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Feature: Karl Slater

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Local artist Karl Slater doesn’t create the type of work your grandmother would want hanging above her fireplace. He doesn’t paint those scenic watercolour landscapes to which you have become so accustomed, and his portraits probably won’t resemble the Mona Lisa. That’s because Karl is one of the few modern artists out there at the moment who try to create something original and genuinely interesting.

The Cannock Post team caught a glimpse of Karl’s art during the Stafford Arts Festival at the Gainsborough [Art]works space and the Life of Riley Café. Our reporter couldn’t wait to catch up with him for a little interview and to get some cool prints sorted for the office. The art world is not kind to most of its enthusiasts, but at the moment, our local scene seems to be doing well…

When did you decide to become a professional artist?

Art was never a hobby for me, it has always been a very big and serious part of my life. I have always sold work, but in drops rather than rivers until recently. The change came because I realised I needed to get out there. My work was hard to obtain in the past, but building a client base through the internet has been beneficial to me, and people who like my style. Anyone can view my online gallery and buy work from the comfort of their own home.

What influences the work you create?

My influences come from many places. I love the illustrations of Ralph Steadman, Derek Hess, Florian Bertmer. Raymond Pettibon and Alan Moore. Heavy metal, harcore punk, and horror movies all played a huge part in developing my skills as a youth- they still do in some ways.

When I approach a project, I usually have an agenda or goal. So, with something personal, I would look either into my life, past events or current surroundings to create a mood that can communicate with people. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean I’m a tortured artist – you can make a gut wrenchingly sad piece of work whilst having the time of your life.

Do you think it is difficult for an original artist to get mainstream attention these days?

The industry is saturated with all kinds of artists at the moment. There are many talented people around, but most probably aren’t getting the attention they deserve – some never will. I think it’s very hard to get to the top and remain a fine artist. It’s extremely competitive in illustration and graphic design, the arts & crafts industries are overrun with people doing the same thing. But the internet is great for competitive selling, and it gives every artist a platform.

I think as long as the work stands out as something unique or visually stimulating, then going online can really work out well.

Difficult question maybe, but why do you create art?

Creating art isn’t just about replicating a visible image into a two or three dimensional format. It’s about communication. Before we had language, we had art. That says a lot to me about how instinctive art really is. I create art to pass a message on to those in the now and (hopefully) those in the future. My work has a lot of heart and character. Each piece has a story to tell about why it exists, and who it touches.

Finally, what are your plans for the future?

 At the moment, my goal is to create affordable art. I’m selling high-quality prints through my website, and some of them look even better than the originals. In the coming months, I’m running workshops on Drawing and Economical Arts, and mentoring students who want to bring their work up to a professional standard. I would love to be apart of some of the art projects going on in Berlin in the future. They have a fantastic artists community there, and that might be a good place to begin exhibiting my work on an international scale.

Those who missed Stafford Arts Festival don’t have to worry because you can still view Karl’s work alongside that of Jamie Taylor, Dawn Jutton, Eve Bennett, and Stuart Kean at the Life of Riley Café. Alternatively, there’s an awesome gallery below that showcases some of the best pieces we’ve seen so far.
Visit www.KarlSlaterArtist.com to see more of Karl’s work and keep updated.
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All photography ©Dawn Jutton

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