Welcome back to another interview with the incredibly talented Tony Fredriksson. Tony is based in South Africa and creates the most remarkable sculptures from re-purposed wood. This skill and discipline has an interesting, selcouth technique. The amount of patience needed for his work is another reason I must pay him so much respect. We have the pleasure of an interview below with Tony and I think you can all agree, his artwork is truly remarkable, admirable and awe-inspiring. Congratulations Tony on such brilliant work and being a unique artist.
Who are your favourite artists? What makes them stand out to you?
Anton van Wouw: He captures a character in a way that brings them to life. Rodin: ( His apprentice artists made hundreds of plaster casts and moulds of sections of a sculpture. These were reproduced to save time when starting a new work or used to work out composition. I work in a similar fashion but with hundreds of pieces of unique shapes. Jean Baptiste: I love his style, clean strong lines and natural movement. I enjoy sculptures in recycled and traditional materials as well as wood block prints, portraiture and a wide variety of oil painting styles. I never get tired of seeing different art mediums and have dozens of files which I visit for inspiration when time allows. One could have new favourites every month as there are so many talented artists today. Because there are so many I tend to remember the art works and not the artists names.
What is the process for your sculptures?
To begin a sculpture, I research the subject, collect, sort and clean the material, do drawings in scale to what I want to make, then start to piece it all together.
What is your preferred medium you use?
I use weathered- or water-eroded wood.
What is your opinion on the art market at the moment? Do you find it a challenging
industry? What do you like about it? What do you dislike?
It is tough for now with the World lock-down, one can sell an artwork much easier when you talk face to face with your audience. With galleries closed and the fear the public seem to
have, this would be a difficult time for new-comers to break into the art scene. Social media is the way to go if you can target the potential buyers that like your work or style. I dislike the way we have lost the social contact that we used to enjoy. I like the exposure new art-forms get though the media and the huge variety of work out there. One just has to make sure you don’t become just a spectator, should manage your time wisely and do what you love best.
Do you have any advice for artists wanting to be represented by galleries or any
advice for any one beginning their art career?
I am not sure if I can give any worth while advice. I had a blessed break with a gallery and managed to reach the buyers for my kind of art. I do pray for my daily bread and ask our Creator to help me do justice to His creation. I had already started marketing my work through the web before the lock-down, so fortunately my work has remained steady. My break came quite late in life – at age 50.
Did you study at art school? If not, where did you study and what?
I did every art class in school from 6 years old and even did life drawing classes in the evenings at 15 years. After starting out doing art in a Technical College, I went on to do fine art
in the UK but dropped out after 2 and a half years. I have learnt more from on the job experience during my career in lithography, photography, taxidermy, moulding and casting, illustration and using graphic programs like 3D AutoCAD and Corel draw during a screen printing post, so most of my learning has been on the job.
What inspires you in your work?
Nature inspires me. It is endless, every creature (including us) is fearfully and wonderfully made. The material I find triggers inspiration for most of what I sculpt.
How do you manoeuvre through your industry?
Fortunately driftwood sculpture does not seem to be widely exploited. I gave up doing bronze sculptures because there are just too many artists doing it, and do it far better than me.I have also found that different subjects appeal to different people, so I diversify. Every new driftwood subject I tackle opens the doors to a whole new audience. Trends and fashions are constantly changing, so re-invent yourself every few years.
Do you have a routine on a day to day?
Discipline and routine are essential, especially if you are working on a commission list. One has to be strict and protect your time. I leave my cell phone with my wife during the day, she handles all my admin so I am free to play with the driftwood. I try to see all my clients on the same day and also do my errands on that day so I have less interruptions during the rest of
the week as I work 6 days a week. Interruptions kills creativity and inspiration.
Below is Tony’s Contact details to follow more of his work: