Interview with Allan Banford
Fine artist from London based based in Hong Kong.
Allan Banford creates abstract paintings, installations and audiovisual artworks. He focuses on the concept of constant evolution, identifying the boundaries between reality and consciousness capturing movements and emotions. Banford revels an inseparable relationship between dimensions and space.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work
When I was very little I use to draw everywhere but when I realize that I could do that on a canvas and keep it forever everything changed. I literally painted on top of most of the paintings in my house, very abstract pieces of landscapes and flowers. I was doing it for fun just to understand how a painting could express different feelings, some of them got better with my additions and everything was fine until I painted on top of my mum's graduation portrait and that was the end of that experiment.
As a young teenager I moved from painting to graphic design, I learned photoshop and illustrator by myself during school. I then went to study advertising but the fact that I was learning from books and ideologies for other people didn't satisfy my expectations so I decided to learn how to write and produce music to be able to give a voice to my creativity. It was great to manage to create my first song and even more to be signed by one of the best independent record labels at the time. The music gave me the foundation to understand how to materialize what it was going through my head. After a few years producing and playing music around the world I decided to go back to my roots to rediscover painting.
What set you off as an artist?
My artistic journey starts with music, I was highly influenced by South American rhythms where music and dance are a fundamental part of the culture. Despite the fact that I study advertising and art history, I'm a self-taught artist, every single bit of information has been crucial to developing my own style, constant self-education has been my secret.
Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work
My work is classified into four series: Retrospective Series: which portraits most of my abstract and figurative mix media work in canvas and wood panels. Calligraphy Series: Dedicated to capturing the essence and symbolism of different languages merge with abstract surrealistic environments. Equine Series: purely to efficiency the versatility, character, and strength of the horses and Amekura Series: for digital art.
What art do you most identify with? any specific influences or research areas?
I most identify with abstract surrealism, after an investigation that lasted over 2 years about the personal life and character as individuals from my artist references such as William Turner, Francis Bacon, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, On Kawara, Gerhard Richter to mention a few I manage to develop a style that is deeply connected with my personality which reflects how I interpret reality and my subconscious graphically.
Is there something you couldn't live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?
The most essential tool in my studio is music and light. With regards to tools I tent to experiment constantly, therefore, I hardly ever use the same instruments per series apart from the basic brushes, knives and wood panels. My main medium is acrylic, I like the versatility of the element, how quickly it dries. But I tent to use mix media and diversify with unconventional elements like wax, hair, Chinese ink, and tape. With regards to surfaces, wood is my element, the organic texture and character give the painting an individuality that is hard to perceive from stretched canvas but for some series canvas are good as well.
Tell us how you organize, plan, and prioritize your work?
There is none specific structure like sketching or test runs, I basically define the concept and start building from it, the only thing I plan in advance or before I start painting are the colors. I don't use more than 3 colors per painting which tent to be opposite from the color spectrum most of the time and place the subject or visual interpretation for the abstract works following the principles of the golden radio.
How do you navigate the art world?
Nowadays I'm one hundred percent merged in my surroundings, every trip, discovery or new experience give me enough information to carry on developing my style and visual interpretation. I try my best to keep my distance from social media influences or trends that segment and categorize creativity based on popularity, I'm constantly out at gallery openings, art fairs, artist talks and read a few art magazines dedicated to finding what's good out there.
Describe the trajectory of your career as an artist so far?
My career as an artist has been a constant evolution, the transition from music to art was key to evolve my creativity, from my first exhibition in London, the journey has been about finding clear ways to materialize my subconscious graphically. This process has taken me to win a few awards like the Global Artist Award commemorating the first anniversary of Nelson's Mandela dead with "Golden Peace", the ArtSlant New York artist award with "Ego" and solo exhibitions across America, S.America, Europe and Asia.
Professionally, what is your goal?
My goal is to create an artwork or art piece that will last forever either tangible or as a statement, something that makes us proud to be human and help future generations to understand how important is to believe in ourselves not just as individuals but as species.
Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?
At the moment I'm working on a transition from 2-dimensional paintings and digital art to 3-dimensional space interaction pieces. This project merges and separates spaces with it the same reality, questioning if what we see is really there, an exhibition from my Amekura series in Rome, Italy and a collaboration with the Hong Kong Ballet.
You can view more of Allan's work on his site - allanbanford.com