Francis Bacon• Irish born British painter (28 October 1909 – 28 April 1992)• figurative painter known for his bold, austere, graphic and emotionally raw imagery• Many of Bacons paintings depict isolated figures, often framed by geometric constructions, and rendered in smeared, violent colours• His paintings often suggest anger, horror, and degradation
What is the motivation for your work?• I paint to excite myself, and make something for myself.
It is said you use photographs and imagery as sources for your works, how does this influence what you do?• Images help me find and realize ideas. I look at hundreds of very different, contrasting images and I pinch details from them, rather like people who eat from other peoples plates.
So you could say in a sense you are like a magpie?• Yes you could say that. My work becomes a chain of ideas created by the many images that I look at and which I have registered, often on contrasting subjects.
What generates your defaced, distorted figures and imagery?• This defacing, came out of desire to paint toward an image. I deformed and reformed the human body because modern society wants a sensation without conveyance.
Aside from brushes and paints, do youuse any other instruments or methods in your work?• I use all sorts of things to work with: old brooms, old sweaters, and all kinds of peculiar tools and materials...
Do you sketch out your pictures before you paint?• No I never work from a sketch, I just apply paint straight onto un-primed canvas. I like the way the paint soaks into the material, making it impossible to erase once applied. This a method I have stuck with. Study for a Portrait 1953
Do you anticipate how you want your image to look before you paint?• I want a very ordered image, but I want it to come about by chance In Memory of George Dyer 1971
So you don’t really plan a painting?• I foresee it and yet I hardly ever carry it out as I foresee it. It transforms itself by the actual paint. I dont in fact know very often what the paint will do, and it does many things which are very much better than I could make it do.
Can you give an example of how this comes about in your work?• Well, one of the pictures I did in 1946, the one like a butchers shop, came to me as an accident. I was attempting to make a bird alighting on a field. And it may have been bound up in some way with the three forms that had gone before, but suddenly the lines that Id drawn suggested something totally different, and out of this suggestion arouse this picture. I had no intention to do this picture; I never thought of it in that way. It was like one continuous accident mounting on top of another.
So your paintings come about organically?• All painting is an accident. But its also not an accident, because one must select what part of the accident one chooses to preserve. Triptych 1972
Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion (1944)
Can you say what impelled you to do your perhapsmost famous Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion? Ive always been very moved by pictures about slaughterhouses and meat, and to me they belong very much to the whole thing of the crucifixion. It appears by these photographs that they are aware of what is going to happen to them, they do everything to attempt to escape. I think these pictures were very much based on that kind of thing, which to me is very near this whole thing of the crucifixion.
In painting this Crucifixion, did you have the three canvases up simultaneously, or did you work on them quite separately?I worked on them separately, and gradually, as I finished them, I worked on the three across the room together. I did in about a fortnight, when I was in a bad mood of drinking, and I did it under tremendous hangovers and drink; I sometimes hardly knew what I was doing. And its one of the only pictures that Ive been able to do under drink. I think perhaps the drink helped me to be a bit freer.
Study after Velázquezs Portrait of Pope Innocent X 1953
Is there any particular way in you like your work to be looked at, or remembered if you like?I would like my pictures to look as if ahuman being had passed betweenthem, like a snail leaving its trail of thehuman presence... as a snail leaves itsslime.