The Humour, Brains and Art of IAG Artist, Deb Foster
When one finds Deb Foster's Bio it says, "Deb is an artist, freelance opportunist and possible space-alien living, and occasionally even working in sunny Southampton, UK. She has been growing her hair full time for the past year and occasionally embeds strands of it in her larger paintings, thus preserving her genetic material for future regeneration." One can hardly argue with the idea, I've had it in mind that the Egyptians petrified Mummies for this reason for years but Deb is such a brilliant mind, one knows that her ideas are way ahead of most of the people on our planet. It's a pleasure to know that's the case! There just aren't many people like Deb, delightfully so and they seemingly broke the mold when they made this fun, humourous and brilliant Artist. I'm willing to guess the big guy upstairs also got an earful after he created Deb, for she is ever full of great ideas and concepts.
As Deb grew up, she set out in the world looking into what might actually make her an artist. We asked her if she always suspected she'd get into art, "I drew and painted all of the time, but the issue was never raised because I was going to be a milkmaid. I had the right kind of hat, so I never doubted my chosen vocation, until I met a cow. Cows are pretty evil. Acrylics are much easier to handle, so I bought a beret. Problem solved", she admits. So the journey began, Deb would be a painter of fine, modern art.
Deb says her friends do consist of artist but she says (tongue in cheek) that this is a challenge,"I have two criteria for friendship, 1) They do not annoy me to the point of animosity 2) I do not annoy them to the point of animosity I have few friends, mainly because of #2. They are artists, musicians, physicists. People as irritating as me can’t afford to be picky." Deb is in fact also a Physicist, achieving her Doctorate Degree at the prestigious Oxford University. A case of creativity meets science, most unique indeed.
Fake Lilly - Original Painting by Deb Foster
I have this sneaking suspicion that this makes Deb both left and right brained and that I'd better behave. Having intellect like this, she's bound to be one whose vision about the people and world around her is beyond ordinary. Deb describes the way people often view her as an Artist, "Art is a way I communicate, but everyone interprets the picture though their own eyes, in light of their own experiences. It creates an ambiguity. For example, I draw girls, and men often perceive them sexually, which I don’t. I think this goes on all the time, but it is more obvious as an artist, because I am speaking my own personal language". Briefly, wonder if this means she paints nudes. Then I shove the thought from my mind back to our interview.
Violet, An Original Painting by Deb Foster
Obviously a profound humourist, we asked Deb to tell us a bit about her background, "I like alot of texture in my backgrounds, so I like to mix some sand in with the paint", she explains with a perfectly straight face. Not wanting to effect the moment or back track I smile and persist asking this time about the point in her life that she realized she was becoming interested in selling her art and taking that plunge. "I became very enthusiastic about the whole Art idea when someone gave me £300 for a painting when I desperately needed money", Deb replies again very straight faced, and blatantly honest in her answer. One can't help but find such honesty refreshing. Her approach is the same in her conversation and in her art, yes both are equally refreshing.
I asked Deb if she has a favorite art style in which she creates and what mediums she participates in. Again having some fun with the "Americanism" in my question she replies, "I’m not sure its possible to participate in a medium, unless perhaps you are a dancer, but if I do then it is acrylics. As far as style goes, to only artistic certainty I knew was that I hated watercolours. I have just started using watercolours regularly; I actually quite like them, although it means I am not sure of anything now, apart from the truth I am fickle and not to be trusted". I look closely to see if she's cracked a smile with this response or perhaps I missed her wink but again her comic appeal is completely straight faced Yet I do see a slight twinkle in her eye, yes indeed. Ok then, intellect and humour all in one package, this lady would surely keep one on their toes!
When asked what Artists are her favorite from the Masters category, both in modern and early Art, Deb says, "I enjoy Cecil Collins, William Blake, Louis Waine, and Cynthia Pell". As an Artist unto herself, we asked what her family thinks of her Art and of her being in fact an Artist, "My family is so large that it would be a small feat of market research to find out. I don’t really care what they think, so long as they behave in a reasonable manner. My mum thinks its great; but then that's her job." Yes it's official I caught a great smirk this time from Deb. Innovative, she suspends her humour into the space of the room. Now we are fairly certain, she knows she's just as humorous as can be but really enjoys most of all the dry, witty approach, watching and waiting for responses. I love this humor but question if it's a verbal teeter totter she enjoys most of all.
Willing to probe a bit, we asked Deb if per chance she had pets, "I have two leopard geckos, called Geronimo and Twiglet. Twiglet has grown up and is no longer small and knobbly and my Niece has renamed him ‘Log’", Deb responds innocently. Deciding it's time to hit her with a zinger, I get very bold asking her what she would do to change the world with art if it would help to ACTUALLY change it? Prepared for just about anything, Deb says, "To change the world, you have to start with the only thing you can control; yourself, your reactions to things. When I am painting I travel down in the subconscious, to get to places other people might not want to go. I take my work seriously. Artists and storytellers have important work to do for society, especially in the modern society when reason is worshipped", Deb explains. With an outlook like that, I make a note to myself that Deb's probably an excellent counselor. I'd never managed to construe art and reason into one thought, I'm embarrassed to admit it so I say, simply nothing. By this time I realize I'm interviewing an genius. I hope my gulping looks merely a normal swallow in my throat.
My Hat - Original Painting by Artist and
Physicist, Dr. Deb Foster, Ph. D.
Brave again, I ask, "What would you tell a child who glamorised the thought of being an artist that would help them realize what they REALLY might be headed for?" Deb stops and thinks momentarily and then tells it exactly as she sees it, "Poverty, absinthe, madness, those teeny little cigars, enamel baths, tuberculosis, being able to sing a good soprano despite said disease, berets, strong coffees, late nights, later mornings, more madness, more poverty, unrecognised genius, social outcast, continuous rejection by the establishment, more poverty, too much time spent networking & promoting, deep psychological trauma - but you can spend all day in your pajamas," Deb admits. Comfort does have it's price I think to myself again. This lady has made my head begin to spin nicely so with such brains.
Foster's A Little City
Star Light, City Light
"Artists suffer because they are human. Some people say I am a rebel but I am just true to myself", Deb says. I ask Deb about her favorite art to produce for just herself. "All of it. If I wanted to sell out I could go and work for BP selling oil and making it look like they care for the environment, because that’s what I’m qualified to do. But since I choose to live an impoverished life with little accolade, then I will paint what the hell I like. It’s only fair." No way will I argue with that, I completely agree it IS only fair. As for the future, Deb sees herself a Rapunzel of sorts. "In ten years time my hair should have reached the ground... and then I will be able to sweep to kitchen floor as I paint. So I will have to have a tiled floor, because at the moment, we have carpet which I spilt ink all over. I can’t imagine the landlady will be pleased, but whoever would put carpet in the kitchen? It’s disgusting!", Deb exclaims.
I mention to Deb that this is her opportunity to tell her audience what she'd like to point out to them, "If you buy a painting from me, it will make a big difference to my life. If you buy a print from Ikea, then who have you helped? Does anyone write you a handwritten thank you note?", Deb asks. "Something collectors might like to know about me that people don't know...I have only travelled through Glouster on a train and have had no puddle related accidents there. People that mention Glouster to me, because of my being Dr. Foster, are neither being original or funny", Deb explains.
Deb joined IAG - Independent Artists Group about nine months ago, "I think I heard about IAG through eBay, I can’t remember. Deb's favorite IAG - Independent Artists Group Artists are Sal Swingewood and Susan Barton. They are always filling my MySpace.com page with their pictures, which is something I don’t get round to, so my MySpace.com page mainly promotes their work ... which is fine by me, they are damn fine artists, and even better human beings", Deb points out. Two points well taken and perfectly stated for these two ladies are some of the cream of the crop in the IAG - Independent Artists Group. Deb doesn't mind pointing out their work and good reasons to enjoy them as human beings.
If you have a moment do go to MySpace.com Deb's work is there and it's a great spot to see it. You can also see it at ArtWanted.com/thedevilswallpaper and at www.thedevilswallpaper.etsy.com, an exploration you'll surely enjoy especially now that you met this great mind with fun humour. Check out more of Deb Foster's work. You won't regret it. Of her philosophy, Deb says it best when she says, "Life is a creative process." I suspect I need to ask her more about that deep emotional trauma she teased about but if I am hearing her right, it just goes with the territory in being an Artist. One just needs to learn to find humour in it all like Deb does. Talk about a fine example of a human being? No doubt Deb got some important gifts as she came through the talent receiving line.
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