Outside In volunteer Beth Hemmings has interviewed November 2013's Artist of the Month Julian LeBas. Julian's work recently featured in the Outside In: South East exhibition at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery, which showcased his 'Ginger Queen' artwork, as shown here.
1. When did you first become interested in art and what sparked this interest?
I started 25 years ago. Some people read, I paint – it's my pleasure.
2. How would you describe your art practice? How has it developed over time?
It hasn't really changed. I just keep switching from canvas to paper and I have always stuck mainly to portraits.
3. What or who is your work influenced by?
No one has really influenced my work. I have a great love of history so I am more inspired by historical characters such as Michael Collins, Lawrence of Arabia, Ghandi and of course the Ginger Queen.
4. Can you tell us more about your preferred medium and how it affects the mood of your work?
Whatever I can get my hands on from household paint to Worcestershire sauce or whatever gives me the right texture particularly on canvas. Obviously on canvas, I build up many layers which can take months, if not years, before I find it.
5. What has recently exhibiting at the Outside In: South East exhibition meant to you?
I was very proud, especially as 'Elizabeth (The Ginger Queen)' is my favourite piece although I did miss her whilst she was away!
And can you tell us more about ‘Elizabeth (The Ginger Queen)’ – your work that was on display?
I certainly have no idea what is about to arrive until I find it in the paint or texture. With the Ginger Queen I found the hair first and being a ginger myself was delighted! I was pleased to deliver a portrait of a ginger icon as I feel ginger people have received a lot of negativity in recent years.
6. What does being selected as Outside In’s Artist of the Month mean to you?
I am chuffed.
7. What are you working on at the moment?
I have just returned from Greece and I am working on a series of miniature water colours entitled 'Thessalonika under occupation' an example of which will be on my website shortly.
8. What is next for you as an artist?
It would be good to do more exhibitions as it's interesting to see people's reaction to your work rather than it just sitting in the garage.
To see more of Julian's work click here