F. Lennox Campello, a Washington, D.C. based artist and blogger, participates in the Artists Interview Artists Project. Below Campello responds to another artist's five questions (Sean Hennessy). In order to participate, Campello had to provide me with five questions for some other artist to answer. The assigning of questions to artists is completely random. If you're an artist and interested in participating, let me know.
1. What, if anything, do you consistently draw inspiration from?
The human figure. It never ceases to amaze me how the body can be "new" at all times. All it takes is a shadow here and a curve there, and suddenly you see something that you have never seen before. I also draw a lot of inspiration from history and from legends and from myth and religion. And every once in a while, I get to marry a couple of those inspirations with a figurative study, as when I have done dozens and dozens of "St. Sebastian" drawings over the years. And I also have the obsession with some iconic faces. In 1975 I discovered Frida Kahlo while visiting Mexico City, and since then I have done maybe 1,000 portraits of her; I have similar obsessions with Che Guevara and a couple of other icons.
2. What came first for you, your desire to be an artist, or your knowledge of the materials you work with?
Definately the desire to be an artist; waaaay back when I was very small and didn't know the difference between acidic paper and pH-balanced, acid free conservation materials.
3. What does your work offer our society?
It depends what body of work (I guess). For example, I often get mentally stuck on creating artwork with historical references, such as my body of works dealing with the Pictish people of pre-Celtic Scotland. I have documented their artwork, their tattoos, their little-known history, etc. I often accompany that work with written descriptions and explanations. I have seen (many times) someone look at the drawings, then study the text with avid interest. It is followed by something along the "I didn't know fill-in-the-bank..." And sometimes, someone comes up to me and says: "I saw your drawings on the arrival of the Milesians to Ireland and I was so interested that I went to the library and got a bunch of books on that subject!" In conclusion, I think that some of my work offers a chance for the art lover to become enamoured of the history or facts behind (inspiring) the artwork itself.
4. In what ways do you stretch yourself to make your work grow?
I read a lot, and I experiment a lot with different materials, and generally with compositions, as the defining factor to "add" a psychological element to my drawings. Over the years (I would guess) I have created well over 10,000 pieces of original works of art - that includes prints, watercolors, oils, acrylics, sculptures, photographs (bad ones) and even videos (back in the 70s!).
5. What are your goals as an artist?
To leave behind so much work, that even if 99% of it is destroyed in one way or another, a substantial amount will always remain behind as a footprint of the fact that in between the 20th and 21st century, a man named Campello created artwork. I want the folks from the "Antiques Roadshow" of the year 2500 to struggle and have fun identifying one of my many portraits of Che or Frida or Saint Sebastian.
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