What's the story Richard Storey?

Meet talented artist Richard Storey – part of the Saatchi team and creative behind the best and most disliked advertising campaigns of the year. In our exclusive interview he talks Matisse, modern art and daily inspirations…How did you get into life drawing and did you always have a flair for art?
I started at school, although we only had access to clothed models. It was only at Cambridge that I encountered the nude.

In many ways the naked model is much more genuine to draw. You don’t get hung up on the folds and creases of clothing, and there’s nowhere for mistakes to hide.

When people ask me ‘How long did it take you to draw that one?’ I always reply ‘A lifetime’, which is sort of true.

During your career with Maurice and Charles Saatchi, what has been the most exciting project you’ve worked on?

A year or so ago I helped devise an advertising campaign that encouraged people to visit the electrical department of their favourite department store, let the salesman advise them on the best TV for them and then go to Dixons.co.uk to buy it! It was cheeky, amusing and nothing but complementary to the department stores concerned, but they didn’t quite see it that way! It was rated one of the best adverts of the year, and one of the most disliked. That’s usually a good sign.

On a more serious note, I’m currently working on a movement called Be Clear on Cancer, which aims to save thousands of lives over the next 12 months, simply by encouraging people with possible cancer symptoms to go and see their GP straight away, rather than hide behind a fog of doubt, fear and superstition.

Your photography has an abstract quality - where and how do you find your inspiration?

I literally go out and look for it.

I go on walkabout looking at the fall of a shadows, the texture of the walls or the shapes before my eyes.  I often get funny looks from passers by as I patiently compose a shot of a drainpipe, window frame or whatever.

My art teacher used to say that we all see, but few of us take the time to look properly.

What's your most treasured piece?

‘Coiled’.  The original drawing hangs in our living room and my wife won’t be parted from it. It was just one of those pieces where everything came together into a harmonious whole.

COILED by Richard Storey Limited Edition Print On Paper

Who do you draw inspiration from?

Matisse famously once commented that he wanted his work to have ‘the effect of a comfortable chair on a tired businessman’, by which I don’t think he wanted to lull them comfortably to sleep, but stimulate, reward and please the eye. Qualities I miss in much current ‘modern’ art.

Which artist and photographer do you admire?

Hungarian photographer André Kertész produced two of my favourite  photographs of all time; ‘Mondrian’s Pipe’ (below) and ‘Mondrian’s Studio’. On the face of it, these are photographs of pipe and spectacles and a doorway, but great studies in composition, lighting and storytelling.  Both photographs tell you a lot about Mondrian’s meticulousness.

What is your favourite art space?

The Sackler Wing of the Royal Academy.  It is the most inspiring architectural conversion, creating drama out of the narrow gap between two buildings. If you go to see the Degas ‘Picturing Movement’ exhibition, take the elevator up to the Sackler, spend a moment admiring the quality of light bathing the statues up there and savour the walk back down.

What advice would you give anyone wanting to follow a similar career path to you?

Seeing is not the same thing as looking.

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Emily Peck, Editor

View all posts by Emily Peck, Editor