22 Sep 2012
My father, Christopher, is the eldest grandson of Sir WRF and both he and his sister Sarah enjoyed a close relationship with him. Following the divorce of my grandparents he became something of a father-figure for a while. Exposure to him and his home and studio in Kensington must have shown my father that you could make a very good living and be happy and stable as an artist. Which was all very lucky for me. Having always drawn and painted from as early as I can remember, when it became clear to me in my teens that art was the career that I'd follow my parents could not have been more generous in their encouragement and support.
After schooling in Canterbury, I had a stint at a tiny illustration school in Berkshire before randomly coming across a small postcard of one of Ted Jacob's paintings, and I went off to his art course in France 17 years ago when I was 20. Ted's rigorous training opened my eyes to observing what was around and in front of me, and what a colourful world it is. It also plonked me down in the middle of France for several years. There were few distractions.
I believe if you're an artist, no matter what your discipline, it's who you are and you create with whatever's at hand. After a decade and a half of moving around, living in different countries, dossing with friends, staying here and there, having a house of my own is a massive change. A world of my own and a huge blank canvas to decorate as I wish and discover my own taste.
I love scouring junk stores and boot-fairs for objects to both dress the place and feature in my pictures. It's like living in a painting and has made me become more sincere to myself and my own sensibilities. It's a lifelong project and will, I suspect, be my masterpiece. So much screams out to be painted and it's a challenge to systematically approach each subject. As you start one painting, you might take a break and en route to the kitchen be torn by the discovery of another more compelling scene as the sun streams through the windows and clips something in its path. One of the first rooms that immediately struck me for a project was the little bedroom (now bathroom) upstairs where the Directrice used to sleep when it was still a school. The walls were painted in arsenic in a time before they knew better and then overlaid by various wall papers, which when removed gave it a beautiful green patina. A large body of this show is based in this room.
I've been here just over two years. The summers are very sociable, with friends and models coming to stay for long periods lured by the prospect of relaxation, warm weather and wine. But the winters are long and solitary. I'm left alone in this huge house with the recent ghosts of those who have just been here. Rooms that echoed with laughter and voices and the drama of life are all of a sudden stilled and silent. I like it. It makes me reflect on the many lives that have been here over the years. Of the many children that went to school here, of the teachers, the maids that worked here, the squatters that set up camp here during the many years of its abandonment. Occasionally a local will tell me that they were a pupil here and recount some old tale or legend of someone who lived here. Some touching, some creepy. 'Stockings' and 'The Arsonist' are two paintings in the show, inspired by such tales.
France always felt familiar to me from WRF's paintings on our walls. We regularly holidayed in the Loire and the Dordogne and so I was very familiar with that kind of scene: the rustic walls and the buildings of character. I understand the affection William had for the exotic gypsy girl and the willowy peasant type. Regrettably, I can't say I've ever come across any of his scantily clad beauties casually going about their business in my village but I share his ideal and live in hope.
I enjoy his love of the exotic and the erotic and paintings which aren't ashamed to be beautiful or playful. My 'rat-catcher' series can be seen as a twist on some of Sir William Russell Flint's fanciful work, such as The Shrimper (an etching of a beautiful nymph seen from the back with a shrimping net). In mine, a strange, beautiful girl in her underwear is seen from the back triumphant after catching vermin. It's a piece of theatre, romanticised and like Sir William's scantily-clad, nubile washer women, if not impossible, at least highly unlikely. The oversized rifle in one picture is a wooden prop left here by a theatrical group that was allowed to use the school as one of its after lives.
I am the fourth generation of artists from the Russell Flint side of the family. None of Sir William's five grandchildren pursued art as a career, but three of his great grandchildren are now actively involved in the art world.
Alex Russell Flint, 2012
13 Mar 2017
For a number of years now I have been a long-distant admirer of Arcadia Contemporary gallery in Los Angeles. I was therefore delighted when late one Saturday evening in France I received an email from Steve Diamant (the gallery director/owner) saying that ...More
9 Sep 2016
Taking a break from my usual subject matter, I had the great honour of being asked to paint Field Marshall the Lord Walker for the Royal Anglian Regiment. After photos and preparatory sketches at his home in London, the portrait was then done...More
1 Dec 2015
I'm very proud to be part of group show 'The Art of Representation' with the LARA Atelier at the Mall Galleries this week. The exhibition runs from 1st-4th December. 'The Knife Thrower's Assistant' (60 x 80 cm Giclee Print on 308 gsm. Hanemuhle Matt Fine Art Paper. Signed and...More
23 Oct 2015
The Catto Gallery, London will be showing a new collection of my paintings in their beautiful Hampstead premises at 100 Heath street, NW3 1DP from 19th November until 6th December. A private preview and drinks will be held on Thursday 19th November from 6-9pm. For a...More
9 Apr 2015
Annie Sloan is perhaps the world's most respected expert in decorative paint, colours and techniques. She has written 26 internationally sold books, and transformed the world of furniture painting with the creation of her own brand of decorative paint, Chalk Paint®, in 1990. After purchasing my French home (l'Ancienne École) in...More
27 Aug 2014
I currently have the pleasure of showing a number of new pieces at Castle Fine Art's 'Summer Exhibition' at their very swanky gallery on Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. Six new paintings of mine will be at the exhibition that showcases the work of 17 artists and runs until 21st September....More
15 Apr 2014
As most of you will know, along with painting pictures another huge passion of mine is interior design, and how more and more these two loves are being combined. Since buying a former schoolhouse (l'Ancienne École) in the Poitou-Charente region of France in April 2010, a huge amount of my time...More
8 Jun 2013
After the success of my last show in October, I received many enquiries as to whether there were prints available of my work. I'm pleased to announce that there are now a couple of prints available, strictly limited to editions of 25, signed and numbered by yours truly. For those of you...More
17 Jan 2013
Many thanks to Didi Menendez, Publisher/Editor/Creator of Poets Artists magazine for featuring my work and along with the following: “Alex Russell Flint (b 1974) is a British artist who produces beautifully executed, soulful oil paintings. A 'Contemporary Realist' his pictures have been described as 'the perfect mix of...More
22 Sep 2012
The Horsebox Gallery in partnership with The Osborne Studio Gallery present my new exhibition 'Les femmes et l'ancienne école'. The exhibition opens 10th October and runs till 25th October at 2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU. Opening hours Monday-Friday 10-6pm & Saturday 11-5pm. Private preview & drinks reception will be...More
22 Sep 2012
My father, Christopher, is the eldest grandson of Sir WRF and both he and his sister Sarah enjoyed a close relationship with him. Following the divorce of my grandparents he became something of a father-figure for a while. Exposure to him and his...More
27 Nov 2011
If you are in or around London this December, pop into The Catto Gallery in Hampstead, where I'll be participating in a Christmas show in conjunction with The Horsebox Gallery. It's a beautiful space with a roaring fire and fun and friendly staff - the perfect place to come and escape...More
27 Nov 2011
For those outside of the confines of the M25, a selection of my still lifes, portraits and landscapes will be on display at Reuben Colley Fine Arts, in Birmingham this month. Please contact reubencolleyfinearts.co.uk for details.More
28 Aug 2011
My, how time flies. After breaking my hip in April when a ladder slipped out beneath me while decorating, life became pretty complicated for a while. A stay of 9 days in hospital was followed by a period in bed, then wheelchair, then zimmer frame, then crutches. It was like ageing in...More
15 Jan 2011
2010 was a momentous year for me. This may surprise those of you who subscribed to my 'News' page after a year of total silence, and I can only snivel, hang my head in shame and try to explain myself. After years of nomadic living I finally...More