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Idea13 Interview With Stephen Oliver

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Idea13 recently looked into the depth of what strikes Stephen Oliver’s passion for art!


What inspired you to become an Artist? 
My cousin, J.Edward Oliver, was a prolific cartoonist in the 1970s and 80s – in 2007 he passed away. Since 2000 we had worked together; Jack the cartoonist and me the colourist. I had been interested in art in various forms all my life. Before leaving school I was a keen photographer, but it wasn’t until I was well into my adult life that painting became an interest/obsession – I needed to record my thoughts/experiences as a permanent ‘document’.

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What gave you the drive and motivation to open up your gallery?
After painting three large canvases for ASDA at their distribution centre in Dartford, I started looking for a suitable space to use as a studio for my work. A vacant unit became available at The Orchards Shopping Centre in Dartford and I was lucky to be offered the space for my studio and gallery. I have now been there for over three years.

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Why do you enjoy painting nature pieces? I read you work a lot with skies and stretching perspective, is this what inspires you to work?
Absolutely anything can inspire me, but I do prefer to connect with landscapes (real or imaginary). In my work I try to create a ‘scene’ that the viewer can step into using their minds eye to add to the location.

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Are there any other artists who have influenced you over time?
Yes. I greatly enjoy the very loose watercolours by JMW Turner, also his later canvas work such as ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’ and ‘The Morning after the Deluge’. Kurt Jackson is also an influence on my work.

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Who’s your favourite artist?
I would need to split that question into two categories; Painting – JMW Turner, Anselm Kiefer, and Gerhard Richter. Illustration – Ralph Steadman.

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What are your plans and goals for the future?
To continually develop and push the boundaries of my work – occasionally stepping out of my comfort zones.

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