Interview with Rob Hodgson

Why and when did you start making art?
When I was a kid, just like everyone else. I think drawing comes before words and I’m still really interested in that level of communication. After school I went to art school and just made a mess for a year. In England it’s typical you do this year that’s kind of based on the old Bauhaus school, where you do different disciplines- a mix of craft and art. They break down all your preconceptions. I didn’t like the rigidity of the design kids and I didn’t like the bullshit of the fine art kids. But I love art theory and art history and I love how commercial art communicates, so I chose to follow illustration.At university I learnt so much. I read as much as I could and soaked it all up. I lived with diverse image makers- comics artists, film makers, painters. It’s so healthy to be around a lot of people, otherwise I’d get too serious and fall down a hole.
Now I try to make good images and learn along the way.

What kind of art do you make?
I make pictures in quite a traditional sense. I am concerned with elements of design in an image- shape, line, colour, and composition. Early 20thC ideas.
I like to write and draw. I make prints and do commissions. I am working on some books. I’d like to do more communal work.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?
All over the place. With image making I like to be influenced by other mediums. Music, films, books. It all feeds into itself.
I find science really responsive. I have a Steven Hawking audiobook about space-time that sets my mind off. He talks about abstraction and relativity- it’s all the same in image making, Steven! I want to talk to him and tell him that.

What does your usual workday look like?
After breakfast I have a coffee and read e-mails and see what is happening in the world. Look at what I was doing the day before. Sometimes I will have a commission to get on with; sometimes I work on my own stuff; and othertimes I chip away at some books I’m drawing. On an evening I usually eat a nice dinner with my girlfriend and friends. Late night is my favourite time to think about new things.

How do you spend a perfect Sunday?
Read in bed. Get a coffee in bed. See the cats on the bed. Go and walk around junk shops with my girlfriend all afternoon. Pretty easy and no bad news.

What is your favourite taste of chocolate?
I like all chocolate. Anything milky.

Show me your favourite artwork (from your own collection or another artist)
I am crazy about Rousseau’s Football Players. I love the strange figures and I love the beautiful place they’re playing in. There is something about where they are that sends my imagination into overdrive. There is some darkness to the woods, and something dark about the men. Something is awry, but so lovely at the same time. Are they two sets of twins? I love it so much.

Whom should we interview next?
Oliver Butcher

If you could have coffee with a famous artist – dead or alive – whom would you choose?
The Beatles, hands down. But if we’re talking image makers (weren’t the Beatles?) then Picasso when he arrived in Paris as a lad. We could hang out. Or Hockney at the Royal College.

What is your philosophy of life?
Eat some food and get some sleep. Do your work.

Thank you, Rob!