In this week’s interview, we’re talking pop-art with a successful artist specialising in this unique genre. Hans has experienced great success with his work and with love of all-things-retro very much ‘in the now’, his art is encompassing a wider audience than ever before. It’s not just for comic books!
As a self-taught artist, when did you decide you wanted to create art for a living?
Ever since I could remember I’ve always been creating in one form or another, from Etch-A-Sketch to painting on cereal boxes. I’ve always known that I wanted to try and paint for a living.
What is it that you so love about the 1950’s-style art and have you always specialised in this?
I started out painting with different styles; abstract, surrealism and graffiti and then got pulled towards my love of pop art . My goal now is to try and bridge pop art with a urban art vibe. I love the 1950`s for its style, elegance and glamour, as well as the birth of modern living and pop thinking.
Where do you find inspiration for your art and how difficult is it to translate modern-day inspirations into a 1950’s theme?
An idea can pop into my head while indulging in my love of pulp fiction, strange unusual comics, watching old films or going to galleries. What inspires me the most is seeing other artists’ work; inspiration is something I never have a problem with. I try to capture the brutal coldness of fast modern day living and soften it with a 50`s theme.
What about your audience? Are they of a certain age and how do they respond to your work?
My audience is very mixed now! Bringing in the urban arts element to my work opens my portfolio of paintings to a younger market. In general I’ve found that pop art appeals to the young and old and people from different social backgrounds. People are surprised how good my paintings are in the flesh – I love receiving emails telling me this!
Tell us about any illustrations you’ve done; do you prefer working to the deadlines of somebody else or to your own? Is it one or two images that you have to create, or lots?
My illustrations are taking a back burner now; I used to work to tight deadlines working with numerous multi-layer imagery at once resulting in single creations. I do work better with a little bit of pressure.
How easy have you found it to publicise your work? Any methods that have worked particularly well for you?
That’s the biggest obstacle for me – trying to bring attention to my work! Exhibiting work is probably the best and most instant way to bring attention to anyone’s work. Going to a gallery and having a chat with the owner really helps to spread the word and start letting people know you’re out there.
The black and white images are very striking against the primary colours paintings in your gallery. How long do your paintings take to finish?
Black and white neutralizes then softens the painting which brings a whole new aura to the finished piece. One of my paintings can take anywhere from 7 hours to 3 days to create, depending on the scale and complex nature of the painting. When Ive been experimenting I’ve had paintings take up to 2 months to complete.
How are you finding working as an artist in the current financial climate? Has your work been affected?
I don’t think anyone has escaped the current financial situation. I had to adjust my prices with the economic downturn. Pricing is something you have to get right but on the whole I’ve not seen too much of a change in my sales.
What advice could you give to an artist specialising in a very specific style of art with regards to getting themselves noticed?
Try to be original and different from the rest; it will in time get you noticed. All genres of art are competitive but with belief and hard work you`ll get there. Stay positive!
What’s your favourite aspect of your job?
Standing in front of a blank canvas and creating something from my own hands; there’s great satisfaction in seeing something you’ve painted come to life Also, seeing someones reaction to a painting is a big joy for me.
What’s next in the pipeline for you? Any new projects or plans on the horizon?
I have an Anglo-French partnership in place which is going to allow me to exhibit in Sao Paulo, Brazil and also an invitation to work with an award-winning art collective in Merseyside. Then within the next coming months I am back exhibiting in Belgium.
We would like to thank Hans for his time and his pictures! To further explore his unique and often thought-provoking work, take a look at his website;