Andrew Reid Wildman’s interview
A voice of an artist and a new author who deserves discovery.
Hi Andrew and thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your background and your connection with this unspoilt countryside, the beautiful towns of East Yorkshire and the vibrant heritage of Hull, City of Culture.
Hi. Well, I am a man who recently seems to have found his voice! I write, and I paint, and I also photograph, and I find this a great way to express myself and to express how I feel about my home county, the East Riding of Yorkshire. My connection with East Yorkshire? Well I was born here. In Beverley. But the grit in the oyster is that I was not able to grow up here, and my childhood rapidly became a kind of exile, and this colours all my creativity. My earliest memories are of Yorkshire, and they are sweet memories, but later I remember the pain of being taken abroad and missing my roots. I remember having my accent “corrected” and people not understanding my longing for those lost places.
What prompted you to start writing?
Initially I just wanted to tell my story. Later I branched out into short stories. When I write I want to laugh, or to cry.
When writing what themes do you feel passionate about?
I love writing about Beverley and Hull. It makes those places and memories real to me. I love creating characters, usually embodying those traits I cannot stand! I find it funny and I love sending up such people. My big themes are not belonging, snobbery, exile, and pathos.
What is Spicy Green Ginger about?
It is hard to say as each story is so very different. The only thing all stories have in common is their location. The location is primary in the book. And in almost each story I pour in my feelings of deracination, the wish to return home, whatever that might mean for the character in question.
Give us an insight into your characters.
I suppose they are all outsiders, all a bit misunderstood. Some are horrific snobs, some tragic, some a bit more loveable. They invariably get into a jam of some sort or other.
As a new author, how many of your preconceived notions about writing come true? How many have fizzled into thin air?
I think selling books is much harder than I thought. It is more about marketing and foot work than I imagined. But even so I am going to keep writing for as long as I have something to say.
You are lost at sea and find an island refuge. Miraculously your three favorite books are there. What are they and why those?
I love, love, love Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City. I read them first as a young man and fell in love with them, with their sense of liberation and life and love, and their San Franciscan location. Similar, is the Edinburgh writer Alex McCall Smith, whose Sunday Philosophy Club is centred around a very likeable woman, a free spirit, a thinker, and a daughter of Edinburgh, the city my parents originally came from. I love the Miss Read series of books, each one anchored in a fictitious Cotswold village. I love the gentle, Englishness of the series. When I lived in Israel I missed this so much I could not bear to read them.
What other types of artistic talents do you have?
I am a keen photographer. I am almost an excellent teacher, an accomplished linguist, and a good cook.
Tell us a bit about your paintings and your future exhibitions.(say something about the ones in Hull, the actual one in Loughton.
I had an exhibition at Loughton Arts Centre in Essex in February which has just finished, and this was my second exhibition there. Then in the spring I am having a further two exhibitions, both in Hull, one at the Centre for Community Arts, and one at the PAVE bar. Both will feature works that depict the local area. My paintings are unique. I seldom paint people, but I love painting the buildings that remind me of home, and I do so using much more vivid colours than the ones I can actually see, brightening the skies to a deep blue and using layer upon layer of texture. Many of my art works use collage, and all the works have some symbolism, such as loneliness, optimism, or abandonment.
And now, going back to writing, do you have any work in progress or future projects?
Yes, I have now written enough short stories to compile the second volume of Spicy Green Ginger with a working title of Red Hot Green Ginger.
Any tips on what to do and what not to do when writing?
I think it is important to have fun, and to, and I don’t want to sound mad here, but listen to the voices in your head, to the dialogue of the characters. I like to read each sentence back to myself slowly and then return to it the following day to see if has matured or does not sit well.
When it comes to painting are you a perfectionist?
Yes, I won’t stop until I am happy with it. I do not aim for complete realism or what have you, but I must be happy with it. If I am happy, it is perfect.
Is that how you find easier to express yourself? I mean do you think art, any kind of art is a form of relaxation and express your feelings?
I am not sure how many people can relate to this experience, there was no one, no one at all, in whom you could confide. Then there was also the experience of internally censoring everything you said to people, in case they saw too much of the real self. Those habits become second nature, and thus expression is a big issue to me. It is also why I almost never do paid commissions, and also why I choose to publish all my books independently. I have to be free to express myself my way. When I was growing up, exiled from my Yorkshire home, no one understood how I felt about the place, and I was not in touch with it. Now I am no longer shackled by that sense of self-censorship. It is quite exhilarating not to care too much what others think of my fascinations, my quirks and longings. Is my art relaxation? No, not really. It is quite exhausting, but it releases feelings of tension, of grief, of longing, and brings relief from those powerful emotions. I do love painting, and my favourite time is wandering around an art supplies shop, handling the paints and canvases and thinking how to use them. Like a cook in a foreign market!
Thank you for being with us today and let us know who are you and what are your talents. I wish you good luck and lots of fans.
‘’Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks’’
~ Plutarch ~
In our case is exactly what Andrew Reid Wildman does, and he is doing so well. It’s obvious that he has something to say.