Chris Vine attended college as a guest speaker last month, and is an artist who I am fairly new to; he studied at Bradford Regional College of Art and became a freelance artist/ illustrator in 1983 after lecturing in Art in Cumbria and London. I first came across the work of Chris Vine at Dean Clough Galleries, Halifax, on a visit in December. What initially struck me about his work was the very small scale of his paintings, many of which are only a few inches square. With small scale being such an integral part of my practice so far, I really admired Chris Vine’s small, detailed paintings and found myself spending a long time absorbed in the immense intricacy of their content.
After completing a drawing project in which I used gouache paints for the first time, I have a new found appreciation for his work as I can now understand the technical skill, not to mention the patience, required to mix gouache paint to the right consistency and colour, although Chris stated in his talk that he now uses acrylic paints in place of gouache. It was really inspiring to listen to someone talk about something they were truly passionate about and to hear about the huge commitment required to turn this passion into a job; he spoke about being given only a few hours to complete a piece of work and to digitally send it off but being so driven to fulfil his deadline.
Another aspect of Chris Vine’s work that I’m really intrigued by, is his use of using found text and phrases to generate ideas for his art work as I have just begun exploring this myself with found text and quotes; he states, ‘Much of my work revolves around humour and visual language. I use visual figures-of-speech; mixed metaphors, contradictions, palindromes, paradoxes and clashing cliches, to describe the real and imagined’(www.chrisvine.org, 16th March 2010). This is reflected in his subtle humour and clever wit, which are obvious in many of his works. Listening to Chris Vine discuss how important language and ‘sayings’ are to the process of generating ideas for his work has influenced me to collate a file of found text and quotes to help inform my work.
Image: ‘Pond Life’, 120cm x150 cm. http://www.chrisvine.org/pond-life.html