Ryan Hewett – Artist Interview


Ryan Hewett’s influences

Edith Schiele

Edith Schiele was an Austrian painter who was a protégé of Gustav Klimt. Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century and his works were strongly influenced by Klimt style; hence, his works expressed fierce intensity and raw sexuality. Schiele’s paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early example of Expressionism. His works between 1907 and 1909 contain strong similarities with those of Klimt, as well as influences from Art Nouveau In 1910, Schiele began experimenting with nudes and created a definitive style featuring emaciated, sickly-coloured figures, often with strong sexual overtones. These works are, as we know it his most important and well-known works. His later works became more complex and thematic as he started dealing with themes such as death and rebirth, although female nudes remained his main focus. His wife Edith was the model for most of his female figures; he depicts not only motherhood as a subject matter but expresses some of the female form as fuller and others as a deliberate illustration of a lifeless appearance.


George Dyer

Throughout Francis Bacon’s lifetime he had many lovers, but it was George Dyer who became the dominating presence in Bacon’s work and personal life. Dyer became a devoted life partner to Bacon and admired his intellect, power and self-confidence; something Dyer lacked as he drifted in and out of juvenile detention centres and jail. Bacon was instantly attracted to Dyer’s vulnerability and trusting nature but the relationship was a troubled one that was often fraught with danger. Both Dyer and Bacon were boarder line alcoholics, chain smokers and obsessive with their appearance but this did not alter Dyer’s unwavering dedication, protection and love for Bacon. It was only later in their affair that Bacon decided he would no longer provide Dyer the means to stay permanently drunk and abusive, however, Dyer reacted by becoming more needy and dependent. This behaviour ultimately destroyed their relationship and was a clear indication of Dyer’s tortured and insecure personality. The art critic Michael Peppiatt described Dyer as having the air of a man who could “land a decisive punch”. By 1971, Dyer only saw Bacon on the odd occasion and led a lonely existence. In October 1971, Dyer accompanied Bacon to Paris for the opening of his retrospective at the Grand Palais. It was an important exhibition of Bacon’s work thus far in his artistic career and was indeed one that Bacon was excited to show. However, on the eve of the exhibition opening Dyer overdosed leaving Bacon to attend without him. Bacon was deeply affected by the loss of Dyer and he accumulated a sense of guilt and self-blame for his companion that his later works depicted death, disaster and loss.


Marie-Thérèse Walter

Marie-Thérèse Walter was the French mistress of Spanish artist Pablo Picasso from 1927 to 1935. The affair started while Picasso was still with his first wife Russian ballerina Olga Khokhlova with whom he had a child. Picasso’s affair with Marie-Thérèse was kept a secret from his wife. Marie-Thérèse was seventeen when the affair started while Picasso was forty-five. In July 1930, Picasso bought a castle in the Normandie area, this became his full time studio and Marie-Thérèse became his muse and model for his paintings and sculptures. In 1935, Marie became pregnant with Picasso’s daughter Maya and they stayed with Picasso in the South of France before retreating to Le Tremblay-sur-Mauldre where Picasso would visit on the weekends. In 1935, Picasso fell in love and moved onto his next mistress Dora Maar, a surrealist photographer and model; Marie-Thérèse became extremely jealous and ended the affair immediately. She moved to Paris where Picasso supported her and their daughter financially. In many of Picasso’s paintings he depicts Walter as a young blonde with a bright fun personality. This is in stark contrast to the paintings of Dora Maar who he paints as a dark tortured “weeping” woman. On 20 October 1977, Marie-Thérèse committed suicide by hanging herself in the garage.


The Girl of the Year (Edie Sedgwick)

Edie Sedgwick was born into a wealthy American family, she was a heiress, socialite, actress, and fashion model best known for being Andy Warhol’s muse during the height of the Pop Art movement. Sedgwick met artist and avant-garde filmmaker Andy Warhol at a dinner party in Manhattan. Warhol immediately drawn to Sedgwick’s beauty and talent started filming short movies in his studio (The Factory) he gave Sedgwick small cameo appearances in several films generating huge interest and success. In 1965, she became known to the world as “The Girl of the Year” after starring in most of Warhol’s short films. Warhol’s films were not commercially successful and rarely seen outside The Factory circle and underground film theaters, but Sedgwick became popular overnight and her fame grew amongst the New York elite. Mainstream media began reporting on her appearances in Warhol’s films and her unusual fashion sense became the talk of the town. Sedgwick developed a “look” that had never been seen before: black leotards, mini dresses, large chandelier earrings and short silver hair. Sedgwick was constantly photographed with Warhol at various social outings and he claimed her as his “superstar”. After an argument with Warhol in the late 60s about money, Sedgwick left Warhol and The Factory never to return. She began living in the Chelsea Hotel and became close friends with Bob Dylan. She tried to forge on with her acting career but her mental state and other influences impeded this from happening. After a tumultuous life with drug and alcohol abuse and years spent in psychiatric wards, Sedgwick died of a drug overdose on November 15, 1971 and was buried in California.

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