John was the only artist of his generation to contribute to all three of the most influential underground publications of the 1960s – OZ Magazine, International Times and Gandalf’s Garden.
He is renowned for highly detailed observations from the natural world inspired by the Devon countryside. It is often coupled with finely drawn Tolkienesque fantasy landscapes, people and mythical beings.
His Artist as Muse show contains portraits of women artists – photographers, sculptors and ceramicists all working in the fine and applied arts, from students to internationally acclaimed artists – from the North Devon area.
We got in touch with John to find out more:
What inspired your latest show at White Moose, Artist as Muse?
The first portrait I painted of a woman artist was of Suzanne Hobbs, who had won the Broomhill prize for sculpture. I knew her as a local artist and as a local farmer, just a valley away from where I live in Chulmleigh. I painted her and was happy with the result but a couple of years went by before I could make time to work on this Artists as Muse project.
How did you decide who to include?
They were mostly artists I knew, a couple were from Chulmleigh. Eileen Dolling for one I have known for many years and is also the Chulmleigh town crier, others I met at North Devon Arts Meetings or at various art exhibition openings over the last few years. There were plenty more I wanted to do but the deadline to finish the portraits had arrived and the 26 seem to fit perfectly in the gallery
Has the experience inspired the other artists or promoted further collaboration/inspiration?
Not yet. It might be nice to put on an exhibition of the portraits with a sample of each artists work.
How does the portraiture of this exhibition compare to the psychedelic work you’re renown for? What are the similarities/differences?
Probably the intensity of my work has always been there from the ’60s. I think only one of these portraits could be described as psychedelic
Are there plans for this show to travel and what projects have you got in store for the future?
I don’t have plans to travel this exhibition at present. My latest project is a series of small very detailed paintings on linen which I would like to show in a group but seem to be selling as soon as each one is finished.
John Hurford, many thanks!
John Hurford’s Artist as Muse is at the White Moose gallery, Barnstaple, until March 27. There’s an artist’s talk on Wednesday, February 25, 2015. For times and directions, pop over to the White Moose site.
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