Wildlife artists all over the world aspire to be as good as the master of this popular genre – Pip McGarry. And none more so than Pip’s daughter Alex, whose emergence as a young, professional artist is stirring up some serious excitement.
Aged just, 33 Alex has already proclaimed that she has every intention of being as famous and as good as her Dad – or better. We love a girl that’s going places – and this young lady is doing just that. Prior to her forthcoming exhibition at Fizz this April, we caught up with her in her studio and asked a few questions of this rising star.
What’s it like following in the footsteps of your dad? What’s the best advice he’s given you?
Dad is such a great inspiration and always has been. We have a great relationship and a mutual appreciation of fine art. I think the best advice he has given me is to consistently work hard and learn my business from the ground up.
Can you remember when you first picked up a paint brush?
At nine years old, I begged my dad to set me up with some oil paints and brushes so I could be a ‘proper artist’. He made me a little easel and gave me brushes and paints… I was off! I still have that very first oil painting at home… a painting of a baby deer.
Did it ever cross your mind to do anything other than be an artist?
When I was young, I briefly wanted to be a vet. It was a short-lived dream. I did work experience at the local vet practice and fainted at the sight of a poorly puppy so was promptly sent home!
What is your favourite animal to paint and why?
At the moment it has to be hares; I love their big glassy eyes, their strength, power and unclassic beauty. There’s definitely something about them that makes me want to put brush to canvas time and time again.
Will it always be wildlife?
Yes! Wildlife and animals (especially the wildlife we have right here on our doorstep and all around us) is really important to me. For a long time, I tried to avoid painting wildlife as I didn’t want to be perceived as just ‘copying’ Dad. I painted landscapes for a few years but as soon as I made the transition to painting wildlife, I knew I was on the right path… it all just clicked into place.
You are tipped to be hugely successful as an artist – is that pressure a good thing for you? How do you deal with it?
It is just hugely exciting! I thrive on pressure, so for me it is definitely a good thing. It is the most amazing feeling to have someone choose one of your paintings for their home and know they will be enjoying it day in, day out.
What are your dreams for the next 10 years?
It’s really important to me as an artist not to be content or stagnate. I want to ensure that my paintings continually evolve. My ambitions for the next 10 years are simple really… to be a household name and recognised for my paintings of animals. I would also love to use my art in some way to do more for the conservation and welfare of animals.
If you were an oil paint what colour would you be and why?!
It’s so hard to answer that! Can I be all of them? I love discovering new colours, whether it’s a brand new tube of oil paint or a new colour mixed on the palette. It’s why I will always be a painter… it’s all about the colours!