Talented Artist Ian Butcher will be demonstrating how he assembles his collection of photographs to create his collage masterpieces at this year's New Artist Fair 'Summer Exhibition' 14-16 September 2018 at London's iconic Old Truman Brewery. Look out for his stunning work which is being displayed over a 4m exhibition wall in the front of the venue. [Entrance is on Dray Walk, opposite Ely's Yard and off Hanbury Street, London E1 6QR] The event is Free Entry on the Saturday and Sunday or the Private View tickets are available to purchase for the Friday evening by clicking here.
Lemon Art's Director Oliver Norris caught up with Ian recently to gain an insight on this incredible artist's history, inspiration and creation process.
1) When did you first start creating artwork, how did you start out?When I was about 9 years old I used to make up advertisements I always knew I wanted to be in design or advertising. I’ve always worked up ideas in my spare time. I hate the process of following through on concepts - it’s the front end which interests me. I have patented several things however and still have one which pays me royalties which these days pay my exhibitions expenses.
2) What was your first entry in London's art world and what did you gain from that experience?
Signing up with Rebecca Hossack - not a lot!! By her own admission she didn’t give me enough exposure. A long story so I won’t go into libelous country!!
3) Your artwork has changed over the years, who have you learned from and how have they helped you?
I deal in unique ideas - I learn from being observant. Everything inspires me. If you are inspired by certain people there’s always the chance your work will end up looking like theirs. My main influencers were the owners of the first place I worked Marcello Minale and Brian Tattersfield who taught me what an idea was!
I went to art school with the late Viv Stanshall (Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band lead singer) I arranged one time for him to show his illustration work to Brian Tattersfield who said “Well I can see Milton Glaser in there and Barry Zaid and this illustrator and that one but where’s Viv Stanshall?” You have to find yourself and then find something original to say!
4) What would your ultimate solo exhibition be and where?
MOMA - NY is a fabulous place and NYkers have great taste! Great opportunity to visit a city I love! Or Venice for the same reasons. Sadly I’m not that good!
5) You do much more than just take photographs and display them, tell us about your creation process and how you decide your subject matter?
I take flat images and turn them into 3 dimensional illusions - almost anything will convert but cityscapes more than most! Having spent my career in design I have the skill to wield a scalpel the rest is playing god with the perspective and the colours. I usually manipulate them in Photoshop to push them away from too much photo quality into something more textured and therefore more ‘art”.
Recently I have branched into my original creative approach with images like the Parakeet Tree where green birds become leaves. The background on these are of necessity simple - otherwise they would detract from the concept (idea). I am also interested in expressing movement via multiple images. This started years ago when I did a brochure for Granada Television where I wanted my pictures to move (sort of Muybridge style).
One of my big dilemmas - as an ex design consultant is whether to do pieces which will sell or to do what I want - which involves ending up with unwanted stuff! I have a whole body of work (which Rebecca Hossack was in love with) which has failed to sell so far. It revolves principally around Eastern religions.
6) You travel extensively, how do you choose your next destination and what trips are you currently planning?
My daughter lives in the far East so it’s a great excuse to combine seeing them and the grandkids then traveling on to other interesting countries. Going on holiday involves a camera and just looking at the 3D potential everywhere we go. My wife does the organising and this Spring’s (first) trip to Morocco was a great hugely pleasant surprise.
7) How do you find the time to create, promote your work, organize your events and plan your next art fair or exhibition, what is your usual weekly schedule?
Some people would describe me as ‘retired’ - I don’t have to sell to eat I do it because I love it and will continue till I stop breathing. I do submissions, I dabble badly in social media. I’ve been lucky recently with Eleni Duke she’s a gateway to the art-loving world. My work is difficult to show except for real which is why shows like New Artists are the best way to promote.
8) How has being signed by Curious Duke gallery helped your art career?
Eleni Likes what I do. She’s in touch with the art buying world. I haven’t been on her books long but she’s already proved more successful than anyone else. She takes a weight off my shoulders and I can get on with the bit I love most! I have my own little gallery at home and my only objective in selling is to provide me with fresh wall space.
9) What is next in line for you after the New Artist Fair in September?
I’m never sure because the submission system is so unpredictable. Maybe The Other Art Fair or Secret Art or any number of others. I have one piece going to Vienna in Sept. All I know is I’ll be printing out images and cutting them up!!
10) What advice would you give to artists starting out or trying to break through to the bigger stage?
Success (selling that is) is all about marketing whether you do it yourself or carefully select galleries or art shows which are good at it. Head towards those which fit with what you do ideologically and visually. The first thing I do when looking at galleries online is to check what artists they represent - see if I fit. There are two types of promotion - awareness - where you constantly let people know you exist then highly targeted approaches - example when I decided Curious Duke was my kind of gallery I found an image of the gallery - made a 3D version of it and presented it to them. It took about a year before they invited me for a chat but it worked! Oh! yes - patience!
Ian's work is available to buy online via the Curious Duke Gallery https://curiousdukegallery.com/artists/191-ian-butcher but you can also see his works next weekend at the New Artist Fair more information here!