Artist in Focus: Gary Hogben
Gary is a British artist whose new body of work is based on collage work with stamps and acrylics. He has shown his work all around UK. His intricate work brings with it literally a lot of history, all the stamps being hand cut and from the past century.
Why did you become an artist?
I’ve always liked art since I was young, the hobby has now turned into a living.
Do you have any work that you are particularly proud of?
A few pieces come to mind, a Union Jack, Jackson Pollock style which is hanging in the official residence of the British ambassador to Estonia, A portrait of Abraham Lincoln in acrylics and spray paint which is hanging in a judge’s chambers in Lincoln County, Arizona. And two large Motorbike related pieces of Steve McQueen and Rollie Free in acrylics which are hanging in a private motorbike museum in California.
What do you wish the general public was more aware of when it comes to contemporary art?
Apart from my paintings, just realising the amount of time that can go into creating a piece.
What question about your work do you get most often?
Are the stamps real? I did not realise that you cut them out, I thought you just painted over them,
What part of the working process do you enjoy most?
Looking at a piece and realising that it is finally finished.
Does it matter to you when your viewer read into your art things that you have not intended?
That is the usual realm of art critics, Most of my pieces do not have a meaning, if I like it I paint it.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Don’t go into print. I’ve worked in the print trade for 30 years and now find myself unemployed.
How did you start out in your career?
I did my first oil painting in 1986, a copy of a Salvador Dali, after that followed loads of impressionist work, copies of Renoirs, Cezanne, Degas etc. this all stopped in 1996, bringing up a family and working life left little time for a hobby. In 2007 I took my daughter along to a street art exhibition under Waterloo station to have a look at a few pieces by Banksy, I thought to myself how hard can that be, got home, cut a stencil and spray painted my first piece, since then I have progressed onto collage work, produced nearly 200 pieces, sold about half of them and now have 26 in North America.
Do you think it’s an artist’s job to break the rules?
I think it’s the artists right to ridicule, I see them as a visual equivalent to a stand-up comedian.
What do you want the viewer to experience?
When my collage pieces are being viewed I like to see there expression as they walk up to a piece and say ‘My god, it’s made of stamps’.
What’s the driving force behind your work?
Liking what I’m doing and trying to make a living.