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An interview with the artist Rebecca Grant

November 9, 2015

ArtsPainting | by Harry Seymour


Rebecca Grant is a woman in high demand. She’s currently starring in the hit play “Dinner with Saddam” at the Menier Chocolate Factory and I caught up with her coming off the stage. Rebecca is a singer, dancer, and actress, but she is more than just a triple threat. She is bursting to the seams with visible talent and an energy that makes her infectious to be around.

When Rebecca isn’t serenading others with her velvety voice at various performances or captivating audiences with her acting on the stage and in film, she’s finding the time to follow her passion as an artist. Amongst other commitments, Rebecca has an upcoming art exhibition in London this month.

Rebecca was raised in Nottingham, but comes from a mixed Filipino and Franco-British upbringing. She started painting and drawing at the age of 5. Being self-taught, she came into her own artistic style by learning techniques through observation and fine-tuning her eye to notice every detail. She followed the influence of her grandfather, Raymond de Longueuil, who was a renowned artist. Rebecca pulled inspiration from his artwork, which is full of vigour, bold brushstrokes, and joyous colours – all of these traits have evidently been passed on to her. Even though she dedicated her life to performing arts, Rebecca has always made time for her artwork, even if that meant doing watercolours in her car between matinee and evening performances.

Shakalaka Baby Fountains, from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Bombay Dreams", by Rebecca Grant. 30 x 50 cm. Image courtesy of Rebecca Grant.
Shakalaka Baby Fountains, from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Bombay Dreams”, by Rebecca Grant. 30 x 50 cm. Image courtesy of Rebecca Grant.

She favours the imperfections that give depth and character to her artwork, which is one of the qualities that makes Rebecca’s pieces distinctly stand out. A parallel can be drawn between Rebecca’s acting background and her artwork. Numerous actors and individuals that she’s worked with during her appearances on the West End and in television and film have had an influence on her pieces, often appearing in the artwork itself.

Throughout the years, Rebecca has received countless awards and recognitions for her work, including being hosted by the Prince’s Trust and HRH the Prince of Wales, having her artwork displayed at Hampton Court Palace, and holding a solo exhibition sponsored by Andrew Lloyd Webber at the Philippine Embassy in London.

The artist, Rebecca Grant.
The artist, Rebecca Grant.

Her forthcoming collection, however, is different from her past portrait-style exhibitions. Rebecca has opted for more natural scenes in her artwork, such as landscapes. She has captured the true essence of the idyllic English countryside, clearly taking incentive from the beauty of the Riverside Gallery’s location in Barnes. Rebecca claims that this exhibition will include “more of the girl at home, the wholesome wife, the homemaker point of view instead of the actress.” This creative soul is definitely one to follow.

Candid magazine recently caught up with Rebecca to ask her about her upcoming show.

Candid Magazine: How do you balance your various current projects?

Rebecca Grant: I live between London and my seaside home in Norfolk. I try to economize my time and learn not to be a perfectionist when it is unnecessary.

CM: What prompted your interest in the arts?

RG: I had very supportive parents, they introduced me to the masters such Monet and Degas at an early age and had made me paint studies of their work. It was like entering another world and I loved the response of how it made people feel.

From top left to top right: "B-b-b-billiy Bibbit" - From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, signed by actor Paul Ready on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; "B-b-b-billiy Bibbit" - From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, signed by actor Paul Ready on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; "Williams" - From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, signed by actor Felix Dexter on reverse, 30 x 40 cm;  "Sandra" - From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, signed by actor Catherine Jakeways on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; "Candy Starr" - From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, signed by actor Lizzy Roper on reverse, 30 x 40 cm.
From top left to top right: “B-b-b-billiy Bibbit” – From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed by actor Paul Ready on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; “B-b-b-billiy Bibbit” – From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed by actor Paul Ready on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; “Williams” – From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed by actor Felix Dexter on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; “Sandra” – From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed by actor Catherine Jakeways on reverse, 30 x 40 cm; “Candy Starr” – From West End version of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, signed by actor Lizzy Roper on reverse, 30 x 40 cm. Image courtesy of Rebecca Grant.

CM: Do you ever plan your artwork?

RG: I map out a painting, whether it be oil or acrylic, with charcoal. I then use whatever materials I feel best communicates with my idea. Whether painting or drawing, I accept my mistakes. Favouring the imperfections that give depth and character to my work.

CM: Where does your inspiration come from?

RG: My grandfather Raymond de Longueuil was a renowned artist in the South of France. Even though we met just a handful of times we had a strong understanding of each other. I love his work, which is full of vigour, bold brushstrokes, and joyous colours.

CM: How do you maintain creative inspiration?

RG: It can be tough. The key to starting is to just ‘start.’ It’s a process; you have to go through until you come out the other end where you find yourself painting faster and more enthusiastically. I feel very lucky to live in one of the greatest cities in the world where I can hop on a train and see some of the great artists work at no cost. It infuses me with motivation and limitless opportunity when I go home a face a blank canvas.

CM: Are there parallels in your painting style and your acting?

RG: I believe it is important for art to depict reality. That is what I endeavor to do with my work – to provide a window to the world which gives people an actors eye view. For a lot of my previous work I’ve tried to concentrate on what I know best, the theatre, capturing scenes from productions I have taken part in along with candid portrayals of some of the artists I have appeared with.

CM: Can you tell us more about your exhibition?

RG: My upcoming collection is very different from any of my past work. I opted for more natural scenes, such as landscapes and everyday items.

By Shelby Welinder

Rebecca will debut limited edition prints along with her most recent work at the Riverside Gallery in London from 18 November – 5 December 2015.