Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol cultivated the world of pop art influencing not only the culture but many other artists to follow. Young British pop artist Alex Hall is a rising star who has fast become a favourite among celebrity art collectors. The contemporary pop artist recently premiered his new series of work ‘Haut de Gamme’ at one of London’s most popular art establishments, Box Galleries. The ‘Haut de Gamme’ which translates to ‘Top Of The Range’, is a celebration of colour, form and technique and depicts racing cars, wild safari animals and his signature image, magnum bottles of champagne. We went down to Box Galleries to look at some of Alex’s work on display and caught up with Alex himself to talk more about his work and the ‘high end’ lifestyle.
The first painting you sold for £950 at 16 was recently resold for £35,000. Did you ever imagine your work would one day have such value?
Absolutely not! I always enjoyed painting growing up but after failing to get a scholarship in Art I never imagined I’d even become an artist let alone one that is recognised! I definitely have an inherent need to create and a passion for all creativity, so I guess I just imagined/hoped someone would one day appreciate what I get up to. I thought the collector loved that painting so much he’d never want to sell it. He must have been laughing inside when he sold it!
Your ‘Haut De Gamme’ collection translates to ‘high end’ in French. Is your work influenced by your lifestyle in any way?
Not my lifestyle per se. More memories and feelings that have had a lasting impact on me. Having always created (art, carpentry, mechanics, etc) I found myself needing to establish a company which embodies my ethos which is to make ‘Top Of The Range’, ‘High-End’ creations to the very best of my ability. To me ‘Haut de Gamme’ is my alias but is also about the importance of what you see as much as the crucial underlying of what you do not see. It’s all in the details for me.
Through the ‘Haut De Gamme’ brand, you have raised funds for various charities and organisations. What is the purpose of the brand and why did you feel the need to give back?
Haut de Gamme is a platform which currently showcases my art but in the future, I would like it to represent multiple artistic talents. The purpose is to provide the absolute best. I work with specific charities which I have been personally attached to (Peter Jones Foundation, Lung Cancer, Heart Foundation, Borne etc). I see the pitfalls in life as a motivation to create my work and be successful and therefore I like to give back to these charities one to show my support but also as a personal thanks for giving me the drive I need to succeed. Without the support and recognition of my work, I would have never been able to create. So, I believe it is important for everyone to ‘give back’ in any way they can.
What does your creative process entail?
Painting for me is an expression of happiness. I believe there should be ‘No Rules’! I paint with an array of materials from oil colour to spray paints, never stopping my imagination to allow new ideas to improve techniques and material used. It is up to me to pass on this joy to the viewer; whether that be in the form of an animal, classic car or champagne bottle. I take inspiration from anything that gives me this joy. My use of the drip, for example, is keeping the spontaneity of life within my pictures but also reflecting the dynamic energy I put into each piece. Whilst painting I have music blaring, windows open to let the light flood the room. My studio is the epicentre force of my production. It is important for me to leave my mark on life, which brings a smile to each person that crosses it. Life is too serious nowadays; I want to create meaning in enjoyment with my work.
What is your favourite piece from the collection on display at Box Galleries and how did that piece come about?
That’s a very hard question! I love all of them for different reasons. Right now, today if I had to answer, I’d say the Marlboro Painting titled ‘Smoking Hot’. In relation to my works over the past couple of years, this painting came about from a conceptual idea that we all do things for different reasons. For me internally this painting is significant right now and makes me smile because of it. It’s a memory, the timing of it is in line with the ‘change of times’ that complement the contrasts and the play of opinions we see every day.
You have some major celebrities who are fans of your work including Dragons’ Den Peter Jones. How did Peter find out about you and do you find it harder to do commissioned pieces?
Back in 2012, I was commissioned to do all the art & design for a members’ club/nightclub in South Kensington, London. A couple of weeks after the launch of this venue, I received a phone call inviting me to meet Peter Jones CBE. From this meeting, I was commissioned to paint one painting, after 6 months that became 20 paintings, and he said latterly that he ‘saw more in me than just an artist’. He has continued his support and belief ever since. For me, it’s not about being ‘harder’ to do commissioned pieces, as every creation is different. When being commissioned it’s vital to understand fully what’s being envisioned and use that idea to create something that works relevant to a style, size and medium. Personally, I really like being commissioned as it is a great way to push yourself and find out new approaches that you may not have thought of. I love a challenge.
Established by Emma Moir in 2012, Box Galleries is a contemporary art gallery on the King’s Road in Chelsea, London. The gallery specialises in bringing together recognised investment art with emerging talent.