Hello and welcome back to the blog! We are so happy to see that we have regular readers here and I sincerely hope that you are enjoying reading them as much as I am enjoying writing them. Please do feel free to send us any comments or feedback as I'd love to know your thoughts!
This week's feature is with the lovely Ro Croxford (Rogers) who is a member of the group 'Six in Conversation'. We currently have an exhibition of their work in the main Gallery at Queen Street and we feel so lucky to be displaying such a fabulous collection of work here. The exhibition ends on Saturday 26th September so be sure to come and see it before it finishes!
1. Could you tell us a bit about your work in the current exhibition at Queen Street?
Being new to the audience at Queen Street Gallery, I have put a variety of work into the current exhibition. Employing a wide range of mixed media, (acrylic, oil bars, watercolour, ink, spray paint, graphite, charcoal, plaster, marble dust, shellac, varnish, wax), my paintings emerge from an exploration into the physicality of materials, in a process of layering and re-working. I enjoy using materials that are not conventionally used together, reflecting the contrasts found in the natural world. Surface, line and texture are all important elements in my compositions, where the process of making directs the development of each piece.
2. From what / whom do you draw your artistic inspiration?
I have always lived on the western edge of Wales and for me, the coastline holds an irresistible pull. As a place where the land meets the sea, it is a threshold of transition, a boundary where transformation takes place. Observations within the coastal environment subconsciously find their way into my work – traces, imprints and marks on the land, discarded fragments left on the beach, the remnants of weathered surfaces, a tiny detail found amongst the pebbles on the shoreline, the shelter provided by the harbour wall and the historical narrative within. These encounters and experiences provide the dialogue for my paintings, revealing subtle connections and memories that are translated into work in the studio. My work provides an interface between the outer physical landscape and the inner mindscape - a visual language through which to derive meaning and understanding of ‘place’ and our connection with the natural world.
3. What motivates you to get up in the morning?
Apart from dragging my two teenage boys out of bed, I am lucky enough to have a view from my window which looks out over Fishguard Bay towards Dinas Head, in North Pembrokeshire. Here, my studio gives me space to make as much mess as I want !
4. How would you describe your artistic style in three words?
Intuitive, Layered, Process – based. (I know - that’s 4 words really!)
5. How have you been creatively passing time during the pandemic crisis?
Having been renovating my home from a derelict shell during the last 5 years, I turned my attention outdoors, to transform what was a large area of building rubble into a garden.
6. Did you always want to be an artist?
Being creative was probably always just under the surface as a youngster, but I was encouraged to take an academic route in my education. I initially pursued a career in aquatic and marine conservation after gaining a BSc in Geological Oceanography. After taking some part time courses in Printmaking at Pembrokeshire College and Aberystwyth University when my children were little, I went on to complete a BA in Design Studies / Fine Art Painting at West Wales School of the Arts in Carmarthen, graduating with first class honours in 2012. I’ve continued to paint since then, when I can, in between the inevitable needs of my ‘day job’ and looking after my family, but I hope to be able to work towards making art on a more full-time basis in the near future. Being part of ‘Six in Conversation (the group of fellow artists with whom I’m exhibiting here at Queen Street currently) has been a valuable support over recent years and enables us to discuss our ideas and the context of our art practice.
7. What is something that you enjoy getting up to in your spare time, outside of art?
The sea and the coast are a really important part of my life, so whenever I have time, I like to walk the coast path, swim in the sea, go beachcombing or get out in a boat.
8. What advice would you give to any aspiring artists out there reading this?
Take interest in the un-interesting.
Carry a notebook, because ideas will pop into your head at the most inconvenient moment.
Try to make something or draw every day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes – the more you do, the better you get.
Do what makes your heart sing – it will be reflected in your work.
Have a realistic expectation of how much effort it is to become a successful artist.
“Turn your back on looking and see – if you must look, stand on your head to do it” Terry Frost 1973.
9. Do you have a favourite artist/piece of art?
Cy Twombly, Antoni Tapies, Peter Lanyon, Rogers Cecil, Gwen John.
10. Do you have anything exciting in the works that you are enjoying / looking forward to sharing?
I hope my work draws the viewer in to look a little deeper. Each piece takes a long time to make through a process of layering, concealing, revealing and eroding, which mirrors the physical processes of the natural world. I work intuitively, responding to the alchemy of materials and I like to incorporate fragments of found ephemera or collage. Wax is a particularly favourite material, lending a transient quality to the surface. The more abstract work relies on the open-ended language of association, which the viewer is free to make their own connection with.
Thank you again for reading the blog. I hope you enjoyed reading and I'm sure that you will be as impressed with Ro's work along with the rest of the members of 'Six in Conversation' as we are!
As always, please keep an eye out for any updates on our social media pages as well as staying updated with our physical and virtual exhibitions which change every month here at Queen Street. We welcome any comments or queries, just pop us an email or give us a call. All contact info can be found at the bottom of the website.