Thursday, 19 April 2018

An interview with Vikki Yeates

Vikki Yeates' artwork first appeared in the original Dark Lane Magazine. Her work has since graced all six volumes of the Dark Lane Anthologies. You can find out more about her work on her website.

Q: What are your working methods? Do you sit down every day to work? Do you have a designated place to work?

A: I usually start work after I’ve walked the dogs and had a coffee, so usually at about 10am. I work at home, on my dining room table, which is a rough wood slab, covered in ink and paint splatters. This table has a personality of its own and is ingrained with character.

Q: Tell us about one of your favourite artworks and why you like it (not one of your own).

It’s difficult to bring it down to one piece, but I really like the woodcut of ‘Potsdamer Platz’ by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, 1914. The figures are so stylized, angular and dramatic; he invents his own proportions and doesn’t care if they look realistic – it’s the feelings underneath that are important. He also did a painting of this, that I like as well, but I love the direct effect of the black and white.

A: Tell us about one of your favourite artwork (done by you).

Q: One of my favourite pieces is ‘Hagbound’, which is in Dark Lane Anthology Vol 2. I loved creating the angular figure, twisting her body around to make her menacing even in her nakedness. I think it’s obvious to see that I’ve been influenced by the Japanese version of ‘The Ring’, which absolutely terrified and transfixed me; I think it was the first time I’d seen the jerky movements and strange special effects. This has embedded itself in my own creative centre, so that whenever I think of eerie figures they all seem to have to be emaciated, contorted and to have long black hair! The ‘Hagbound’ picture has lots of other symbols, which probably only make sense to me, but I decided that didn’t matter.

Q: Where do your ideas come from? Do you go looking for ideas – for example by brainstorming, or do you wait for inspiration?

A: I don’t always have the luxury of waiting for inspiration, but I keep a sketchbook full of ideas and starting points, so if I need to come up with something in a hurry I can nearly always find something there.

I get my inspiration from reading, watching films and listening to music.

When I get a story to illustrate, I usually read through first, underlining sections that appeal to me and that I know will work visually. On the second read through I make doodles in the margin, trying to avoid thinking too deeply. I then redraw the doodles in my sketchbook and either work one up into a workable idea, or merge a few together, to get a more overall illustration.

Q: Are you a full-time artist? If you have another job, what is it and would you like to become a full-time artist if you could?

A: I am a full time artist, but most of my paid work comes from my animal paintings.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your creative process?

A: Probably getting a good idea in the first place – once that’s there the rest just follows.

Q: If you could go back in time, what would you say to your younger self about becoming an artist?

A: That if I wanted to be rich, forget it!

But also to be true to myself and not to try to change my artwork to fit in with somebody else, or just to be more popular; the work always suffers if you do that.


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