Rhiannon Davies is a Bristol-based artist whose work Grey Rouge (watercolour and gouache, above) was selected for the 164 Annual Open Exhibition. At 15 years old, Rhiannon is the youngest artist to have ever exhibited in the exhibition. We caught up with Rhiannon to find out more...
RWA: How did you first get into art?
RD: Ever since I was little I have loved art and it has always been a passion of mine. From as soon as I could hold a paint brush and a pencil, I have enjoyed creating and drawing the world around me. When I was younger, I would always set up a little ‘gallery’ of my art work for visitors to look at. Whenever I was asked by people what I wanted to be when I was older, I would always reply that I wanted to be an artist – and I still reply with that same answer now.
RWA: Where do you create your art?
RD: I love doing art in so many different places. The places I tend to work in the most at home are, in our dining room (as it benefits from a lot of natural light) and my little studio area in our extension, as it is where I work on and store my long term art projects. I enjoy displaying in my creative workspaces lots of postcards and leaflets I have collected and special cards and drawings from friends and family. I enjoy surrounding myself with the things I love, as it inspires me so much. I always enjoy drawing on location too, be it the coast, inland waterways... the RWA is one of the places I love to draw in the most.
RWA: What inspires you?
RD: I am so inspired by the world around me. I love nature and I am also particularly inspired by people and their emotions. I have been recovering well from ME for over the last three years. Throughout my recovery, I have had the honour of meeting truly amazing people on my journey, who have all helped me so much (both through hospital and my two lovely schools). Whilst recovering, it has been a privilege to see so much life and I keep everything I have seen close to my heart. I love capturing people’s emotions in my work and a person’s soul, as it is something I can relate to well.
RWA: Which are the artists you look up to?
RD: While studying for my Art and Design GCSE, my eyes have been opened to art work done by such amazing artists. A few of my favourites are Piero Fornasetti, Henri Matisse and Angie Lewin. Other artists I look up to, outside of my GCSE, are Eric Ravilious, Daphne Todd, Mark Hearald, Fiona Campbell and Sara Dudman RWA.
RWA: Has painting always been your medium of choice?
RD: I tend to mostly do painting, with watercolour being my favourite media to work in, as I find it very freeing and expressive. With watercolour, I use a technique I have formulated for all my portraits, which is using lots of ‘blotchy’ layers of paint. I use this technique, as I feel that this process adds layers of emotion to my portraits. But, I also love working in fine liner pens too, as I enjoy doing detailed and precise work. I am always excited about learning new techniques and styles and incorporating them into my work.
RWA: What made you submit to the Annual Open Exhibition?
RD: I have been visiting the RWA from an early age and it is somewhere that I find so inspiring. I have always enjoyed The Annual Open exhibitions and have found it so great seeing all of the work by such talented artists I so admire. It had always been a dream of mine to have the honour of being part of an exhibition I love so much. So, this year I thought I would have a go at entering.
RWA: How did it feel to be selected?
RD: When I logged into my account, scrolled down to the bottom of the page, and I saw that my little painting had been selected I was truly speechless. I felt so honoured and moved. To know that my painting had been selected by a panel of people I so admire, to be hung in a gallery love, I just could not believe it. My dream came true!
RWA: What are your future plans?
RD: I am so looking forward to studying art and design full time after my GCSEs. Having ME has encouraged me to follow my dreams and passions even more and has made the saying ‘you only live once’ even more profound to me. My dream is to work as an artist (focusing mostly on portraiture) when I am older and to share my love of art with others.