“I’m just a much happier person if I’m producing something!”
Digital artist Roz Hall has had his work shown all over the world in Apple stores and exhibitions. But, amazingly, art isn’t his full-time gig. He doesn’t have a studio, he doesn’t use expensive equipment, and he doesn’t even spend huge amounts of time painting.
For him, the tools of his trade have to be portable and affordable. And, most importantly, they need to be something he can use to be creative whenever he gets the chance.
He says: “Previously, you might have looked at a traditional artist and thought ‘There’s no way I can afford those special canvases or all those paints.’ Now, if all you need to make art is an iPad and an app you can download for three quid, that’s when you think ‘If other artists are doing it, then I can do it too. All I need to do is practice!”
His refreshing approach has struck a chord with artists all over the world, and technology giants such as Apple and Microsoft have regularly approached Roz to work with him.
But, for this learning technologist at the University of Chichester, UK, there’s no great secret to his success. He says: “I’ve shown that making art is accessible to anybody thanks to inexpensive consumer devices, and I think people can really relate to that.”
A detail from Freckles – a digital painting by Roz Hall
So which devices does Roz use to create his portraits? He says: “I started off with an iPhone 3G, then bought an iPad. Currently, I like to use the iPad Air 2 and a Surface Pro 2. With regards to apps, I use Procreate for iPad, and Sketchbook Pro or sometimes Photoshop on my Surface. I’m just trying out a free trial of some new software called Mischief that looks really interesting!”
He’s currently trying out the popular Maglus stylus, but says he loves painting with his fingers (“It feels strangely natural!”) and is a big fan of Sensu artist brushes. Roz says he doesn’t have one particular style of painting, and prefers to experiment and change styles regularly.
A detail from Redbeard – a digital finger painting in Procreate by Roz Hall
Although he studied art at university, Roz doesn’t consider himself to be a classically-trained painter. In fact, he’d given up painting altogether until reading an article in 2010 which sparked his love of art again.
He explains: “I was reading about these artists using iPads to make art and I knew I just had to do that!”
Roz started making digital paintings, and set up a Flickr profile to showcase his work. Almost instantly, he felt inspired by the online art community and just how supportive this can be.
He says: “The online community builds creativity – it forces you to continually improve!”
Since then, he’s exhibited in many shows, including the Lehman Prize. So what does the future hold for Roz Hall and how does he manage to make time for his art?
“There’s no big game plan,” he explains. “I just plan to keep on painting and enjoying making art. I actually feel as if I need to do it – otherwise, my wife says I get cranky and grumpy! Even if I only get to work on a painting for 30 minutes, that’s 30 minutes focussed you time. Basically, I’m just a happier person if I’m producing something!”
Listen to this week’s show and learn:
- Why you don’t need expensive equipment or bags of time to make art
- How the online community has made it much easier for artists to get exposure
- Why social media can be one of your best marketing tools as an artist
- How anyone can make great art with practice
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