Talking Art Out Loud


A few days back I attended Jenny Saville’s talk ‘Beyond the Human Body’ hosted by Chatsworth as part of their Art Out Loud festival. The conversation focused on her practice, influences and methodology, from her Young British Artist days to her current work – followed by an insightful Q&A session. The interview was excellently led by Nicholas Cullinan.

It was so refreshing to hear the meaning behind the artworks and the artist’s methodology told by the artist themselves rather than art academics or auctioneers. It provided a more ‘honest’ and inspiring ‘behind the scenes’ glimpse – where the value of visiting artist talks and listening to first hand experiences became evident. Whether it be using broken tiles from the floor of a rented Italian Villa to scrape the paint across the canvas (something I would love to try), paying the butchers to leave a rotten carcass out to develop studies, or spending time researching in the gruesome and grizzly depths of the operating theatre.

With Saville’s brilliant work displayed digitally on a large screen, the only thing missing was to wheel out a canvas for her to paint on (as the final question from the q&a suggested).

The talk certainly inspired me to paint more than I am doing and cemented my opinion that figurative painting is the most interesting and engaging type of art out there. My bias is all but clear.

It was also great to talk to the Duke after the talk about Chatsworth’s engagement with the arts and their keen interest in art education (the purpose behind the events). Discussing why, as a fine art student, it’s so important to meet practitioners and art industry professionals. And as the owner of an extensive art collection, including a Rembrandt painting, it’s no surprise the Duke knows the art scene well.

As a bonus, Sotheby’s beyond limits sculpture exhibition was on display around the grounds – meaning I finally got to see a work by Fernando Botero – arguably the funniest living artist. Looking forward to what next year’s edition of Art Out Loud brings  🙂


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