Oral History of British Photography. Arnatt, Keith. (1 of 5)
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Arnatt, Keith, 1930-2008 (speaker, male)
Butler, Susan (speaker, female)
Part 1. Keith Arnatt [KA] comments on his unsettled, difficult childhood; problems at school; at 13 accepted at local junior art school; remarks on childhood drawing – aeroplanes, cars, Cowley field of wrecked aircraft; later discovery of painting by Paul Nash of this same site; after 14, various odd jobs eventually becoming an art student proper at age 21. KA comments on school; influence of boarders; acceptance to Oxford School of Art; mentions awareness of Ashmolean from age 16; remarks on landscape painting – Palmer, Constable; the impressionists – Pisarro, Sickert; limits of models in art school; mentions Blackwell’s: the Fauves, Van Gogh, Post-Impressionists, School of Paris; KA had mostly a technical training; then attended Royal Academy School. Remarks on move to London, wife teaching, little money; mentions abstract expressionism. Remarks on becoming more ‘visually aware’; influence of German Expressionists – Kirschner, Soutine, Rouault; scale of American painting made an impact. KA comments on his reasons for making art. Comments on his increasing interest in 3 dimensional; mentions Stella Judd; became avid reader of American periodicals, art magazines; discovered an account of Oldenburg work of a hole dug in Central Park (1967) – very influential to KA. Remarks on art as idea. Comments on his 1967 ‘Earth Plug’; mentions interest in Andre, Serra, Tony Shafrazi; mentions meeting Walter de Maria.
Performer notes : Keith Arnatt has been active as an artist from the 1960s and studied at Oxford School of Art and the Royal Academy schools. His major retrospective, Rubbish and Recollections, toured Britain in the late 1980s. He teaches at WSCAD and at Gwent College, Newport.