Art: Interview - Charlie Anderson

“Since graduating in 2009, Charlie Anderson has pissed off art collectors, curators, graffiti writers, three world-renowned artists, been threatened by a leading London gallerist, and has been punched in the face by an Edinburgh artist.”
– via Facebook

Few artists have the ability to portray contemporary life like Charlie Anderson does through his artwork - huge images of billboards created solely by painting. Charlie has worked with Ringo Starr in association with the Knot Violence Foundation, won several prized and is admired by many, a surprising turn for someone who hated painting until his final year of College.

Read on for more pictures and an interview.

When and how did you start painting?

I didn't start painting properly until my last year of College in 2009. Until then I was never really inspired and in the first couple of years at College I hated it. In my final year though something happened and I just couldn't get enough of it, I started really experimenting with painting and it just developed from there!

Who or what inspires you?

I love the nouveau realisme movement, artists like Jacques Villegle and Mimmo Rotella. There's something about taking existing material that's out there in the world and transforming it into a work of art that really appeals to me.

Do you listen to music while painting? If yes, what kind of music? Does music influence your work and if yes in what way?

I can't work without listening to music! A lot of what I do can be really physical, especially when I'm dealing with large canvases that need many litres of paint, so generally anything that pumps me up. Recently it's been a lot of rock and hip hop, I especially love how some of those musicians transform really old music, or music from different cultures and put a contemporary spin on it.

What makes a picture really good to you?

For me a picture has to be of something. I really need to see an image that I can potentially relate to to make the picture interesting for me. I also like big pictures because of the detail you can get in them, and the effect of seeing them from far away and up close. For me the best pictures are the ones where it's really hard to work out how they were made.

Favourite artists?

My all time favourite is probably Sigmar Polke. I love how he took all sorts of imagery from all over the place and made it into art. Also for such a prestigious artist his use of humour is inspiring.

Your pictures tend to look like layered posters on billboards, how do you achieve this effekt? What makes it so interesting to you?

For a long time I wanted to be able to make a picture that was completely painted, but had the look and feel of decollage. I discovered a way to do it was to literally create layers of painted imagery, so I'll paint one layer then on top of that paint another layer, leaving elements of the previous layer exposed. I'll keep doing this until the picture is resolved, which for me is a very interesting process as I see all the imagery go down, then fragmented through the layers of paint to create random bits of information. In a sense I build the picture without knowing how it's going to look when it's finished, I make that decision when it looks right to me.

Charlie Anderson: