Artist profile - Fraser Renton
PUBLISHED: 00:00 27 May 2020
A lifetime’s fascination with the sharp lines of geometric patterns led Arundel-based Fraser Renton to create a kaleidoscopic collection of paintings and sculptures. Simone Hellyer speaks to the artist
Many of us have felt inspired to put paint to canvas during lockdown, hopefully rediscovering long-lost talents or finding a mindful way to pass the hours in the process. And many professional artists have found the past few months to be a productive time too.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak this year’s Sussex Art Fairs show at Goodwood had to be cancelled, so Arundel-based founder and artist Fraser Renton has been using the extra time to create work for next year’s show.
“Recently, I produced my curvy-edged range – linear geometrics within circular panels and frame work. Along with my new origami-styled concept Jagular art, I have been working on designing a new range of interconnecting triptych works, all of which should be available by late summer,” he says.
Originally from Edinburgh, Fraser moved to Arundel in 2015 where he now creates paintings, digital images and sculpture. Fraser’s artistic style is inspired by geometry and has developed throughout his life, helped by a creative and very varied career. He travelled the world as a contemporary dancer in the 1990s, before progressing to dance and stage management – a career that saw him create stage props, backdrops and promotional material. During the dot-com boom he moved into website design, teaching himself graphic design skills that he later used to make art.
“As far back as I can remember I have always had a love for linear geometrics and colour field paintings. My fascination for both these art forms has inspired me for many years and they have been influences in all aspects of my work, even before I became a full-time artist. Everything I have ever undertaken has been self-taught. On leaving college, I worked in the entertainment industry with pop groups, West End productions and touring cabaret troupes. This, plus web development and graphic design, has played a key creative part in the development of the art I am now making,” he explains.
Fraser is a big fan of the abstract in all forms, with digital, geometric, hard edge and minimalism his favourite styles. He especially enjoys experimenting with colour field – focusing on sharp lines, three-dimensional shapes and multi-layered optical illusions.
He says: “I see the world we live in as a place full of linear geometric constructions with enhanced colour vibrancies. I currently work from my home studio in Arundel. It’s very clean and modular – there is a place for everything and everything is easily accessible. For the geometrics, I work with acrylic paints on canvas, birch-ply or aluminium surfaces, most of which are finished with a protective resin overlay. I then incorporate perspectives and depths into my visions giving my art an almost 3D feel.
“For me there needs to be an edge to the works, whether that is using gradients, texture or simple subtleties in the colour. I also love sculpting tactile Geo Mesh art, inspired by a late friend I collaborated with. When you hand-mould aluminium mesh that has been precision-sprayed with acrylics and varnishes, it creates a colour-changing landscape of possibilities. Every piece is unique and the synergy when merging with linear geometrics can create some stunning results.”
His bold and colourful designs are regularly exhibited around the country as well as locally and in his own home at artists’ open house events. “I love living on the south coast and having lived in London for more than 25 years, moving down to Arundel was literally a breath of fresh air. Since moving here I have really been able to put all my focus into the creative process without any of the distractions of the big city. I have been much more involved in community art with trails and fairs and have made many artist friends within the Sussex counties and surrounding areas,” he enthuses.
Through utilising social media he has garnered commercial success too, with his work gracing the likes of First Abu Dhabi Bank’s offices in London and The Berlin Light Expo.
“My work is very niche but I have always had the belief that if you work hard and are prepared to get out there promoting and selling, whether that be at an art fair, through a gallery, online or via social media, perseverance and confidence in your work will help towards becoming a success,” he says.
Since moving to Sussex, Fraser has helped many emerging and established artists showcase their own work by co-founding Sussex Art Fairs, a contemporary art fair held twice annually at Goodwood and Brighton Racecourse.
On his motivation for setting up the event, he says: “Having identified the need and demand for large-scale contemporary art fairs near the south coast, I approached Goodwood Racecourse pitching the idea of holding an event at their venue. The team at Goodwood were very excited about the idea, so I approached Oliver Norris and Leah Michelle from Lemon Art, with whom I had exhibited in London, to team up with me and Sussex Art Fairs was born. We were thrilled to have over 5,000 art lovers visit us and make purchases from the thousands of artworks on sale.”