibition I will be creating some nude paintings on large canvases for a group show in Mayfair in July, so I’ll be working every day to get those done, as well as more paintings for Washington Green and some portrait commissions. I never learn to take a break!

Andrew Kinsman will be unveiling ‘Café Society’ at Castle Fine Art in Birmingham’s ICC on Saturday 3rd June between 1pm and 4pm. Click here for more information.  

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