Spotlight Interview with Adele Riley discussing how she became an artist through to selling her work on Artwork Portal

1. Thank you for speaking to us about your art journey. Where did it all begin for you?
Since childhood, I’ve always painted and sketched, struggling at school and with academia, art was something I excelled at, it became a place of solace and has remained so since. I started my art journey ‘officially’ studying fashion design and illustration at Epsom School of art in the 80s and working with numerous designers and design houses. I’ve had many interesting and totally off piste jobs, but I always return to painting. I picked up my brushes again, three years ago and decided to ‘go for it’ and became a full time artist just two years ago. I’ve not looked back!

2. From who or from where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I’m constantly drawing inspiration from landscapes, seascapes and the wonderful countryside I’m so fortunate to be surrounded by. I love to capture the narrative between the land and sky, being inspired by the ever changing weather, gives me lots material to work with, I’m constantly chasing light, atmosphere, and drama.

3. Do you like to experiment with what you use to create art and how would you describe your artistic style?
My artistic process is generally the same for every painting, to start I always work loosely with inks and water sprays and let the chaos this creates inform me of where this painting wants to go, I’ve learnt not to fight or try and control this part. I work with many layers of coloured inks, allowing the light in my work to gradually shine through. This early chaotic part of my process Is extremely important, it’s loose, fun and full of mistakes, this is where the magic lies! I then work into my paintings with mark making, scratching, thicker paints using palette knives and my fingers. I paint partly from sketches but mostly intuitively, recalling a sense of place, sound and feeling of the place I paint is vital, the connection to the viewer lies here. If I don’t feel the magic, the painting doesn’t leave my studio.

4. Why are your designs so different to other artists within the industry?
I honestly don’t think it’s about being ‘different’ from other artists or having a totally unique style, there will always some similarities between artists, we are, after all constantly influenced by our piers past and present. I believe it’s about a connection between the viewer and the artwork, the narrate that happens is something magical and can’t be pinned down to just having a particular design or theme. This connection is something i feel occurs with colour, and is something that I play around with and use within my works constantly. I would struggle to pigeonhole my style, I think, due to being self taught and always curious, this gifts me a freedom to try new media, tools and styles. I’m like a magpie and love to collect ideas and try them out, if they work I keep them! At a push I would describe myself as impressionistic colourist.

5. How do you stay relevant and current in a world full of creatives?
This is an interesting question, maybe it comes with age, maybe my design background has subconsciously left a scar, but it’s something I consciously avoid!
I don’t want to get side tracked by what other creatives are doing, time is valuable and there are so many talented artists and creatives out there, if you let yourself worry about what’s current and what others are doing, you’d go mad!
I just paint what excites me and I constantly strive to learn and push myself.

6. How has social media impacted on you as judging by your online presence you seem to embrace this?
Social media I feel is vital! Being an artist is a pretty solitary job. You can be a wonderfully prolific artist, but if no one knows you exist, ‘you’re singing in the dark’ so to speak. It’s a fabulous way of showcasing your work to people and galleries who would normally never get to see it, and to reach an Audi In countries that you’d not normally be able to reach. I’m lucky to have gallery representation and this has increased my social media impact considerably.

7. How has your brand grown to where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
As I’ve said, I’ve been doing this for just over two years now, and it’s been a been an incredibly exciting ride so far! From my first exhibition at Chapel Arts in Cheltenham, I’ve held solo shows, participated in art fairs, gained gallery representation and exhibited at Battersea’s Affordable Art Fair 2020 and 2021. Ive been in numerous art publications and I’ve sold to private collectors all over the world. I feel my success so far has been down to great gallery representation, working hard, knowing clearly what I want to achieve and where I want to get.

8. Have you worked with any galleries or brands or completed any important commissions you can share with us?
I have been represented by an excellent gallery in Oxfordshire for over a year now and this has proved a mutually beneficial experience. They have represented me at the AAF, and have sourced multiple private commissions. Recently one private collector who loaned 15 pieces of mine for his Summer collection has purchased most of them.

9. Which projects are you really excited about for 2021 and are there any future plans you can share with us?
2021 is a year filled with hope and new ventures for us all I I feel! This year sees lots of exciting projects. Firstly I am Artist in residence at The Cotswold Sculpture Park 10th-14th June. I’m also exhibiting at Sussex Art Fair 2nd-4th July and have a solo exhibition at The Gardens Gallery, Cheltenham in November
I am also delighted to be featured across six pages of the FLUX art magazine this month.
This year I will be looking for further, quality gallery representation in the South West of England.

See a selection of work from Adele Riley HERE

Tickets to Sussex Art Fairs, 2nd – 4th July are available HERE and also on EVENTBRITE

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