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A Man of the Mountains: Interview with Alexander Heaton on Rise Art



Posted in Meet The Artist by Lucia Fischer on 17th November 2014

Alexander Heaton is an english painter, printmaker and mountaineer based in urban London. With a love for nature and all things wild, Heaton uses mediums such as Oil, Acrylic, Gold Leaf, Silver leaf, and Screen Print to share the cosmos with disjointed public. Known to exhibit both locally and internationally, Alexander Heaton is an artist to watch out for.

1. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING TO KNOW ABOUT YOU?
I live for my work and I feel lucky and grateful to be here and produce art. You may only live once and I think its important not to waste time, so I want to see remarkable places and show them to others through my paintings.
 
2. HOW DID YOU GET INTO ART?
I have been interested from a very young age, I always drew pictures and I was encouraged by some amazing teachers at school, and my parents too. I was also very lucky, as from childhood onwards I was taken to lots of museums, galleries and far off places like Iceland, Egypt and the Holy land and encouraged to draw what I saw.
 
3. YOUR ART IN 3 WORDS?
Venerated Pagan Peaks
 
4. TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR PLAN TO CLIMB BARUNTSE IN NEPAL.
This october I am planning to be part of an expedition to climb Baruntse in Nepal. As you may know my artwork is heavily influenced by my experiences in the mountains. Baruntse - 7162m (23,497 ft) is a peak in the Khumbu region and will hopefully be the highest I have yet climbed to date on any mountain.
 
Whilst climbing Baruntse I will be participating in a self driven artist lead project to explore the limits of creativity at high altitude. I will be attempting to make a series of art works in response to my environment at a pre-given set of spot hights. These pieces will then be developed into a series of larger scale works upon my decent from the mountain. I am selling these images and artworks prior to my departure. In this way it offers something unique to my collectors, in that they can choose the visual location upon the mountain of the painting/artwork. And be part of a historic project that has never been done before. Upon my return I will be showing a solo exhibition of the works made in response to this expedition in a major London gallery.
 
I am currently running a crowd funding page called Project Thin Air to raise funds to cover the material costs incurred to make the subsequent artwork and cover the costs incurred to put on an exhibition of the artwork made.
 
5. WHAT'S THE WEIRDEST RESPONSE YOU'VE EVER HAD TO A PIECE?
I was exhibiting a painting called Monte Cervino in Dubai. The painting was unfurled, and the wife of my collector bust into tears. She was from Ethopia, and I think she had never seen snow in her life.
 
6. WHAT'S A SEMBLANCE DO MOUNTAINS HAVE FOR YOU, AND AS AN INFLUENCE IN YOUR WORK?
Mountains are key to my work. They are the first places I return to for creative nourishment. They represent struggle and the overcoming of obstacles through following there unique lines. Mountains are also in the mind and appear to me like natural cathedrals unchanging and permanent. To climb them is a communion with nature and to walk through their wooded slopes a kind of metaphysical poetry. They are oblivious to the fads of the world yet constantly keep me fascinated by there unique geology and the changing nature of light on there snow aretes and glaciers.
 
7. WHAT KIND OF ROOM DO YOU IMAGINE YOUR ART IN?
I imagine my art hanging in a oak clad hunting lodge with, stags heads and a selection of medieval armour hanging on the wall, a large wunderkammer sits on the opposite wall filled with rare minerals and curios from around the world. outside the window it is gently snowing.
 
8. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE A PIECE?
My paintings can take anything from a week up to several months to complete for the larger more complicated pieces.
 
9. 3 MAIN INFLUENCES?
The Romantic movement in art, literature and music. Mountaineering. Wild life photography in the National Geographic and BBC nature Documentaries.
 
10. WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE YOU TRYING TO DEPICT THROUGH YOUR ART?
I am trying to depict through my art a deeply spiritual world where the phenomena of nature and its inherent beauty offer something up to the soul that can hopefully reconcile consciousness in this technological age. A world that is out there if only you choose to look. Its important to me that the mountains and forests in my paintings are places I have actually visited and experienced. The paintings act like a record of these journeys and hopefully sum up my feelings towards the landscapes in which I have journeyed and dwelt within.  Some of the paintings I make have mystical elements. With such works I am trying to expose my viewers to world that has deep reverence for the old belief systems of the North. Worship of rocks and mystical runes take people back to a pre-christan Europe where deities of the earth were worshiped and respected. I would hope people would gain from my work a feeling of the time when they were a wolf cub wondering the forest looking up at the eternal snows and running toward there next pray.   
 
11. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE JUST COMING OUT OF ART SCHOOL?
Set your self up with studio or work shop straight away. Stay in contact with your fellow alumni and try to collaborate with them on your own projects and shows. Treat being an artist as a full time job. Be professional from the start. Ignore what is in fashion and go with your interests. Listen to your heart and take risks, and lastly but most importantly make lots of work and evolve your style.
 
12. HOW HAS THE INTERNET AFFECTED YOU IN TERMS OF VISABILITY FOR YOUR WORK?
The internet has massively affected my visibility. For example, once I got a professional website designed as a show case for my work I was offered many more opportunities than when I was just doing pop up shows or blogging about my work. I think the words you use to describe your pieces for a search engine are extremely important. For example, in my case I have been really specific about describing the mountains and place names of my paintings which has encouraged key audiences in Switzerland and the climbing community to know about me. Meeting and following other artists through Instagram and Twitter is another great way to get conversations going about projects and your ideas. Choosing a clear and professional online shop like Rise Art to sell your work can not be underestimated in the way they can direct online traffic to your work where a personal blog would not.

About The Author

Lucia Fischer

Lucia Fischer

A traveler, an artist, and a Communication Arts graduate, Lucia Fischer is the latest edition to the Rise Art team. Lucia helps reach out to all art-lovers by managing the Rise Art blog, Facebook, Twitter, e-newsletters and other forms of media. Other than helping out in the London office, Lucia also enjoys adventures in the outdoors. With an extensive knowledge on film and travel it’s no wonder she has a fascination for all things exciting and beautiful.