Angela Banks

Born in: 1977, Johannesburg
Lives in: South Africa
Describe your art in three words: Engaging, meticulous and allegorical
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Pretoria and Master of Fine Arts, University of Pretoria
Discipline: Painting
See More Work:

A Spot of Tea - Oil on canvas, 51.2 x 59.1 in.

"Living and working during an uncertain time in South Africa, I am happy to escape it all by delving into painting in the studio. Creating my own narratives and realities in the paintings is a way of escaping the harsh real world for a while, and mellowing in an imaginary world of story and wonder. This is where things appear slow and considered and life becomes a type of dream."

What themes does your work involve?
Thematically I like to explore the intricate balance and play between man, animal and the natural world in a dreamlike manner. Relationship is another theme that plays a very big role between all these entities and as an artist I seek to grapple with the unusual combinations and narratives that result from combining seemingly incongruous figures, animals and landscapes. I am also largely influenced by what I find beautiful and so beauty has become and undertone theme that also creeps into the work.
Describe your creative process.
The paintings I create start with a search for imagery that intrigues me on an aesthetic level while at the same time holds an underlying symbolic richness to it. I always start with the figurative and with time, the context/ landscape and animals infiltrate their way into the scene. The paintings subject matter grows over time while I mull over the overall narrative I want to portray, almost like setting up a stage on which a story can unfold.
What influences your work? What inspires you? Why do you make art?
I am influenced and inspired by beautiful and considered film, interesting photographs and everyday scenes of landscape and animal. I am also drawn completely and utterly to the process of painting with colour and brush and surface and illusion. Painting is simply something that is a part of who I am I find I am able to uplift my mood or sense of well being just by creating on a daily basis.
What is good art? What makes a piece of art great?
For me, a piece of art that is considered great, is a work that ‘moves’ the viewer, a work that thrusts one into an experience of colour or story or simply beautiful aesthetic. A great work shows off the skill of the artist and entices one to think, question and interpret a work through their individual world view or personal viewpoint.
What is the role of the artist today?
For me personally, creating art is a ‘release’ from the constrains of what we experience in our daily lives and also of what is expected of us as inhabitants of the world. I create art because it is a vocation or calling to interpret what I see around me. It is a personal exploration that feeds my inner most being but it is also public in order to reach others and to give them the gift of ‘release’ too.
A Spot of Tea - Oil on canvas, 51.2 x 59.1 in.
There's No Place Like Home - Oil on canvas, 51.2 x 59.1 in.
Poised Patience - Oil on canvas, 43.3 x 59.1 in.
Dance of the Thin Red Line - Oil on canvas, 43.3 x 59.1 in.


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