The Next Big Thing is Allan Banford

Interview by Kyle Dow

June 3 2020

Allan Banford is a visual artist originally from London, UK now based in Hong Kong, China. His work is inspired by his direct interactions with the life that surrounds him.

Banford has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from W. Sussex College of Art and Design, UK.

Winner of the World Citizen Artist award, commemorating the first anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s death and legacy. Art Award louvre emerging artist winner.

Allan descirbes his work as "the concept of constant creative evolution, identifying the boundaries between consciousness and reality his creations capture movements, emotions, portraits and, figures revealing an inseparable relationship between dimension and space, this conceptual approach produces a unique multi-layered texturized artworks."

Artist Statement

As an artist I like to experiment with mix-media and unconventional mediums, although in some instances there may not be execution similarities between the artworks, the end result always clearly portraits the recognizable lines of my “Laceration” technique.

Each artwork consists of multiple studies, themes, movements, meanings, and emotions, merged into one for the viewer to organically capture it, apart from their personal interpretation of the tangible meaning.

I create my digital artworks from algorithms than I write and develop, decoding single or group characters into abstract, visual compositions generated by twenty million pixels, for the Digitalism series, or by machine learning for the Expressionism and Conceptualism series, taken an alternative approach of perpetual art evolution.

We are now far into quarantine due to the unexpected Covid-19 virus. What have you been doing to stay productive?

I’m spending my quarantine in the Himalayas, surrounded by yacks and the endless views of the Tibetan Plateau, I moved here since the beginning of the year and it has been an amazing experience, I have been very productive studying the culture, developing new art concepts and pretty much self-isolated by choice as the virus didn’t impact this region that bad.

Have you been able to continue creating? Or found any alternative ways to create?

I have, but with a different approach, I take far more time to decide what I’m going to paint maybe because space here is so vast that it helps you to consider more factors, such as colors, time frames, and more important meanings.

Did you go to school to study your craft? Are you self taught?

I studied Fine Arts and lately have been studying Humanities but I have developed my own craft/technique which is called Laceration, the main purpose is to emulate the movement either from the subject or as observation guidance for the viewer.

What thought went through your mind when you sold your first art piece and when did that happen?

I sold my first painting in 2014, to a private collector from New York, he came to my studio in Soho, referred from a friend and literally analyzed every single artwork available at that time and the ones I was working on, at the end of the inspection he was captivated by the tryptic “Mind States” so he purchased, the three artworks of mix-media excluded on mahogany wood pannels were unframed so he asks me to frame them accordingly and dispatched them to Manhattan, it was definitely a sign of reassurance despite the fact that at that time I was more focus on mastering my technique than the commercial aspect.

Do you feel as though you've had your break-through moment?

I had my personal break-through moment when I was 7 years old, after doing a series of abstract flowers that everyone complimented, that made me realize that my destiny was going to be somehow art-related. As an artist, my break-through came in 2014 when I decided to immerse my self for life in this privileged profession.

What was your typical work routine before the quarantine? Strict schedule or very go-with-the-flow?

I’m always doing something either, writing, doing sketches, watching documentaries or listening to any new underground electronic music genre, but I don’t have a specific work routine, I plan what I’m going to create while I’m doing other activities and when I decided that is time to execute, I just do it. I do like to have everything ready on my studio though so I’m always sure that most of the paint is full, brushes are clean and I have a few different surfaces and canvas to experiment. Apart from that, I don’t have breakfast just a bunch of supplements, I don’t eat any kind of meat just fish and I don’t drink alcohol, I check the news daily, usual correspondence, and for exercise, I play golf and bowl but at the moment just running, not much bowling of golf courses around this area.

Where do you find inspiration?

I try my best to find inspiration from the uninspirable, see the beauty in the ugly, the gracious on the clumsy and so on, I hardly ever follow stereotypes of beauty or emotion labels, just express graphically what I see, capturing instances.

Do you have any long term goals with your career?

Yes, I’m working on a project where the public will be the most important part of an art space, bringing the building to live “literally” just with their presence.

As a freelance artist, is it a priority for you to spend time working on your branding as a business, i.e. website, social media, digital portfolio?

The branding elements have been established from the beginning of my career and most of the online growth has been organic, I designed my website but requires minimum maintenance as I can update it from my phone.

The social media aspect and marketing have been taken care from third parties depending on the projects and locations, at the moment I’m working with agents in France (Europe), Hong Kong, and the US.

What are your feelings about the art world becoming more digital?

It’s so ironic that technology is making us more dependable than ever, instead of giving us freedom.

We can’t live without a smartphone, therefore, we are cyborgs living a digital life already, every single industry has been impacted by technology including art. The issue here is not how to become more digital, is actually how to become more creative without relating to machines, perhaps the digital age will be the foundation of our organic supremacy.

In the recent pandemic crisis, we have seen many virtual exhibitions go up, Artgence has our very own virtual gallery. What are your feelings about galleries exposing their collections virtually?

It’s great than platforms like Artgence bring virtual art exhibitions to everyone, crossing frontiers and opening more doors for those keen to know more about art, especially during the quarantine time, I’m also delighted to be exhibiting there later this year.

Do you think that collectors and gallerists will start to switch to a more digital way of viewing art?

Digital will be the way to reach more audience but collectors or galleries will always need physical interaction with the artworks as investing in art is not an easy decision, I see it more as an addition but not as a replacement.

How do you think art and the industry can help the world in times of crisis like we are in now?

Unfortunately, art is a commodity so there is not much to do apart from making sanitary messages and social restrictions, visually appealing to make people more conscious about the severity of this global pandemic.

This crisis is a gentle reminder about how insignificant and vulnerable we are, and how the outdated ideologies that rule our society are becoming our weakness.

Allan's work was recently featured in a book alongside Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst, Banksy, and Jackson Pollock; written by the highly acclaimed writer, critic, and curator; Edward Lucie-Smith.

World of Art: Movements in Art Since 1945

by Edward Lucie-Smith

Buy the book here