Artist's Biography - Roy Fairchild
( 1953 - )
Roy Fairchild - Woodard was born in 1953 in Surrey, England. He lives and works most of the year in his country home. This peaceful environment is fundamental to his well being and stability as an artist, although he travels throughout Europe to obtain new sources of inspiration. He is particularly influenced by the painters of the Renaissance and he visits Italy in particular to study frescoes, tapestries and paintings and to see for himself the techniques with which they were executed.
Fairchild left school at sixteen to train as a technical illustrator. Graphic design was his main degree qualification. He found technical drawing interesting because it is so exact-you can't argue with it. In this way, his first exposure was to an art that was highly disciplined, and this has proved invaluable throughout his career. His first employment was in advertising, producing photo realistic airbrush illustrations. He then went on to work for the Sackville Press, publishers and producers of educational books and diagrams. Fairchild was involved in producing technical illustrations, again highly disciplined and working to deadlines.
In 1980, he made the break from graphics and became a freelance painter. Fairchild was in a sense released and could paint in the way he wanted. His prints too, reveal this same sense of freedom and optimism. There is a sensuousness about them that evokes a feeling of timelessness and tranquility. Every available surface is filled with color and pattern-they are as colorful as Persian Illuminations, always brilliant, never harsh. Fairchild's aim is to draw with Japanese freedom, to produce images that are shrouded in duplicity and mystery. He loves to break the color up, reveling in the secrecy of it..
In recent years, Fairchild has devoted more of his time to printmaking. The process of printmaking is complicated and protracted. Fairchild starts by making working drawings and then produces a highly finished color study on unsized Spanish cotton rag papers. Washes are first applied, which are absorbed deeply within the fabric of the paper. The image is then progressively built up using stronger and stronger colors until finally the sumptuous reds and glistening golds are applied to the surface. By now, most of the compositional problems will have been resolved and it is time to make the print..
The same process is repeated, but this time individual silk-screens are made for each of the washes and each of the colors that go to make up the image. These screens are handmade and the image they bear, and the colors they take, can all be modified throughout the proofing process until perfect compositional and color balances are achieved. Photographic processes are not involved. The aim is not to reproduce the study exactly, but to establish a print, which has a life and integrity of its own..
During printing, which may involve the application of 40 or 50 screens, the image begins to emerge, color by color, first the background base colors and washes, and finally the stronger decorative surface details. At all stages, the artist is free to rework the screens, change each color, until he has a single perfect print. The process is then reproduced up to 350 times until the limited edition is complete. The screens are then destroyed.
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