About Ade Blakey

by Adrian Blakey in In the Studio

I’m a contemporary artist inspired by 20th century modern art. I love using abstraction to tell the stories that matter today. I paint what I feel in response to what I see.

My paintings are about conveying emotions through colour, movement, flow and rhythm. Like an actor performing a monologue, I seek to motivate viewers on a personal level to interpret and unpack my work.

My inspirations can come from anywhere, something I’ve seen or heard, an object, anything that’s on my mind. Recent collections have been inspired by topics as diverse as birth and renewal through to climate change and sustainability. I’ve painted in response to the contours and textures of objects like a loaf of bread, or the bark of a tree.

While I prefer to paint in an abstract style, the majority of my works and collections convey messages to become figurative. Although some of my collections are directly figurative, I now prefer a more subtle use of abstraction.

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Painting Style

Colour, form and flow matter the most to me. I often use bright and vibrant colours to deliver optimistic and uplifting emotions. My painting style is gestural, using short dabs and flicks of paint.

I’ve painted using a variety of mediums in quite different styles, as you can see by sampling the galleries under the “Art Works” menu. I’ve evolved from hard-edge works like “Detention”  to  more fluid works such as “Open Space” and “Ocean Birth“. These latter works are in many ways the exact opposite of “Detention”, typically featuring large areas of coarsely blended colours, and flowing open curves.

Over time, I have built up a library of techniques, a visual language comprising marks and motifs that may be repeated both within and across works, and even across collections of dissimilar works.

The marks and motifs provide the vocabulary of the visual language. Like any language it has a grammar,  rules governing the use of the vocabulary. This grammar guides composition by establishing conventions on the selection and combinations of colour, the positioning and scaling of marks and motifs.

So am I an Abstract Painter?

Despite using abstraction freely within many of my paintings, I am not sure that I would describe myself as an abstract painter.

The reason is that I often (but not always) use my visual language to make social and cultural statements.  My work can say something figurative even when it’s comprised entirely of abstract elements.

Mourning After“, “Bubble Karma” and “Mother Earth” are all demonstrate this. Sometime I paint in response to music, like in “Allegretto“, or even to the textures and surfaces of a found object such in “Sourdough“.

In contrast to this, a lot of abstract art does not seek to tell a story, and so does not have any figurative connections. The artist is instead translating  intangible emotions into expressions on canvas. The viewer is left to find their own interpretations and emotional responses.

So am I an abstract painter? You decide.

Artist Statements on Specific Works

Unlike a traditional landscape, portrait or still life, the viewer cannot  know my intent unless I reveal it. If you looked at the works mentioned above, you will have noticed that many of them are accompanied by brief artist statements. These  provide viewers with a context in which they can find their own interpretations.

My Influences

I enjoy and have been influenced by many artists. Rather than provide a long list of names here, I decided to progressively develop another blog, also on this website, looking at specific artists in turn. Check out my “Great Artist Series” which will be growing over time.

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