Fraser Renton Art Interview
Fraser Renton is a Linear-Geometric Abstract Artist based in the Sussex Downs of West Sussex. Born in Edinburgh in the late 60’s, he and his family were relocated to Surrey where he was schooled until
adulthood. After education and from the early 90’s, Fraser trained as a contemporary dancer that took him all over the world, performing in the countries of all 5 continents.
As well as performing as a dancer, Fraser progressed to dance and stage management and the creation of stage props, backdrops and promotional material. During this time his passion for creating became his new focal point. By the end of the 90’s, around the time of the .com boom, a change of direction towards designing and developing websites ensued and by the turn of the century, Fraser had taught himself how to use all the tools of the trade needed to create, manage and maintain websites. Using programs such as Paintshop Pro, Paint, Illustrator and the industry standard, Photoshop, these self taught graphic design skills have progressed into creating physical art from digital creations.
In 2015 Fraser relocated to just outside Arundel, West Sussex where he now showcases his work in the physical form at his open house studio days and local gallery trails as well as events, fairs and exhibitions up and down the county. Curious as to what inspires Fraser in his work and his journey so far, Absolute Magazine caught up with this pioneering artist at his Sussex showroom.
Tell us all about how your love for art and particular style began?
As far back as I can remember I have always had a love for linear geometrics and colour field paintings. My fascination for both these art forms has inspired me for many years and have been influences in all aspects of my work before becoming a full time artist. Everything I have ever undertaken has been self taught. On leaving college, I worked within the entertainment industry together with pop groups, west end productions and touring cabaret troupes, performing with before leading to creating sets and props. After the .com boom a new direction into web development and graphic design commenced, all of which have played a key ‘creative’ part in the development of the art I am now making.
How has your brand grown to be where it is now? What has contributed towards your success?
Staying dedicated to my practices and my work ethos has been major contributions in my development. My work is very niche but I have always had the belief that if you work hard and are prepared to get out there promoting and selling whether that be at an art fair, through a gallery, online or via social media, perseverance and confidence in your work will help towards becoming a success.
Who inspires you and your designs?
There are so many recent artists whom I admire but to name some of the greats, I would have to say Mondrian, Kandinsky, Pollock and Rothko. I feel that many of the works from these fine artists represent some of the most intellectually fascinating and visually stimulating geometric and colour field art ever conceived.
Now your name is recognised by artworks, have you featured in any gallery shows and have you worked with any brands or commissions you can share with us?
I have worked together with companies including Art in Offices, Caiger Art, Reem Gallery and View Gallery to name but a few. 15 pieces of my Linear Geometric works can be seen furnishing the head offices of First Abu Dhabi Bank in the city of London. Unfortunately there are certain people who wish to remain nameless, but I have also been fortunate to sell work to a select clientele within the entertainment industry as well as the head of a Global Oil and Gas Company whom has made several purchases of my works, one of which was placed in between and Picasso and a Dali!! It was overwhelming to see and a humbling experience.
How has the advent of social media made an impact on you? I can see from your online presence that you seem to embrace this?
Being relatively new to the art world, the initial challenge was getting seen. As a new artist it was essential for me to keep updating my website and social media with my collections as well as showcasing my works at art fairs around the country. Having over 20 years of web development and graphic design experience has certainly helped in my progression and my knowledge of promoting website clients on various social media platforms has given me the tools necessary to grow my art presence quickly.
What materials or spaces to you enjoy working with most?
Linear-geometric abstracts with multiple colours, sharp lines, shapes with depth and optical illusions. For me there needs to be an edge to the works, whether that be using gradients, texture or simple subtleties in the colour. I also love sculpturing tactile Geo-mesh art, inspired by a late friend whom I collaborated with. When hand moulding aluminium mesh that has been precision sprayed with acrylics and varnishes, it creates a colour changing landscape of possibilities. Every piece is unique and the synergy when merging with linear-geometrics, can create some stunning results!
How do you stay relevant and current? Where do you get your inspirations from?
I see the world we live in as a place full of linear-geometric constructions with enhanced colour vibrancies. I currently work from my home studio in Arundel, West Sussex. It’s very clean, modular, there is a place for everything and everything is easily accessible. I initially prepare my visions digitally using colour fields and layers before transferring these creations to ‘one-off’ original pieces.
For the geometrics, I work with acrylic paints on canvas, birch-ply or aluminium surfaces most of which are finished with a protective resin overlay. I then incorporated perspectives and depths into my visions giving my art an almost 3D feel followed by the methodology of mesh moulding to create tactile art.
Why are your designs so different to other artists within the industry? What does a Fraser Renton client get?
My aim to conceptualise, capture and create new and enticing art that delivers a capacity to generate fascination, evoke deep thought through beauty as well as engage great emotion and distill mood for the viewers.
I wouldn’t call my art designs even although my work starts as a digital creation, but being digital from the offset sets my work apart from the more traditional painting techniques I see so often at events around the UK. My work is very niche but the pieces I have created I often find are purchased to be ’stand out’ pieces placed in positions that make a statement.
Which projects are you really excited about for 2020? Are there any future plans you can share with us?
Recently, I have produced an ‘curvy edged’ range … linear geometrics within circular panels and frame work which I am really excited about showcasing at Affordable Art Fair in Battersea in March 2020 with Caiger Art. Also showcasing will be my latest ‘Jagular’ works – new origami styled concept art that has been complimented with bespoke frameworks each uniquely shaped to fit around the 3D effect geometric works.
As well as exhibiting my works, I will also be organising a second year of events; Sussex Art Fairs at Goodwood Racecourse in May and Sussex Art Fairs at Brighton Racecourse in October. Last year I joined forces with Oliver Norris and Leah Michelle from Lemon Art to create these two events. Having identified the need and demand for large scale contemporary art fairs near the south coast, Sussex Art Fairs was born and attracted over 5,000 art lovers at our first events in 2019 who came to see over 250 exhibiting artists galleries and collectives and make purchases from the 1,000’s of artworks on sale. This year we are expecting an increased attendance and we are once again proud to be collaborating with our partners; Sussex Wildlife Trust, artPAKK and Cass Art.
How has being based in the south helped your business? Do you feel the region’s high creativity levels have contributed to further your success?
I love living on the south coast and after having lived in London for over 25 years, moving down to Arundel as literally a breath of fresh air. Since moving here in 2015, I have really been able to put all my focus into the creative process without any of the distractions from the big city. I have been much more involved in community art with trails and fairs and have made many artists friends within the Sussex counties and surrounding areas. I am very much looking forward to seeing how my work progresses through 2020 and beyond. Watch this space!