Angela Banks

Born 1977, Johannesburg, South Africa

Lives in: Johannesburg, South Africa

Describe your art in 3 words: Whimsical, Meticulous and Positive

See More Work:

Rebel Ride - Oil on canvas 130 x 150 cm

"Art exists because life is not enough." - Ferreira Gullar.
"This for an artist like me is true as I am compelled in every way to continually produce, it is my escape, my refuge in some ways. I can’t not paint, my life needs it."

What themes does your work involve?
Within my paintings, I strive to create subtle narratives and connections between humans, animals and the context in which they find themselves. The pairing of specific individuals with their animal counterparts has always been a starting point for me, from which to tell/paint a story. The stories are backed strongly by an ever present ‘instinct’ that exists in both the human and the animal make-up. It is a quiet and yet powerful drive that we both have that forms an undeniable relational link between us. It is this link that moves me to flesh out in paint the surreal stories my mind makes up and to share them with others.
Describe your creative process.
The creation of a new body of work for me is always inspired by ‘need’. As a painter, I have a need to express what’s subconsciously running around in my head. I start with the human figure and then the animal and build from there. I never map out or plan a work start to finish in the beginning, it is always a process of growth. The work grows almost on its own, it’s a creative process that is intuitive and sometimes surprising, even to me what is expressed. I know a painting is complete when the story is finished and when I can look at the painting for a long while and not want to change anything.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
In a world of much chaos and disorder, I have a need not only to escape it but also to make sense of what is happening around me. By creating my own stories in the paintings, I am able to break free from the lack of control I sometimes feel and focus rather on what is uplifting. I am largely influenced by what I consider beautiful, the flow of a dress, the expression on a face, the stance of an animal. By focusing on the beauty in the world, I am able to counterbalance my feeling of being out of control and can find an equilibrium within myself. But this striving towards balance through imagination is what I hope viewers can also experience, if only for a time, while they stand in front of the painting and peruse the possible narratives that they can visually see and work out.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
A good piece of Art for me is one that demonstrates great skill, imagination and concept. It must be able to move the viewer to a higher place, a place not experienced in the everyday hum drum of the world.
What is the role of the artist today?
The role of the artist today will always be debated, however in my opinion it should be the artists goal to be a commentator, a producer of something meaningful, a creator of the unusual, the intriguing and the inspiring.
Between Earth and Sky - Oil on canvas 110 x 150 cm
Saddlebag diaries - Oil on canvas 110 x 80 cm
Deep Within - Oil on canvas 72 x 109 cm
The Sky Messenger - Oil on canvas 110 x 150 cm


This interview was published by Circle Foundation of the Arts. © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist