How do you become an artist and what inspires an artist?
Here is our first art studio interview with our creative director and artist Brian, where we try to give you an insight into the artist process and what makes us tick at Beach House Art. Brian also shares his 6 tips on how to become an artist.
Who are you?
I’m Brian, one of the founders of Beach House Art, creative director and an artist. I was born in Australia but call the United Kingdom home. I have lived here for over 20 years and live between Cornwall and Oxfordshire.
What do you do for Beach House Art?
I run the studio and also make a lot of art. As we are a small company, I’m also trying to learn SEO and photography and everything else in between!
How do you become an Artist?
This could be a really long answer, so maybe i will write a blog about how to become an artist over the next few weeks. But for now here are 6 of my best tips on becoming an artist.
Tips on becoming an artist
- Practice you art skills, learn how to do different styles of art and practice them. Also, allow yourself to just play with different materials and styles and see where it takes you.
- Make a schedule and try to stick to it, maybe an hour or two on certain days when you first start and then build up. Artists are creative but we also need a framework sometimes.
- Try and find an art community that is supportive and can help you network (I hate that word) but I found being surrounded by other artists helped inspire me, and also their advice was invaluable. I joined a local art group at first. Check out the artist community for something near you.
- One of the best things I ever did was go on a proper art course. It was a year long course at St Ives School of Painting, they have shorter ones too. It was perfect for me as I love painting and painting in Cornwall, and it put me in touch with a community down there. I was also surrounded by professional artists who elevated my artwork. I am still in touch with everyone from the course, including the teachers and students.
- Explore your style and do what you love. Don’t be put off by setbacks and critiques. Take advice and criticism in your stride but you will know what your vision is for your art and what you want to portray. Have faith in that.
- Create a portfolio and market yourself. This doesn’t come naturally to a lot of people but you need to put yourself out there. Create an instagram artist profile, a website and a good art portfolio and then try and get it in front of people.
What’s a day in the art studio like?
It's really varied, which I love. I try and plan what I hope to achieve for the week on a Monday, otherwise I end up with lots of half done art pieces - which sometimes happens (I call them work in progresses!) Once that’s planned, I start each day with a walk with Griff, our studio dog, a coffee and then start sketching or painting until lunch. We then chat about the progress of the various artworks after lunch in the studio and get feedback on how the artworks are going. If it’s a Friday we normally crack open a beer or try to head to the beach in the afternoon. I try to get a couple of pieces done a week but they take time and I don’t want to rush things. I’m a perfectionist, to the frustration of the others.
Where is your favourite British beach and which print reminds you of it?
That’s a tough question! I love Harlyn Bay in North Cornwall and Mother Ivy's bay next door. You can see the RNLI lifeboat launch every Wednesday down the ramp. It's also Griff’s favourite beach and there are often a few seals bobbing around happily. I also love Northumberland and the beaches there. Being from Australia, I love how different the beaches are here.
'Storm Set' was painted in Harlyn, during the winter. The waves rolling in through the winter are amazing, and the seals shelter at the end of the bay.
Where do artists paint in Cornwall then? Seeing as that seems to be a source of your inspiration.
Well, obviously St Ives is amazing because of the light, but there is also an amazing community of artists in Newlyn
But just get out there and go and sit on a beach, a cliff or a moor and paint, draw or sculpt.
- Rough Tor would be a great place to sculpt, they have inspiring rock formations at the top, which is on Bodmin moor.
- St Ives - paint on Porthmeor beach and get a crab sandwich.
- Polperro on the South Coast is also one of my favourite beaches.
What’s your favourite art piece from the Beach House Art collection?
All of them! Only joking. They’re all personal but I love the Knot Series of paintings. It's really therapeutic to paint them. First I have to research the knot and learn how to tie them and then work out how to paint them. They look simple but they have to look like they’re correctly tied knots with the right bits of rope going over or under the other parts. Sarah, our cofounder is an Transatlantic sailor and would kill me if I got them wrong. The colour is amazing, and as you can probably tell from our collection, I love blue wall art.
SPLASH! is a new collection released in July 2022
What are your tips for choosing art for a home and what’s your home interior like?
"What wall art should I get?" is such a personal question but I would say choose what you like and something that evokes a memory or a feeling. That’s why I love our book cover art and type and word art. If you combine these with other prints, it adds personality to your interior. My interior design is eclectic with a coastal and beach house vibe. My partner would say I need to stop buying things but making a space homely and interesting is really important to me and makes me feel relaxed when I’m at home. Here is my house!
What piece of art, that you have painted, are you most proud of in the collection?
I’m not just saying it because they’re being released today, but I love the Splash Collection. I felt like we needed a real 'summer holiday' collection of art for the website, and they’ve come out really well. The colours and subject look so good on the wall and the watery blue in the art is lovely.
Can you give us a sneak peak of any art you're working on in the art studio?
Sarah and I are working on a collection of Seaweed pressings at the moment. We have been going to the beach to find nice bits of seaweed and then experimenting pressing them. Top tip, the south coast around Bournemouth and the south of the Isle of Wight is better for seaweed than the north Devon or North Cornwall coast in our experience!
If you’re interested in pressing your own seaweed, check out the BBC wildlife blog on ‘How to press Seaweed’ which is really helpful and watch YouTube videos. It is so much fun.
The fiddly process of perfecting seaweed for pressing
Thank you Brian, and we look forward to your full blog on How to become an Artist.