Spotlight Interview with Martin Rolt speaking to us about his abstract work, working with texture and different mediums and his love for landscapes and seascapes …
1. Thank you for speaking to us about your art journey. Where did it all begin for you?
In the beginning, my early years, I drew, I sketched, I copied – cartoons mainly. My younger cousins would always request a drawing or 2 when they visited. Art was where I felt most comfortable and safest in my school years. I did OK – O-level and A-Level they were called back then. Then I drifted, artistically, for many years, taking a different direction. Picking it up again here and there – sketching, portraits mainly, copying what I found attractive. Then I moved to Brighton in 2000. Soon after I celebrated my 40th. Someone inspired me, inadvertently, to pick up my creative spirit. It was going to be a joint effort but that didn’t transpire. So, it’s now or never I thought, I best go it alone, which normally works out best for me. That was almost 20 years ago. And now, after much trial, error and experimentation, rushing up blind alleys and back down again, here I am. Creating now, what I believe, I had always hoped to.
2. From who or from where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I have always been drawn to the beach, the horizon, sunrise, sunsets and clouds. Moving to Brighton in 2000 and living but a stone’s throw from the beach, ignited something in me and inspired me to get creative. Combined with the creative spirit that exists in that city it nudged me along in the creative direction. Nature is a great inspiration for me. From what I see and observe around me in the natural world. Things you see every day and take for granted. The sun rising on a beautiful spring morning, the skies and colours above, the formation of the clouds, to the setting of the sun where the sky meets the sea. All these things create wonderful shapes and colours quite by chance, and if you’re lucky enough you may find the time to stop and wonder at them. These are all inspirational to me, just take the time to observe and enjoy what is there, because within a whisper it will be gone.
3. Do you like to experiment with what you use to create art and how would you describe your artistic style?
Sometimes it feels as though every new artwork is in itself experimental. When I first set out on my artistic journey it was all about what I could do with the paint and mediums. My early work was very much abstract and non-representational. I was using flow techniques almost 20 years ago and often set against a geometric backdrop, probably as a result of my engineering background and my need for things to be neat and tidy and in there place. I am always on the lookout for new materials that I could use in my artwork. I spend hours wondering and devising ways that I could use them. My great passion is to create my land and seascape paintings where I can utilise some of these materials in interesting ways. I love textures and my paintings are heavily loaded with them. Textured and very tactile, they are paintings that you want to touch.
4. Why are your designs so different to other artists within the industry?
I create land and seascapes – heavily textured. I think that they are quite unique and they regularly draw attention wherever and whenever I exhibit them. It isn’t a conscious thing, it’s just the way they turn out. People do seem to be quite drawn to them, and these same people can often be seen looking over their shoulder, hoping not to be noticed, if they want to have a ‘crafty feel’ of the textures. My work tends to be quite calming and atmospheric, particularly the more monochrome works. I also enjoy painting with stronger colours that bring joy to myself and hopefully to others too. I like to find and use different mediums in my work that produce some unique and interesting effects.
5. How do you stay relevant and current in a world full of creatives?
I keep on doing what I do, what I enjoy, improve along the way. Initially I’m doing it for me, and if I can bring some beauty, calm and joy to others along the way then even better. I’m not trying to be a particular ‘something’ in the artworld, or to create just to be topical or following the trend. I can only hope that my work will stand the test of time and still be relevant and unique in years to come. Timeless.
6. How has social media impacted on you as judging by your online presence you seem to embrace this?
Social Media has clearly opened up many avenues for many artists in their particular fields. We can display our work 24/7 to the entire on-line world. Just need to find out what works best for you and how to do it better. There are almost too many avenues to follow. I think it is about focusing on one or two platforms and try to do those well and to the best of your ability. It is all about spending time to understand how it all works and investing that time wisely, and being persistent. I’m still learning and have a long way to go.
7. How has your brand grown to where it is now? What has contributed to your success?
My work is recognised, I believe, for its uniqueness. However, success can be measured in many ways. For me, success can be creating a finished piece that I am 100% happy with. Success can be being accepted to take part in an art fair, gallery representation, or selling a piece privately. Success can be someone passing by, falling in love with your work and just telling you so. That can be enough. I would say I have been guilty in the past of holding back and not presenting or showing my work to the public often enough. In the last few years I have pushed myself more and I believe that the greatest successes are yet to come.
8. Have you worked with any galleries or brands or completed any important commissions you can share with us?
When I first started out painting with serious intent I had my work represented by some galleries in and around Brighton. In 2017 I had a solo exhibition with LumiArts Gallery in Pimlico. In 2020 I had some work shown in Tatler and World of Interiors publications.
9. Which projects are you really excited about for 2021 and are there any future plans you can share with us?
Right now I am having a brand new website built for me by ‘the professionals’. My current personal website is something that I created myself, and while I am quite proud of my creation it is an extremely time consuming activity – and one that I have a small knowledge of and it could, I am certain, be so much better. I hope to have the new site up and running by the end of the year, December 2021. This in itself has been a time consuming affair. Armed with new camera, tripod and lighting, I have been busy re-photographing all of my work, uploading it, tweaking it. It will be worth it. Once the new site is ‘live’ I hope it will bring about a stronger on-line presence and all that might come with it. Having been turned down in the past based on poor images alone, I see the importance for presenting your work in the best possible light. Hoping this will open many more doors for my work. For 2022 I have 3 Art Fairs, so far, in the pipeline. Namely Sussex Art Fair at Goodwood in May, Talented Art Fair at Brighton Racecourse in July and Chester Arts Fair in November. I have a lot of new work, completed recently, and I have a number as work-in-progress, including some new ‘natural world’ inspired works (lots of new ideas in my head). These will be complete and ready for the 2022 Art Fairs. That’s the plan. During the recent ‘lockdowns’ during 2020 and 2021 I took an interest in ‘stipple’ drawing or pointilisim as it can also be known. Essentially these are pen and ink drawings but using only ink dots, 100% ink dots. As you can imagine, this is an extremely slow process, but one that allows for extreme detail. The finished works have an almost 3D-like quality. The current one I am working on, Prometheus, has so far taken approximately 230 hours with another 40 or so hours still to go. Again, I hope to be able to show some of these pen and ink drawings at the 2022 Art Fairs. These are also available as limited edition fine art prints. Also, new for the end of 2021, 2022 and beyond, are limited edition fine art prints of my land and seascape paintings. Due to the heavy textures employed on the paintings I always felt that they would not lend themselves well to prints. However, with new higher quality images and the first batch of prints complete, I can happily say that I am very impressed with them. Looking good.
See a selection of work from Martin Rolt, click HERE