When did you first become interested in art?
I was about three and saw my teenager neighbor practiced Chinese brush painting and it lighted my interest and I started to paint on my own
What style of art do you use most?
Realism and Abstract
Has your style changed from when you first began as an artist?
Oh, yes, I find my style is constantly changing.
What medium do you use?
I use mainly watercolor, acrylics and I also do paper sculpture and cut outs.
What made you choose that medium?
I like watercolor because I can paint anywhere with it and it is less messy without using any chemicals like oil. With color I can paint anywhere. Most of my acrylic paintings also have the watercolor feel to it.
Do your ideas come from life or imagination?
It depends on the works, my realism paintings are all base from life and the abstract paintings are base of feeling and colors.
How do you choose your images and colours?
I choose the images base on my connection with the subjects, either I find something inspiring, meaningful or there are stories behind them.
Do you work in a studio?
I do all my work in my studio; I have a large downtown studio for twenty years now. I am not unlike people have a 9 to 5 job. Every morning I will arrive just before 9am and I will leave around 5:30pm.
Who is your favourite artist?
I have many artists I admire but there are two had major influence on my work. The first one is Canadian wild life artist Fenwick Lansdowne http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fenwick_Lansdowne.
I read an article on him in Reader Digest when I was in my teen. He paint detail watercolor birds paintings and later I saw some of his books I was amazed with his detail and technique for the next ten years I almost only paint birds and I wanted be as good as him.
Another one is Degas; I love how he able to master so many different medium from print making, painting to sculpture.
What is your favourite piece of work by yourself?
One of my favorite paintings is this one, I called it “Autumn lake” because it was inspiring from my first trip to China and because of this trip made me started to look more into my own heritage and started to use them in my art. (the gallery represent me at that time was not too supportive of that direction because he think that was little demand for the Chinese images with his clients but I still went ahead and eventually, I did sold some of them on my own.)
How much time (on average) does it take to complete a work?
It all depends on the piece, some only took half a day and some would take months.
How well do you take criticism?
I think I take them very well, I am my toughest critic.
What do you do to overcome a ‘block’?
Luckily, it doesn’t happen to me that often, I usually have a few ideas on the go. Sometimes, if I get tried of painting I would make paper sculpture to amuse myself or go for a walk with my camera or visit galleries, museums.
How do you know something is ‘finished’? Is it easy to walk away?
Once I knew I have nothing else to add to piece I knew it is finished. I would put it away and not look at it for months. Later, I would look at it again; sometimes I might add more to it if I think it needed. Basically, I need to look at my works more abjectly with fresh eyes.
Have you had exhibits in galleries?
Yes, I had exhibited in many commercial galleries both in Canada and US. but the last years I had pull back from them because most of them are not selling that well due to the downturn of the financial world. I been showing on my own in art fairs and I don’t have to share my sale with the galleries anymore.
Have you any exhibits in galleries planned for the future?
I am in a large group show next week in Toronto.
What are you currently working on?
I currently work on some paintings base on my recent trip to China.
What are your plans for the future?
I never have much of a plan for the future but after my trip to China, I decided to relearn my Chinese and learn to speak Mandarin
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
When I was in my graduating year in Art College, one of my teachers told me not to look at other artists’ works. I think he meant was I was being influenced by too many artists and in order to develop my own style I should stop looking too much.
What advice would you give new artists?
Follow your passion and never give up.
Have you done any courses to help you?
When I first graduated from art school I used to take night courses in commercial art but I haven’t taken any since. However, I constantly learning on my own mainly from books.
What do you do to market your work?
Nothing, most of my marketing are from word of month, usually people seen my works from art shows or from people already own my works. They would tell their friends or so on. Even I have my own site I never sold any from the net.
Do you use social networking in your day to day life?
I used to do a blog but I am very lazy to keep it going. I am on flickr and I upload images there everyday. I have a large following there, they are people have the same interest as I do but I don’t use it to market my works just to share my paintings and photos. Here is the link, http://www.flickr.com/photos/alfredng/
Are you available for work (commissions)?
Yes but I find commission work is very hard to do and take me lot longer to produce because I have to guess what they want instead of what I want to paint. I find it is not as enjoyable as painting for me.
Have you got hobbies?
Yes, I like to travel, collect books, gardening, cooking I grow orchids in my studio. I like to made jams.
Where are you based?
I am based in Toronto.
© 2012 – 2013, Isabella Francesca Abigail Shores. All rights reserved.