Blog: Artist Focus | Studio Interview with Gary Walton
The Whimsical Art of
Looking back to just over a year ago we became very excited when one of the fine art publishers we work with introduced us to Gary Walton's art. They felt that with our broad range of contemporary art styles at the gallery we would like to exhibit a collection of his work - we couldn't have agreed more! Gary depicts familiar scenes such as coastal villages but with a fantastical approach where he combines subtle, blended colour palettes with detailed areas of rich colour, quirky buildings and rugged harbourside textures.
This week we speak to the artist to find out more about what inspires these charming, whimsical paintings.
How did you come to be an artist?
I was first introduced to painting when I was about 8 or 9 years old. It was Christmas day and I had been given a painting by numbers art set as a present from my parents. I was thrilled to bits but didn’t exactly know how I would get enjoyment from this as I was expecting toys!
Looking at the box it seemed a little daunting looking and following the instructions and what was mapped out ready for painting.
However, once I started painting the numbered pictures it felt very exciting being creative and to see how something so nice could be produced from splashes of colour. I loved the experience at such a very young age - but all kids LOVE ART...don't they?
I finished the picture, once dry I felt I wanted to create something else with painting, it really gave me a buzz. I was in my element. My mum soon realised that there was something there, a little part of talent that needed nurturing so she bought me some more art materials not long after Christmas had finished.
It's really strange that something given as a gift at such an early age sparked a beautiful creation of talent. I became very passionate for painting and carried on throughout my school days spending what pocket money I received on paints. I'm so grateful that the Christmas present from so many years ago had given me the opportunity to produce what I've created today, to share my paintings and to put a smile on people's faces when they look at my work.
Describe your work in three words
My work has an element of fantasy, it is illustrative and whimsical.
What draws you to creating in your chosen medium?
My chosen medium today wasn't always the medium I've used. I was a watercolourist and to be fair this was the paint I was very happy using for my creations. It wasn't until about six years ago I was kindly asked to start producing my work in acrylics. I was horrified by the thought of this suggestion but it was something I had to try.
You can imagine that the first ones being created in this new medium were terrible and I began to doubt myself. I was determined to overcome this fear of using such a different medium and soon began to have a bit of fun with these amazing vibrant colours. So today is the result of what I've achieved with acrylics.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I feel very privileged that I have such a fertile imagination where I'm able to look or think of something and then put a 'Gary Walton embellished' appearance into my work.
My ideas and inspiration are embedded within me. To be honest I often wonder myself where these visions and inspiration comes from. Being happy inspires me, different music and sounds inspire me and most of all my lovely family inspire me.
You instantly know when something is right when you can feel and see happiness and joy in what you are creating. That's inspiration!
Do you listen to any favourite music, radio or podcasts while working in the studio?
I always listen to music whilst I'm painting, it can be very therapeutic or can stir a desire to dance depending on what I play. This can be very inspiring. I like a wide range of music eg, Coldplay, Enigma, London Grammar and sometimes a bit of everything else.
If you were a fly on the wall in my studio you'd probably roll on the floor with laughter with some of the moves I do. Now that's a thought. I make sure though there are no flies on the wall when I'm painting.
If you could invite three artists or art influencers (living or deceased) to dinner who would they be?
In my younger days at school I was first influenced with the artwork by Salvador Dali.
My art exam was based on a theme of 'Surrealism' and this helped me probably produce the most unusual picture the examiner had ever seen. So Dali would be the one I'd like to dine with and thank him for opening a door for me in to the art world.
The second artist I'd like to have to dinner along with Dali is my twin brother.
He too has this ability to paint but in a very different way and style. He has inspired me immensely, growing up together and having the same artistic talent, being able to share our skills and take them to another level. We had so much fun always painting together, to be there for each other and to have both been given a talent. We both feel very honoured.
We had very different career paths, I was given the opportunity to fulfill my dream of becoming a professional artist thanks to my wife.
The third people for dinner would be both my wife and daughter.
If it wasn't for them I probably wouldn't be where I am today, they've both been so supportive with love and fun. My painting days are a ray of sunshine when they're around.
They are truly amazing, have influenced me and fulfill my life.
What are you most excited about artistically in 2021?
I was very excited for all of 2020 as I love working with my fine art publisher. They have been tremendously inspiring giving me the opportunity to expand my work within their portfolio. I'm truly grateful for Giles and Tom who have been a massive support and now see them as my very close friends.
I'm also excited about some of the new ideas we have shared together which may materialise as original pieces of art or limited edition prints, either way the new work will be something to look out for in 2021. The staff at my publisher's are all very hard working and I'd like to thank them all for launching me as one of their artists.