Doodling The Right Thing

Anne-Marie Marquess meets artist Michael Hudson. Click Play Video to watch an online exhibition

When did you first become interested in art? 
I’ve drawn since I was a kid. The first time I became aware was in infant school when I had drawn a computer and the teacher showed it around the class. I got enthusiastic about it from then on. I’ve always drawn for pleasure. It was a game, an extension of play. 

Did you enjoy art at school? 
I actually hated art at school. It was all about sticking cardboard boxes together and making sculptures and that just wasn’t me. I once found an old report and all my art marks were awful, really bad. I did Lady in redeventually end up going to college and taking a HND in Natural History Illustration in my early 20s. I hated that as well. I don’t know why I’d picked natural history illustration because it’s very scientific, it’s all measuring things out and drawing them absolutely perfectly as they are. At least it taught me what I didn’t want to do.

When did you start to get your paintings together and consider exhibiting?
I always did art as a hobby, but I think I’ve only really had the confidence to exhibit in the last year.

What made you think that now is the time to get your work out there? 
Sudden feedback from people. A lot of these paintings have been holed up in a portfolio under the bed for years. When I started to show people at work I got a lot of positive feedback. Last year a few people bought some works, so I think that kick started the confidence thing.

You currently work as a chef and produce art as a hobby. Might those roles be about to change? 
In the real world, if I could at least spend more time painting and drawing, that would be fantastic. In a perfect world, yes, I would love to be able to make a living from selling paintings and to have a studio, that must be fantastic, not drawing on the floor like a ten year old kid, as I do.

You use biro in a lot of your paintings. What made you decide to use pen? 
It was actually doodling in school. I remember designing tape covers for people and using a biro because it was the easiest thing to use. Then I quickly realized that you could do more with a pen than I thought you could. Over the years, I’ve become more skilled with it and found that you can blend colours and also mix them with other mediums, such as acrylics, coloured pencils, anything.

What artworks or artists inspire your work? 
There were always artists I admired and artists that I found inspiring, but not inspiring to copy. At least, not since I’ve grown up. As a kid I used to Message in a bottlewant to copy other artists and went through phases of wanting to do stuff like this guy or that guy. I’ve always liked artists like William Blake. I went through a stage in my teens of being fascinated by an artist called Richard Dadd, who became insane and spent most of his adult life in Broadmoor hospital. Then I became interested in what they call 'outsider art”, which is the art of people who are not within the art world, they are either self taught or they don’t go by any established style. 

Does your work fit into a genre? 
I don’t know, perhaps outsider art but I've also heard it called naïve art. I guess that's because I’m trying to recapture a childhood way of looking at the world, trying to recreate what I felt about things as a child.