Working and living in London really does guarantee that you are going to come across some interesting people, especially creative ones! A chap whom happened to be met through the creative talk in a coffee house is Brian Appleby. Unfortunately for him he was met with my chatter when it was found that he was an artist. Questions just have to be asked, right?

Having briefly spoken to him whilst he was sipping a coffee, it was needed to find out a little more about him, his artwork and why he is located in London. With a cheeky flick through his website an interview was definitely in order. So… let’s find out about Brian Appleby.

Nicola Manuel: Hello again. Please give an introduction as to who you are, what you do and why it is in London.

Brian Appleby: I’m an artist currently working with painting. I’m at the start of my career and it is London where I feel I need to be right now, with my studio located here. I love the city, it’s so diverse opening up so many opportunities.

A Return to Innocence.
A Return to Innocence.

NM: Your paintings clearly have a defiant depth to them. What are the real meanings behind the pieces you create and how do you proceed in the making of them?

BA: I’m glad you noticed. Art is a place I process and channel my thoughts and feelings about life. If I feel strongly about something, I try to put that into my work. Often it’s about relationships; personal ones. I’m looking at politics and world affairs more now. I consider that a relationship too.

I want to reach people with my work and that usually takes a degree of attracting attention. I like to make work that contains emotion.

I aimed to make this work as strong as possible and hope it brings out feelings in others.

I don’t have a fixed technique when it comes to making art but I do create goals. I’m not saying I always get there, but I always want to do the best that I can and usually want images to be powerful and authentic whilst satisfying the eye in some way. I research and I pay attention to composition, colour and applying techniques well. I listen to a lot of music from pop, classical, jazz and rap, especially when I’m working and look at what musicians are doing for ideas. At the moment I sketch throughout the process too, which helps me find the next step. If I think a particular technique will make a better picture I try to learn it in that moment. I concentrate and try to keep going until I’ve got something I’m satisfied enough with. Usually the art takes care of the rest if I stay open to ideas. I usually feel like I’m winging it in the fog, working hard and praying for a good outcome until an image is complete. I’m more comfortable with that uncertainty now because I’ve seen it work out a few times.


Blinded by the light MASTER for web with ochre change.
Blinded by the light MASTER for web with ochre change.

NM: What do you want your paintings to say about you? In particular looking at your work titled ‘My Evolution’?

BA: I like to be successful at what I do and I work hard. It’s nice if anyone sees talent.

I’ve always liked to attract attention and have done that in some good and some very bad ways, but it’s a reason I paint. I’d like people see good things for the future of my work as for me this really is just the beginning.

I want to reach people and I know I want to live a life I’m really satisfied with. Self-expression and doing the things I really want to do are key to that. I believe we owe it to life to give our best to doing what we really want to do.

Most of my life is about growth and I think that is about moving from a place of fear to an awareness that’s more loving and empowered (less limited). That’s what the evolution thing is about actually, it relates to the work I do on myself. I feel a strong passion toward bettering my life and making a positive difference in the world. It’s important to me that I wake up and see what’s really going on around me. I think we’re living in challenging times as the world is going through a lot of changes. You only have to look around you or see the news to realise how much help is needed.

I think we all care tremendously but have to work to realise that because it is not common thinking.

In many ways my art making is about clearing the blocks to that. My art and the form it takes is secondary to this but it is a place I can put my feelings so I don’t numb-out. I’m insanely grateful to have it.

Hells heat 

NM: If you were to name your greatest influence of all time whom would it be and why?

BA: It would have to be my father. He was amongst the first to be given a scholarship to the Royal College of Art. There was a lot of creativity in the house when I was growing up; painting, sculpture, stories, plays and films. And he was having a lot of exhibitions at that time. I absorbed a lot. There would be a lot of passionate debates amongst him and his friends on what made good art. I was and continue to think about those sort of things a lot.


NM: If you were to describe your work in three words they would be…

BA: Love and Fear, because at the core my work is about one or the other and the journey between the two.

NM: If you were to showcase your artwork in any location across the world, where would it be and why?

BA: I love the movies and think I’d love Hollywood so I’d like to show in L.A most at the moment. I haven’t been there. It’s a place where I feel like I’d have to show up, no excuses for not shining.


NM: How important is the consistency in your work, if at all?

BA: I like to stay consistent to various principles such as doing my best and being true to myself. I like my images to have a depth of emotion whilst being exciting in some way, but that’s probably where consistency ends. I’m not interested in staying safe in a way that isn’t challenging me to grow in life or in my art, so I try to avoid repeating myself.

The Narcissist
The Narcissist

NM: What would you say to artists who are struggling with finding their own style?

BA: It’s humbling that you should ask. I feel like I’m still finding my own style actually. At least I’m always looking to find ways to expand and experience more. Each time I start a piece it feels like the beginning and whilst I’m clarifying a sort of road map I never actually know what the end result is going to be. I think if you’re honest about what you like and want, it’s easier to set goals for your work and career and that’s empowering. I’d also say do what you feel excited or strongly about and try to be authentic or true to yourself. Open up to what moves and inspires you and what you really want to achieve in the world. It seems to me from talking to people that there’s a lot of confusion generally about what selling out is. In my experience there can be just a much in authenticity in being too serious or mysterious, I know I can hide behind that. I think if you work really hard, do your best and don’t give up with those things in mind you’ll produce something that is your style for that time. Or you’ll learn all you need to go on with. Don’t let yourself down.


Time for those quick round questions to round this lovely interview off…

If I were to say these following words to you you’d say which word in response?

Empowering? Love

Creativity? Passionate

London? Awesome

Paintbrush? Chisel

Contemporary? Art

“I always want to do the best that I can and usually want images to be powerful and authentic whilst satisfying the eye in some way.”

Brian Appleby, your work certainly  is authentic. Currently in print with the help of Jealous Gallery, London, Brian’s prints are becoming well known objects of beauty. For more information on Brian visit his website or follow him on Twitter.


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