Take Five with Alex Roberts
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Take Five with Alex Roberts

Alex Roberts studied at City of Bath Art College and Reading University before completing a further diploma at the London College of Printing.  Roberts is an accomplished artist working predominantly with paint, whilst she also explores other media such as film and installation.  Her present critique is motivated by the concept of how we perceive identity and change.  Specifically the surface and what lies beneath, behind and beyond. 

Roberts’ current studio practice is concentrated on working with the figure. She questions the normality of human characteristics and explores the emotions that fuel our character.  The resulting work invites the viewer to question how he or she perceives their own world and offers a provocative and often humorous take on the sometimes-different world of others.  She looks at our image-obsessed world head on, exploring role-play and portraiture, embracing (yet also challenging) clichés and the discussion of what is beauty.  Roberts' work resides in numerous private, and public collections - de Sla San London, Marco Pierre White Brasserie London, Olympia London, Standard Chartered Bank London & Hong Kong.  Recent exhibitions include Transient Facades, The Well Gallery, London College of Communication, University of the Arts London 2012, the solo showcase Individual Liberty, 7/7a Gt. Guildford Business Square London 2011, Worcester Open 2010, Swan Song St. Anne’s House, Diadem Court London 2010 curated by Rowena Chiu.Forthcoming plans: January 2013 - Roberts is about to embark upon a 3-month studio opportunity at the Milchhof Studios, Berlin. March 2013 - Roberts will be engaged as a PT Art Tutor/ Creative Practitioner at ICIA, University of Bath.  Course: Observations in Painting. ‘A platform for you to think and act like a traveller’ (The Art of Travel, Alain de Botton).

I am delighted to say I recently sat for Alex - actually I walked, danced and skipped!  I will keep you updated with the progress of the work.

In your professional life, what is the single best thing about what you do?
This is a hard one... there are lots of ‘best things’. Making my own choices, in charge of creating ‘my time’ to develop my creative direction – freedom of choice, doing what I love.

Do you have a creative hero / heroine and if so, why?
A plethora of individuals from all creative backgrounds, or rather their work, writings or working methods have stood out over the years for different reasons at specific times. Agnes Martin’s writings & Bridget Riley’s sense of process I often revert to, and presently spring to mind. The first offers lots of sound advice to ‘young artists’ and poetically composed. The later provides an example for how to keep your working practice meditatively going.

Slightly on a tangent re ‘inspiration’. In recent years it has been people I have met or witnessed from a variety of backgrounds that inspire. Either interesting muses that keep me on my toes! Or characters and ‘sensory experiences’ I may have noted from viewing and engaging with a play or performance. People and life’s interactions in general tickle my curiosity.

However, thinking back to heroes, I must give a small smile of credit to characters from my youth - Wonder Women, Morph & Chas from Tony Hart’s TV art series and the Muppets! They had confidence, took positive risks and lots of fun!

What piece of advice do you wish you had been given at the beginning of your career?
Be strict with your boundaries re your ‘own creative making and thinking time’ in relation to other external demands.

If you hit a creative block, what is your top tip for getting through it?
When I cannot shift my mood to get energised, for those ‘empty days’ I take time for a different view point. In short, I bin the guilt, accept the circumstance I find myself in, give in into this ‘feeling’, keep my focus simple and head out. I.e. Still do something positive but allow myself a healthy change of scene. I meander and walk - view my surroundings, let my brain rest and gently observe. This could include visiting a gallery, talking a long walk in a park, sitting on a bench and allowing my eyes to wander, stop by a cafe – view the passing world, or reading a thought-provoking book. Quiet time on my own. Post the rest and re-charge, I am eager to get actively working again.

And finally, for fun, if you were a shoe, what type of shoe would you be and why?
An elegant heel with a hint of fun - a pair that you can feel comfortable and confident in but still dance in them! They give a beautiful line to anyone’s leg, give you a mental lift and feel good factor with a sense of ‘va va voom’!  A fun contrast to my everyday, paint splattered studio boots & trainers.

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