Kent Artist Profile: Anthony Foster
Art was always in Anthony Foster’s blood, so it came as no surprise when he swapped a career in advertising for the life of an artist. Over the intervening years, this change has worked out well.
How would you describe your art?
Impressionistic and illustrative in style, my work combines a variety of mediums, mainly water-based acrylics, house paints, inks and structural paste. I think of myself primarily as an artist, although many people know me just as a muralist. There isn’t any particular subject matter that I stick to, particularly when commissions are so individual. Projects can vary from large site-specific murals to the odd graphic storyboard.
What made you want to be an artist?
There was never any doubt that I would be heading for a future in the arts from a very early age. But working in advertising as an art director at the point where pencils and markers were losing out to the computer, helped me make the jump to being a self-employed artist.
You run a life drawing class – is teaching something you would like to do more of?
Yes, I intend to always keep my hand in. Teaching life drawing over the years has been a two-way learning curve for me and my students, exchanging new techniques and ideas. Within the last year I’ve also been teaching clay figure sculpture, a fantastic opportunity for me to further develop my understanding of the human form, while helping others.
You’ve worked for some high profile companies such as JD Wetherspoon and VIP Ski. Do these commissions differ from those for private clients?
The main differences between my private and commercial commissions are usually in scale and deadline. Commercial projects can sometimes run for many months and involve multiple art works, whereas private jobs are generally one offs, taking between a day to a week at most. An exception to the quick private commission was a mural job in Norfolk which had me returning over several years, painting views of a large Victorian house along with its folly and lake. By the end I was accepted as part of the family.
What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?
I really felt engaged with a conceptual piece I did for one of the churches in the Art in Romney Marsh exhibition. The piece was called ‘Please Leave a Message’. I constructed a booth where people could leave messages to a lost loved one as a cathartic process. By the end of the exhibition I had a collection of the most amazing and heartfelt lines which I compiled into a book.
Where can we see your work?
A good place to see some of my work would be in one of the Elite pubs around west Kent; the most recent being The Potting Shed in Langley.