Interview with an artist - Lance Fennell

Lance Fennell is an artist whose work explores the landscape around him and more recently has a focus on his growing concerns with the way the world is going with regards to technology.


Lance has a studio here at Westbury and runs regular oil painting workshops. I caught up with Lance to chat about his work, his journey into art as well as his inspirations.




TELL ME ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC BACKGROUND AND HOW YOU BECAME AN ARTIST?

Like most people it started at school. In my earlier years I hadn't really shown much of an interest in art, it was only at the age of 13 or 14 when my art teacher pointed out that I was producing work that other people weren't doing. That comment really made me sit up and listen, it was at this point that my interest in art was really fired up!


I went on to do an art foundation followed by a degree at Bath Academy. My studio was situated in the gatehouses of, a big stately home, Corsham Court, because the lord of the manor a few generations before had been really into his art and he had offered parts of his home for use by the academy, he was very supportive of artists.


"It was the most extraordinary place, I'd literally walk out of my door of the studio and there would be a Peacock meandering across the pathway"


I remember my first day, I was shown my studio space and left to it. It was the first time that I had not been told what to do, I didn't quite know what to do at the time! I found it both liberating and daunting. No real direction was given, you would work on a piece of art and the tutors would come round, take a look and chat to you about what you were doing. Over time I got used to this way of working. During this period I really enjoyed landscapes, most mornings I would venture out with my box of paints and easel and set up in a field. I had this system where I would pick up a stick, throw it in the air and paint whatever scene it pointed to! I found this to be more of a challenge than choosing a scene myself.


I feel that I have been amazingly lucky with the art tutors that I've had over the years. During my latter years of studying I remember having my eyes opened to the different types of art that was being produced at that time. It wasn't just about trying to be the next Rembrandt, I was introduced to new contemporary artists and the different ways in which art could be made.


DO YOU THINK THAT IT WAS THAT PERIOD IN YOUR LIFE THAT YOU STARTED TO DEVELOP YOUR ARTISTIC STYLE?


Yes perhaps, I don’t really think of myself as having a style. In fact one of the criticisms I had at art college was that I was all over the place with the work that I was producing. I had to really discipline myself to start producing work with some sort of cohesive connection rather than work which didn't have any connection at all.