Stephen Hanson – I have always loved art and knew from an early age that I wanted to become an artist. I’m inspired by so many different artists but back then it was the likes of Arthur Rackham, Brian Froud, Alan Lee, Chuck Close and Frank Frazetta. I was particularly drawn to fantasy and realism and loved the imagination and sense of realism they brought to their work.
I left Batley Art College with a distinction in graphic design and illustration and the first job I took was with a greeting card company. Films however were my passion, particularly ones with special effects like Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad movies. They were a huge influence on me and opened my eyes to the possibility of careers in films. I learned everything I could about how they were made and about the artists behind the magic.
I spent all my spare time developing my portfolio and after a couple of years started work at Cosgrove Hall Productions in Manchester. For four years I worked as a visual development artist on projects such as The BFG, Dangermouse and Count Duckula. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work on films such as Balto, The Corpse Bride, Despicable Me and Flushed Away, Arthur Christmas and Adventures with Pirates. In addition to this, I have worked on various TV commercials and illustrated several children’s books including Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven and Kes Gray’s Nelly the Monster Sitter as well as writing and illustrating Froobie Pink and the Night Noises.
A few years ago I was invited to exhibit some of my personal work at Sky Blue Gallery in Bristol, the event was very successful but more importantly it opened my eyes to the possibilities in fine art publishing. My wife Lisa and I set up IN THE RED PRESS with the sole purpose of bringing my digital paintings to the world of galleries and to take control of both what I paint and to ensure the best quality we can achieve in the final prints.
I still love the world of animation and books and take on freelance work from time to time, but the fine art world offers up a freedom for my personal work which I find really exciting. Stephen Hanson