Andy Hosegood is a pinup painter, taking inspiration from Elvgren, Ekman and Frush, whilst successfully capturing their 40’s and 50’s illustrations’ cheeky and glamorous ladies. Having only studied his Foundation year at art college (‘many moons ago’, his words not mine) he then went on to continue his studies alone. That’s right, Andy Hosegood is pretty much self taught, which only goes to make his work appear even more impressive! Four years into painting in the pinup style, I wanted to find out more about Andy Hosegood.
What first attracted you to pinup art?
Airfix kits!!!! No, really! When I was about ten, I had a model kit building phase, and while researching paint schemes, I first encountered bomber nose art. I thought the pin up ladies were much more interesting than the planes! Maybe it’s an age thing, I’m not sure, but growing up in the late 70’s and early 80’s, I remember there being a lot more older films and TV programmes being shown. There was obviously stuff from the 50’s, and it always struck me just how lovely and effortlessly stylish the ladies were. Not just film actors and actresses, but the whole mid century design and style appealed to me, due in part to the fact that there were a lot of household items still left over from the 50’s in our house. I was born 13 years after the decade ended, which isn’t really a huge time span!
To me the pin up art from the 40’s and 50’s encapsulates the feeling of those two decades; one of hope for a better future I guess, which is a splendid reason in my book to like any art. The pictures are always cheerful, yes they are cheeky too, but it’s nothing too risque! And God knows in this day and age, people need cheering!
Got to be honest though, although I was aware of pinup, I didn’t really know about pinup art as a genre until I stumbled across a Vargas book at art college. I’m not really a huge fan of his work, although he was undoubtedly brilliant, but the book had a few Elvgren pieces which certainly turned my head! To me he is the master of the genre, not just for what he painted, but how he did it. He had this genius ability to be pretty loose in his rendering, yet the pictures have so much detail. I can only dream of being that talented, I’m a very ‘tight’ painter, and tend to get hung up over silly little things!
How do you come up with a concept to paint? They are all so unique!
Daydreaming during the day job usually! Quite a few times I’ll try and reference a film or a book I like, and ‘pinup-ize’ a character if the character isn’t pinuppy. There have been a few paintings like that, one of Stephanie Jay as a pinup Indiana Jones for instance. Sometimes I’ll try and just ‘do’ a traditional pinup, but I won’t slavishly copy an Elvgren or such. And other times it can be quite collaborative, with the model coming up with some ace idea’s!
When you first meet a model, do you instantly think of a scene for them?
Some of the best idea’s come from knowing a bit about the model and their likes and dislikes. It can give you a springboard for a good idea. Take for instance a picture I painted this year of Ria Fend. Ria loves horror films, and I like the old Hammer Horror films, so it seemed quite a natural progression to put the two together and have Ria as a vampy vampiress!
What if you could paint one of the old pinups, who would you paint?
Only one?! Bah!!! Hmm, that’s quite a difficult question, let me think….. erm, can I give you a choice of three please? Okay, for sophisticated sexy allure, Lana Turner. For having a lovely smile and a sweet everyday charm – oh, and being Princess Leia’s mum, I’d choose Debbie Reynolds. Then for being the ultimate pinup, that people still try and emulate today, Bettie Page!
How about painting a modern lady, does Kim Karsashian not appeal? 😉
It wouldn’t be Kim Kardashian I’m afraid!! In the world of entertainment, it would without a doubt be the actress Hayley Atwell. She’s been in lots of films and plays, but I think at the moment she is best known for playing Captain America’s love interest, Peggy Carter. If you love vintage style, get the DVD of ‘Agent Carter’, you’ll love her 40’s outfits!
So how much work really goes into the process?
Once the idea has been discussed with the model, I then arrange a little photoshoot. If there is something that would help the picture in any way, I’ll have a go at making it. I’ve still got a lifesize snowman in the garage! So I’ll snap away at the shoot, and there are usually a few pictures that are good enough to work from. I’m not a photographer by any means, but I do enjoy it! There is a school of thought that says it is detrimental to your progress as an artist to work from photo’s, but let’s be practical, someone couldn’t really hold a pin up pose for about two and a half hours, so photo’s are the way to go!
Then it’s just the matter of painting the picture! This usually takes about two weeks. The paintings are on wood panels as opposed to the more traditional canvas. I’m not really too keen on canvas, it’s too springy!
Being oil paintings, I then have to wait a year for the darn things to dry…….
Do you use any other mediums or styles?
I do sometimes use acrylic paint, but I don’t get on with it too well. It’s fantastic because it dries so quickly, but it’s a pain because it dries so quickly! I’ll sometimes try my hand at a cartoony pin up style which can be fun, just for a change!
I hear you have a calendar coming out again this year?
Ah, the calendar! The sum of my years work! It can be ordered via my little online shop. It’s only £10 plus p&p!! If people want to message me, they are more than welcome to contact me through my Facebook page. Plus although I very rarely advertise the fact, some of the original paintings are indeed up for sale (again, please get in touch through FB).
Many thanks to Andy for being interviewed, I really enjoyed hearing all about the artistic process. I look forward to seeing the next painting