Interview: Sean Thornhill

Sean Thornhill artist UK

In conversation with artist Sean Thornhill from Cambridgeshire, UK.



Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?

My Grandad was a big inspiration for me, he was a signwriter, graphic designer and watercolour artist. He inspired me hugely in my creative / artistic development.


Can you talk about the influences upon your work?

Auguste Herbin has inspired me and my work, an example of geometric compositions and how shapes can be layered. And of course, the Bauhaus movement and its artists have influenced my work 100%. I discovered the Bauhaus and its artists while studying. The obvious two are Josef and Anni Albers but also Herbert Bayer. Recently I have discovered Ben Nicholson, his work has really inspired me with my wall sculptures.


Geometric forms often feature in your prints, can you elaborate on how and why you use these?

I have always been interested in geometric shapes, the way you can just create endless compositions with limited shapes. Placing the shapes side by side or layering them on top of each other. And they don’t have to be complicated for the shapes to work in harmony with each other.


You also clearly have an interest in more constructed, or built forms. Can you talk about this?

I started to make print plates out of card, I was working on a 3 layer print and I just looked at the plates and over lapped them and there it was, that moment where my relief sculptures started. I have always had that three dimensional eye, which goes back to my studies. I love the feeling of starting with two dimensional materials, layering these together to create a 3D piece, it’s very satisfying.


Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?

I don’t think there is a particular pattern to my work, subconsciously maybe. There are a few shapes I like to stick with. First I will sketch ideas, then these are fine tuned on my computer. I then create paper or vinyl stencils for screen printing. My prints tend to become reliefs at some point and vice versa.


Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?

Yes, I really do, It was one of the reasons I turned to art. Being a freelancer, I was stuck at my computer in the digital world for hours every day and I found printmaking and creating wall reliefs a way of escape, a way to just slow down. I feel I have the right balance today and long may it continue.

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