WHAT DOES YOUR SCREEN SMELL LIKE?
INTERVIEW WITH ARTIST RALPH ANDERSON
We spoke to Ralph Anderson at his studio in Wimbledon. He was standing on a chair, attending to the top of a large painting while we spoke to him.
Can you describe your practice in a few words please.
Painting. Kind of abstract realism.
Have you shown your work in a space like this before? What other unconventional spaces have you shown work in before?
A bit like this, yeah, I’ve shown my work in lots of rough and ready spaces. The most unconventional space was probably an old cricket-training-run-shed on top of a school, that was quite odd.
Wow, did your work relate to cricket in any way at the time?
How do you think your work fits into the wider cultural scene of today, the 21st century, 2012?
There’s a lot in my work about painting that’s been and gone and painting that’s around now.
What about the wider sort of cultural thing that involves everything from X Factor to Youtube…?
In a wider sense, there’s a lot of science that influences my work, and the advancement of knowledge. Like the discovery of outer space, the Hubble telescope… I think that’s where my work fits into the wider contemporary culture. That’s kind of an inspiration for my work.
Are you talking about those sort of ‘popular science’ books, you know, the sort of novel-size paperback, and TV programmes with that bloke out of that band?
Yeah him. And I notice you were reading Dawkins…
Yeah, a bit of Richard Dawkins, magazines, current affairs. Not really any in depth journals… I don’t have time for that.
Do you think your work looks better in photographs or real life?
Half and half, that’s what interests me about the show’s title. For example this painting here (he points at Future Space Plains, 2012) comes across better online I think. There’s no reason for me to make this painting that way, specifically for online viewing, but your attention span online is very short, so getting something very bold and snappy is quite important. But that wasn’t really my reasoning. Black and white seems to come across a lot better than my coloured work online, I don’t know why. But I’m quite happy with that.
Staying on the internet for the next question: how much of your time is taken up by checking emails, Facebook, Twitter etc. compared to actually making work?
Not much compared to making work. If I’m in the studio I do at least 8 or 9 hours painting in a day, while I’ll only go online for about an hour, tops.
You’re not on Facebook are you?
Do you even have a computer?
I have got a computer. Which I do writing on, and emails, but that’s about it. I’m not an online socialite.
What’s the future for art?
You want me to predict the future?
Well why not, predict the future for us. Go on, have a go.
Well England are going to lose tonight. [It was England vs. Ukraine, and actually England won 1-0.] And what’s the future for art? Don’t know. Same as. More painting, more sculpture, more of the same. (Chuckles.)
And finally, what does your screen smell like?