After being treated for so many weeks to beautiful paintings, wonderful landscapes and fascinating artists we have our winner! Read our exclusive interview below where we catch up with the youngest winner yet! Fujiko Rose tells us all about her experience of winning Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year 2019, the £10,000 commision to create a work for the Royal Institute of British Architects inspired by her visit to Venice and also £500 of materials from Cass Art.
Firstly congratulations on winning Landscape Artist of the Year! What an achievement. How did it feel once the judges announced the result?
I was definitely overjoyed by the result and I’m sure had it not been after 3 in the morning I would have been jumping up and down as well. Though on the night the scale of it all definitely hadn’t really sunken in yet, since then I’ve just been having moments where I’m maybe sitting down, having a cup of tea and thinking ‘wow, that really happened!’.
Battersea was your first night scene, was that daunting and how did you adapt your approach to cope with the time of day?
I liked the idea that we would be drawing at night, I often draw through the night, though never outdoors… But my line of thought to why I thought it might be useful was that I thought the night would help abstract and in some ways simplify the scenery as the night can obscure a lot of the detail, and so it helped to block things out.
Fujiko’s winning work
In the winners episode you mention the influence of your Japanese heritage in your work. Could you talk us through how you bring through that visual language and rich creative history of in your work?
People are shaped and influenced by their environment and when growing up naturally I was exposed to a lot of Japanese culture, my mother was also very interested in art and design, so I’ve always been very interested in the visual elements of what was around me. What I noticed was that I was very taken by the styling and composition of Japanese art/design, there’s a lot of wonderful use of lines and asymmetrical balance. Whereas with western art I was more interested in the techniques themselves, the way textures are created in etchings would be the prime example. But those are just two influences, I try to take inspiration from as many places possible and then experiment in bringing those interests together.
Fujiko’s Finalist Commission
The commission seemed to be created for you! The architecture and visual nature of Venice suits your creative style so well. How did you find working in the city?
I was a little bit nervous about Venice, I knew it was a beautiful city and that there are countless beautiful representations of it in art so I was definitely feeling the pressure. But i think that’s a natural feeling when about to do something which is so important to you. What I noticed that I really liked with Venice was there was so much detail, but not necessarily the type that you always have to get your ruler out for, there can be an almost organic feel to the details, as the arches may be slightly uneven or wonky, and the peeling plaster and exposed brick gave an extra dimension and raw edge that contrasted well with the pretty decorative elements. So there was a lot of choice and one very happy Fuji.
Fujiko’s Sketching in Venice
When you were sketching in Venice you mentioned that when working with ink you have to work backwards to that of a painter – starting with the foreground and moving toward to skyline. Do you have any other tips for those trying ink for the first time?
So this is a comment I made which upon reflection thought isn’t always applicable and depends on your composition, if you’re working with a foreground that overlaps the background in a more complex way, I would definitely draw it first, i.e. with foliage or say if you were looking through a gate. I’m not sure how this tip will work for others but I like to always try and learn new techniques, if you like working with Indian ink and want to get experimental looking at the works of printmakers has given me a lot of inspiration, by looking at other mediums I learnt more about my own preferred medium.
Closeup of the Venice Commission
Your final commission was a stunning example of what can be achieved with the medium, indeed the judges agreed that you showed the world that ink very much has a place alongside the other pillars of painting material. Have you always been drawn to work with inks?
I love drawing with ink, it’s a simple medium but in a way I think the restrictions of it have pushed me to be more playful with it. In regards to why I’m taken to Ink drawing, I think that would be partly from my fascination with the old etchings in my home and also my love of lines. Drawing ink may not quite have the same reputation over here as say oil, but in countries like china and japan it’s always been a highly regarded medium and so it was never really a deterrent for me.
And what advice do you have for anyone wanted to apply for Sky Arts Artist of the Year in the future?
The first thing would absolutely be to practice drawing to time, and do a good few practices at that, regardless of the location your given you still want there to be a relationship between what you can do in 4 hours and your submission piece. I think it’s worth reading some of the previous artists’ blogs and watching the show, as at least if you have a rough sense of the days layout you can be a bit more mentally prepared. But I was on the show last year and even though I didn’t get through my heat I had no regrets, it was a hugely fun experience and that experience is what pushed me to actually do and sell fine art.
Fujiko Rose Commissioned Work
Finally! What’s next on the cards?
I’m going to try and keep active, this is such a precious opportunity that I could never imagine receiving and so this year I’d like to be more ambitious with my art, try go a bit bigger and bolder. And my other very important new year’s resolution is to get better with my time management…
FUJIKO ROSE INK ESSENTIALS
If you think you’ve got what it takes to become Sky Arts Artist of the Year dust off those paintbrushes and wipe off those palettes and get painting! If you need to top up your materials before you get going you can shop with us in-store or online, we have everything you need.