Friends Membership Card
Introducing the new 2013 Friends Membership card, artwork by Gillian Ayres RA
Mortella 3 (detail)
© Gillian Ayres, Courtesy Alan Cristea Gallery.
Artist Interview with Gillian Ayres RA
Can you tell us about the work Mortella 3 which is on the front of the new Friends membership card?
It was one of a series of works on paper I made two years ago. In between the paintings, I often work on groups of paper works and prints and especially in the winter when my painting studio is bitterly cold. The titles always come later and have little relation to the work itself. La Mortella was William Walton’s garden on the Italian island of Ischia.
Which artists have influenced you along your career as an artist?
I don’t think influence is the right word. I grew up admiring Matisse, Miro, Picasso and many of their contemporaries. At the time I was far more interested in what was happening in Paris than what was being taught in art schools here or in America. Over the years there have been many artists whose works I have enjoyed, but it would be wrong to cite them as influences.
What advice would you give other aspiring artists?
If you are lucky enough to have the innate desire and ability to make art then persevere. It doesn’t happen overnight and it’s not always easy; you have to be strong minded, but in the end it’s worth the pain.
If you weren’t an artist what job would you be doing?
I simply don’t know. All I ever wanted to and still do is to paint.
What do you love most about the RA?
Its unique position of being run by and for artists. It really is a one-off institution and I can’t think of another public gallery or art school so successfully run in this way.
Is there anything you would like to say to the Friends of the Royal Academy?
The friends play a vital role in the R.A. Their support in visiting and contributing helps make it the place it is.