The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

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Saturday, September 30, 2006

Interview with Robert Francis Carter

q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

a)My full name is Robert Francis Carter. I was born in St. Albans England 1973, however I was only 2 years old when my parents moved our family to the fairly frosty realm of Ontario Canada, where I have lived ever since. I hate shaving, I love cooking and I’m somewhat of an introvert.

q)How did you get started making art?

a)My father is an amazing artist although he was never one by trade. Also my three other brothers are incredibly talented. I guess it runs in the family. So really I began my journey into the world of art right from the get go. I was constantly doodling on anything and everything growing up. Eventually I got bored of doodles alone and so enrolled in the Sheridan College School of Art and Design in 2000. I’ve been a full time freelance illustrator for 4 years now.

q)How would you describe your art?

a)Well for the most part the work I create are illustrations either for editorial magazines, books, advertising etc. So I’m creating images within the restrictions of the clients needs and wants. At times it can be frustrating but it’s also very rewarding and offers different challenges than when I do work on my own personal paintings. In any case almost all the work I do incorporates and revolves around the human figure. I love painting faces and the myriad of moods and expressions they offer. Another aspect of my work is texture. I’ve always been drawn to textured surfaces. I try to emulate a certain ‘roughness’ I guess you could say in the way I apply paint. My work varies from being quite conceptual to straightforward portraits with subjects ranging from realistic to the surreal.

q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

a)Inspiration is everywhere but I love insects and how when viewed under a magnifying glass they transform from annoying spots and specs to magnificent complex creatures full of amazing colour and detail. People especially their faces, and dreams.

5) What are you working on now?

I’m working on an unusual portrait of Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass comedic musical duo) for the cover illustration of Synthesis magazine. An Art, Music and Culture publication in the States.

q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recommend? Artists, art communities,...!?

a) My girlfriend and an incredible painter Art community Wealth of art links and reviews.

q)What’s your favorite medium to work in, and why?

a)Oil because it’s so versatile. I also still really enjoy the first medium I ever used… The good old pencil!

q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

a)Not to give up! I've seen so many friends and former classmates try illustrating or selling fineart for a year or so and finally say to hell with this because they weren't getting much work and call it quits. If you truly know that being an artist is what you want to do, then keep working at it! Continually refine your skills and push your talent. Recognize and admit your weaknesses then work on solving them. Also know your strengths and play to them. If you have faith in yourself and your abilities and work hard on bettering your skills, success is sure to follow.

q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

a)It’s all one and the same. Enjoy it, learn from it and try to leave a little mark of your own once you’re gone.

q)If your persona were immortalized as a cartoon character, who would it be?

a)Probably something like Kenny from South Park.

q)What are your artistic influences?

a)As far as my artistic influences are concerned I have many, which I continually add to as I discover (or re-discover) great artists. Some of which include terrific painters like John Singer Sargent, Egon Schiele, Norman Rockwell, Lucian Freud, Steve Huston and Heather Horton. Also amazing illustrators like Kent Williams, Ray Caesar, Phil Hale, Sterling Hundley, James Jean and Joe Morse. I could go on.

q)How are the reactions on your work in general?

a)Very positive thankfully. Which helps to keep me going. However there are a few political pieces I’ve done which sparked some criticism from those who didn’t agree with my particular statement. Which is totally fine, in fact it’s kind of what I was after. I always find it interesting how people can get so worked up over the fact that someone doesn’t share the same opinion as him or herself.

q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?

a)Movies, reading, hanging out with friends. The usual.

q)Tell us about a recent dream you had.

a)Well, the last dream I can really remember was a crazy one (As most dreams tend to be I guess) I was at some outdoor function where there were many people in attendance. Nothing strange about that, until I realized everyone was walking on their hands… including myself! It was as if this were the natural way of doing things. The way in which all mankind have operated since the beginning of life on earth! It dawned on me within the dream that existence would be so much easier if we just used our feet to walk on instead of our hands. So I turned myself around and demonstrated to the crowd how much better and easier this was thinking I would be dubbed genius! But the crowd turned on me. It was as if what I was doing was seen as some heinous crime against humanity. The crowd became an angry mob! They started yelling at me throwing insults and garbage and anything else they could manage to toss my way despite balancing on sore swollen palms. Then I heard “KILL HIM!!” So I ran for it, I ran for my life! But not on tired arms but with strong fast legs! There was no way they could catch me! They should have listened to me.

q)What is freedom to you as an artist?

a)Being able to create art for a living is all the freedom I need.

q)Are there any particular works you’ve done that stand out as your favorites?

a)An Illustration I did not long ago called ‘What A Waste’ which was intended to be the cover for American Prospect magazine got pulled at the last minute due to it being too controversial. It makes a strong statement on an important issue, which I believe strongly in. Also my Johnny Cash portrait which has been very successful for me. It was also one of the very first painting done in what I call my monotone style, a style of illustrating which I’m becoming known for.

q)Last Books you read?

a)Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

q)Last records you bought?

a)Well the last actual vinyl record I bought was probably the Breakdance 2: Electric boogaloo sound track record in the 80’s. But the last album I purchased via itunes was, Blockhead: Downtown Science

q)Who are your favourite artists & your favourite galleries?

a)Steve Huston & Heather Horton.
The Eleanor Ettinger gallery

q)Which do you think make good art good? Originality, or style? And, why?

a)It makes no difference to me. Good art, as I see it, is something that moves you or inspires you. Something that makes you want to look it and remember it. It doesn’t matter what it’s born from; originality, style or whatever else.

q)Your contacts….E-mail…Links

a)You can view my online portfolio website at and reach me via email at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amazing images! Very memorable!

12:01 PM  

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