Emma Richardson: "My paintings are like a Rorschach ink test"
Band of Skulls singer, Emma Richardson, takes on the art world
Emma Richardson is best-known as the female singer and bass guitarist from alt rock group Band of Skulls, but she is also developing a niche as a visual artist. The covers of Band of Skulls' debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey were created by Richardson and formed part of her first exhibition, entitled Meat Me At The Butchers. Her first solo exhibition, Cruisin' For A Bruisin', opens today.
At school, art was the only subject that I was good at. I was doing a foundation art course at Winchester when I met Russel [Marsden, her bandmate]. I had good tutors and they encouraged me to apply to Wimbledon, but it was hard then to keep on painting with all the gigs and going on tour.
Writing songs and painting are really similar but you use a different part of your mind. With writing music you start with a small idea, step back, add parts, shuffle it around a bit then stand back again and it sorts itself out in your head. It's a similar process with art, you keep re-working it.
It helps to have a deadline. I had to design some artwork for the new album Sweet Sour, so I got a studio space in Southampton and spent five weeks constantly working. I hadn't done any painting since 2004! I've still got that studio in Southampton and I try to go there as often as I can now. It's a nice break from the other stuff.
You can paint and draw whenever you want but there's only a certain time for music. When the moment happens in music you have to follow. Instead of concentrating on my degree, I was writing songs.
I have an obsession with The Fall of the Damned by Rubens; the tensions and struggle and falling and pulling. I've always been intrigued by the suggestive side of painting with oils and distortions of human form. If you suggest a thigh or ribs, people are drawn to it because it's something they know, one brush suggests something and a line suggests something else. It takes on that Rorschach ink test feel where the viewer projects their own feelings onto it. I start by making sure the composition will work, then I draw figures and then censure them with paint. I choose where to hide things or make figures more apparent. It ends up looking animalistic or sexually suggestive.
The visceral and psychological aspects of Richardson's work have drawn comparisons with Lucian Freud, but she counts the following among her influences:
Hans Bellmer's drawings and sketches - "for the fluidity and explicitness"
Ralph Steadman - "for his angry ink drawings"
Jenny Saville - "she was an influence on me when I was at Wimbledon, I loved the free movement - and the colour as well.”
The band release their second album, Sweet Sour, on 20 February. Cruisin' For a Bruisin' opens at Londonewcastle Project Space, 28 Redchurch Street, E2 7DP from 2 - 12 February 2012.
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saneie Masilela, 9, marries Helen Shabangu, 53 years his senior, for the second time
- 2 Apple has installed security backdoors on 600m iPhones and iPads, claims security researcher
- 3 UK pirates will get four warning letters a year
- 4 Man takes most pointless Uber cab ride of all time
- 5 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley star in trailer for new Alan Turing film The Imitation Game
It looks like Krusty the Clown is the major Simpsons character death
Russell T Davies wants your 'sexcapades' for new web series Tofu about modern sex culture
Star Wars 7: Plot details 'leak', with sequel's opening sequence and premise revealed
Panic! At The Disco donate $1000 to gay rights group after Westboro Baptist Church picket
Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash: 'Nine Britons, 23 Americans and 80 children' feared dead after Boeing passenger jet is 'shot down' near Ukraine-Russia border
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains