Through contrasted brushstrokes, British artist Richard Zinon portraits darkness and light using a gestural and effusive technique that highlights his Classical Art background. Recently added to our artist’s roster, making an introduction for the first time in Spain, Richard Zinon’s compositions are absent of any iconographic motif and dominated by dark colours. However, that’s just apparently; his works subtly enclose a varied palette, away from the black look that the viewer might perceive at first glance.
Having received a thorough education in Italy, nurturing a wide range of artistic disciplines, such as classical drawing and sculpture, the artist sees the creative process as a whole where he can convey his feelings and his eclectic approach to arts. Deeply inspired by the classic greek sculptures, the influence in drawing of Charles Bargue and the way Caravaggio and Gentileschi mastered the ciaroscuro, he also captures beautifully the light and darkness as the Baroque artists did.
Besides his almost 10 years dedicated to studying the arts in the traditional way, he even explored new paths moving to Japan to learn how to make traditional pottery or refined his cookery skills at the prestigious Cordon Bleu in London. All proof of the character and the artist Richard Zinon is, a sort of new renaissance humanist who focuses on the artistic expression and the contemplation of the art and its inherent impressions.
For Zinon it is important for his creative process not to be affected by external stimuli, being truly faithful to his primary instinct and energetic strokes. His artworks, dark masses of colours, make the viewer feel the artist’s energy and a glimpse of the light within.
Talking about light to brighten our path along this review, we’ll be counting on Richard Zinon’s words. As there is no better person than the artist himself to invite us to discover more about the exhibition, and the process beneath his artworks.
We’re pleased to present, a brief interview with the artist, who will share with us his particular vision and interpretation of the arts.
Since this is your first solo exhibition in Spain, could you tell us a bit about yourself, maybe your early years?
I grew up in Little Bollington, a small village just outside of Manchester. My childhood in the countryside was very practical and joyful. My father was a blacksmith, and I loved working and making things in his smithy.
We’re sure you keep great memories spending time there. Let’s jump into adulthood. By the works you’re exhibiting in the gallery, people wouldn’t say you had classical training, but you indeed had it. Could you tell us a bit more about this background?
In 2007 I moved to Florence. If you’ve ever been to Florence, you know it is a city where you can breathe art in every corner. I began my studies at “The Angel Academy of Art” which is an atelier where students are taught alla maniera that great masters were. Therefore, I received a classical-approach to art, through drawing and painting.
Then, your first steps as an artist were imitating the great masters regardless of any self-expression or own creative process.
Not really. It is true that there you follow a fixed programme based on teaching traditional art conceptions such as proportion, composition, colour, texture, etc. But, the academy’s mission is to give you the skills, so once you’ve acquired these notions, you’re able to find your way, you own vision.
After that, I went to the renowned “Academia di belle Arti di Firenze” to delve into the study of the human figure. I focused on that in the following years mastering my skills in the Florence classical art academy.
When you had your master diploma is when you actually opened your artist studio in La Cittá in 2012?
Yes. There I was mostly working on figurative art, that is said, drawing and sculpting, using models and studying from nature.
Having received a whole classical education how did you transition from the classics into abstract art?
I knew you would probably ask me this. My time in Florence was devoted to studying the classics. A time of hard work, dedication, but slow progression. I give great value to those years of study as they are the foundation of my current work. I couldn’t have developed into abstract without having been taught the way classics did.
To my mind, before finding your self-expression, you need the bases on which this will rest. There must be a connection between your qualities as an artist and your capability to manipulate the material in front of you. There should be a marriage between both aspects.
We would like to ask you the reason behind you nurturing so many disciplines. Was it the reason to find and pursue that expression?
Well, “that” expression, as you say, is mutable, it changes. I have been through many stages in my art over the years as you’ve seen. Each of these periods has seemed very different to me. They were just a different way to express my current state of mind at that time.
Moving onto your exhibition, one of the things you said is that your aim is “to convey to the viewer the energy and joy you’ve felt in the process of creation”. Culturally, people don’t tend to see dark colours having positive connotations. How is it possible to convey such feelings using a dark palette?
It is not my opinion that dark colours do not express joy. Indeed as you say culturally it may be the case, but is it for the artist to question this? Just as musicians make sounds to capture silence I believe that through dark masses and limited hues I can evoke a less obvious and more powerful light. It might not be visible to the eye at first, but it’s there, you just need to take your time to see it.
In your presentation at the gallery, you mentioned that darkness is one of the main aspects that catches the eye of the visitor, but there’s also an artwork in white, in a smaller format. How does the contrast darkness-light fit your message?
As I said before, my creative process is more related to me at a certain time. Moreover, this exhibition actually materialises the self-introspection and the shifting process I pass through when painting. Hence, the small white paintings represent more the passing of time than anything. The work you are referring to in particular, it was completed early in the year and at that period I was focusing on material matter and form than the expressive qualities of gestural painting.
It is like your show represents the beginning and the end of what happens in an artist’s studio.
Indeed. It’s a time during what I appeal to my inner-self. So, I want the viewer to give themselves the opportunity to pause, to let themselves be drawn by my large canvases and reflect on their identity.
Getting back to when you said your expression changed. Should we expect your future works to be different than the current ones?
Yes, you should. It is very probable that it will change. I cannot say how but as I will have come to understand more completely my present state of mind it will no doubt move on to a new mode of expression. Most importantly is that I work honestly and don’t let my rational mind and too many outside influences affect my work.
Click here to discover Richard Zinon’s first solo exhibition at our gallery spaces.
And scroll down to take a tour at his studio.