A realist painter, Steven Lawler’s surreal portraits stem from his imagination as it does from his real-life subjects. The UK based fine artist painter is originally from Manchester and now lives and works in West Yorkshire. One of his works will be displayed at the ongoing exhibition Pandora’s Box, presented by Great Banyan Art, an online art gallery. In an exclusive interview with ACF, he tells us about his oeuvre.
Your artistic trajectory mostly revolves around intimate portraits of people. Why is it so?
I don’t think of myself as a portraitist at all – except on rare occasion. If the term portrait were to be used in reference to my work then it would be better to describe my paintings as narrative portraits. I view the people in my paintings as characters and not real people.
Isn’t it a difficult job to bring out varied emotions in the portrait?
I think emoting feeling through expressions is the easiest way to present feelings and not difficult at all. The difficult part is projecting emotionality without sign posting it with readable facial expressions or obvious body language.
You also create psychological mystery and drama through your works. Can you elaborate on your craft?
I think mystery and drama is created by the lighting I use. The way a character is lit in a painting can heighten the sense of mystery and drama. I prefer to use a high side light of the type Caravaggio established. I also think an undetermined background can lend a mysterious resonance.
Your work ‘The Signalman’, which is part of the group exhibition, can be interpreted in several ways. When you were painting this specific work did you have any idea in mind?
The Signalman is a representation of somebody blocking out the banal chaos of the outside world and concentrating on their inner voice and its connection to the universal energy source.
What do you think of Great Banyan Art, which is offering a wonderful platform to promising international artists like you to reach out to Indian market?
I think it is a fabulous opportunity for international artists to have their work seen in a far away, beautiful and spiritual country.
(Pandora’s Box can be viewed at the Stainless Gallery from November 11 to 19)