The politically driven, enigmatic Red Saunders reveals his top inspirational icons shaping his amazing work. Currently reproducing historic greats in a classic style.
Please introduce yourself.
I am Red Saunders, based in Hackney, London. I work with photographic and film-based mediums, and I combine my practice with cultural, musical and political activism. I am represented by The Cynthia Corbett Gallery.
What are you showing us today?
The image above is of Thomas Paine, Excise officer and revolutionary pamphleteer in 1772. It is part of my series ‘Hidden’, which re-imagines moments in the long struggle of working people for democracy and social justice. The aim of the project is to reproduce important historic scenes involving the dissenters, revolutionaries, radicals and non-conformists who have so often been hidden from history.
What inspires you?
Radical History, Russian constructivism, Rodchenco, Stepanov, American Pop Art, Pollock, Warhol, the films of Eisenstein, Pontecorvo, Michael Powel, Scorsese, Ken Loach, Akira Kurosawa just to name a few. Some painters that inspire me are Rembrandt, Vermeer, the Dutch deft school of still life, Valecquith, Derby, Max Ernst, Otto Dix, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, the best of the agit proper’s John Hertfield, Peter Kennard. Photographers that influence me are the tableaux greats of the 19th century Henry Peach Robinson, then Stieglitz, Weggie, Dorothea Lang, Eve Arnold, Irving Penn, Guy Bourdin, Diane Arbus, Don McCullin and Oscar Rejlander.
I also find inspiration in the writings of John Berger on art and culture, which are superb. Lastly, I was in a underground theatre group CAST for a decade in the 60’s and 70’s, and that had a huge influence on my work in visual arts.
Do you have any upcoming events?
I’ll be in The Royal Academy of Arts summer show until the end of August. You can see more details and how to attend here. I was also just recently in the Affordable Art Fair and Car Art Boot Fair at Brick Lane.