By Javier Melian, Chrom-Art.org co-founder
This time of the year, we all feel prone to believe that certain things are ever closer to reality. Halloween is days away, and Christmas is around the corner too. The new Star Wars movie coming soon is recalling childhood memories, and the recreations of Back to the Future's 'could have beens' are filling social media.
I would like to introduce to you a character that has quickly captured many people's hearts and imaginations. Like Geppetto made Pinnochio, artist Roy Meats has created this warm and wonderful character, and set him on a path of wondrous adventures.
Roy Meats precise and meticulous work manages to create a unique atmosphere in his paintings which frequently recall his deeply admired Jack Vettriano. Meats carefully overlays the components to each painting until it is completed and finally granted a tittle. His paintings ooze passion, humour and a fascination for storytelling. We are sure his work, and Frank, will find the way to your heart too.
Roy was born in Nottingham the youngest of three, son of a long distance lorry driver and a lace maker. His father’s love for paintings of galleon ships was a strong influence for him to start drawing and painting from an early age. He started exhibiting, even selling, at school.
The family moved and settled in the market town of Atherstone, where a whole new world opened up for Roy as nature and wildlife was at his doorstep. All of his spare time was now spent walking the fields and hedgerows collecting and studying nature. His first media were pencils and water colours, extending into pen and ink, oils and acrylics then onto enamels.
Left school for an apprenticeship in painting and decorating, including the studying of colour and design as well as different specialist finishes, and developed a flair for sign-writing which eventually became a steady source of income. He had this first solo exhibition at the time.
Roy completed the apprenticeship and set up his own sign-writing company in 1983. He took on work from for all the different breweries up and down the county, and painted their pictorial signs for the pubs. There was a big demand for hand painted signs. He was also selling paintings and doing commission work. He designed and produced fire screens, clocks and painted furniture sold mostly at county fairs but also at exhibitions with great success, and frequently sold out.
With the demise of the brewing industry, the demand for signs and sign writing declined and Roy took a new direction into painting murals and site specific works commissioned throughout England and Europe.
For the last few years Roy has created a scarecrow called ‘Frank’, who has become a local celebrity. Frank has evolved from a scarecrow in a field to a travelling scarecrow with many talents.
Tell us about Frank
Frank is a scarecrow from Gloucester. He was well looked after for years and was a happy scarecrow.
Each winter he was bought in from the cold; re-stuffed; new clothes and then put back out in the spring.
This went on for years then stopped. He was never bought in, the farm was being neglected all because the farmer had become old and ill. He was unable to look after the farm and had no one to help him.
The farm became rundown and fields were unploughed and full of weeds.
‘There was no use for a scarecrow.’
Eventually Frank was taken from the field and shoved up against an old disused barn. He stayed here for years.
One day a van arrived at the farm. Frank and all of the farmers’ belongings were put in the van. The van drove for hours. Eventually when it did stop Frank and the farmer were somewhere on the coast.
The farm had been sold and the farmer had retired to the seaside. He had become just too old to look after the farm.
The farmer had always been a busy man and he could not get used to just doing nothing day in and day out. He decided to become a deckchair seller and for a novelty would use Frank to advertise his deck chairs.
Frank was happy again he now had a purpose.
And this is where Frank’s story begins…
Are you self taught or art school?
Self-taught although would spend many hours watching my dad paint Galleon Ships. Would always search for ways to make texture layers, spending time at school to teach mates how to use
watercolours. Chose not to go to college or uni 'Wanted things to be my way'.
If you could own one work of art what would it be?
Dance me to the end of Love - Jack Vettriano
this painting shows how powerful a simple image can be. The dancing couple are totally oblivious of the surroundings: the cold, the weather and are immersed in their own world and their love!
How would you describe your style?
Old school with a twist - I love the detail in Old masters and try to add as much detail as possible, but also try to bring out the story depicted in the title
What are your favourite places to view art?
Books - I read book, catalogues, comic and search charity shops looking for all type of art graphic books of old masters.
Who are your favourite artists?
Jack Vettriano - Passion from his pictures. Originally my first artist I loved was Sarah Moon, each of her portraits of different ladies gave me a different character, mood, personality and humour. Jack Vettriano has taken her place. the passion that exudes from his paintings; gives you an almost guilty feeling.
Alexander Miller sense of fun. His gadgies portray a timeless love for his hometown and surrounding places the shape the people he paints
What or who inspires your art?
Music - has always given me the inspiration either a name of a song or a line from it gives me the idea and then I elaborate the images. All music from opera to punk.
Where’s your studio and what’s it like?
At home - in a small cluttered studio. I am surrounded by books and newspaper cuttings. I also have my music, radio, cd's, tapes and downloaded files.
To find out more about Frank and Roy Meats work, please visit www.roymeatsart.co.uk