Meet-the-Artist Interviews

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an artist? Where do they get their ideas from? How do they become artists? What are they working on at the moment? What advice do they have for aspiring young artists? Find out in our new video interview series for young people (and adults)! We are on a mission to interview some of the biggest names in UK contemporary art to find out what makes them tick! Watch the bite-size 10 minute videos below for an exclusive glimpse into the lives of nationally-recognised artists featured in the Swindon Collection. Accompanying learning resources are shown below.

We’ll be adding more interviews each fortnight – subscribe to our Youtube channel and never miss an episode!

Huge thanks to the Arts Society Upper Thames for supporting this project.


KS2 and KS3:

Desmond Morris

Desmond is a Surrealist painter who enjoys creating strange fantasy worlds, inspired by his work as a zoologist. More information.

DESMOND: You can ask an artist to explain his techniques or to explain his history as an artist, but you should never ask an artist to explain the meaning of his paintings. When I look at a painting, I let it speak directly to my eyes and I do not try to analyse it with words. I began painting when I was at school. I had discovered that the invention of photography made it unnecessary for painters to go on slavishly copying the outside world. It was now possible to invent an inside world using one’s imagination. I started to create my own biological shapes and to invent my own personal landscapes, allowing them to develop from canvas to canvas as though another private world was evolving in front of my eyes. 77 years later I am still doing it and my paintings still surprise me, almost as if they are creating themselves. I do not expect anyone else to like my paintings but I am delighted when they do. One should always paint for oneself and not try to please others. 

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David Bent

David explores painting, collage, and photography, with a focus on aviation. davidbentstudio.com

David is a Swindon-based artist whose work combines dramatic and inventive compositions, alongside bold use of colour and geometric shapes. He is well-known for his ‘art of flight’ paintings and prints, which bring together aviation, science and art. In 2008, he was artist-in-residence for the Red Arrows and he was the first artist in 30 years to be awarded Honorary Companionship of the Royal Aeronautical Society. UK Exhibitions over recent years include: The National Memorial Arboretum, The Russell Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, St George’s, The Royal Air Force Club and a year-long retrospective at the Royal Air Force Museum.

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KS4 and KS5:

Simon Carter

Simon is a painter who draws inspiration from the Essex coast around his home. @simoncarter11 simoncarterpaintings.co.uk

Simon is an artist and curator based in Essex who takes inspiration from the landscape around him to produce vibrant paintings rooted in place. In 2013, he collaborated with artist Robert Priseman to form the artist-led group Contemporary British Painting. Simon is President of Colchester Art Society and has been artist-in-residence at the University of Essex and Firstsite, Colchester. Exhibitions have taken him all over the world from China to Europe, Canada and the USA. He has won both the Daler-Rowney and Wallace Seymour prizes from the Royal Watercolour Society.

SIMON: I grew up on the flat coast of North East Essex, a world orientated by the constant horizon, and the meaning in my painting activity is rooted in this landscape, one that is not immediately picturesque but has a quality of otherness. I make small, gnomic drawings outdoors. The act of drawing encourages slowing down and a more intense regard. I tend to draw the same things over and over, seeking territory beyond the familiar. I don’t use photography as it brings too much extraneous information into the studio. The paintings then develop by dissecting the drawings for marks, structures, patterns and insights.

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John Greenwood

John is a painter of surreal worlds and forms! johngreenwood.com @johngreenwoodartist

John was one of the Young British Artists patronised by Charles Saatchi in the 1990s. He has exhibited around the world, with a new solo show in Los Angeles next year.

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Bringing art and learning to life!