Anthony Turner is one of the most in-demand and respected hair stylists in the industry, but he is also a prolific artist, capturing darkness and emotion in a series of drawings.
When did you start drawing?
I was very, very young! My Nan was an office cleaner and often took me with her. In order to keep me occupied she’d give me paper from the photocopier and a pen. I sat there for as long as she had to clean, drawing whatever came to mind.
What materials do you use?
I don’t use anything fancy, just architect pens because I love tiny details and the nib is thin enough to allow me to work on those.
Your drawings don’t have individual or series titles, is that intentional?
I suppose the project is a lifetime one, one where I’m just trying to get better. The more time I spend drawing the better I get, so I try and do as many as I can.
Similar to the idea that 10,000 hours of practicing a skill will make you a master. While your drawings don’t have titles, some include lyrics from or references to Tori Amos songs. How do music, words, and other areas inform your artwork?
My drawings and Tori Amos are best friends. They both represent something very special to me: calm and comfort. When I draw I lose myself. I listen to music with a cup of tea and a cigarette and fall into the paper completely. A bomb could go off next door and I probably wouldn’t flinch. It’s similar to how I feel when I listen to Tori. Her songs are like an old friend coming in and giving me a long, warm hug. When I was in my teens I went through it a bit and deeply connected with Tori’s lyrics. She made me feel like I wasn’t alone. My life is wonderful now, but she pops by every once in a while to say hi and give me a hug. My drawings do the same, they are safety and comfort.
What feelings or thoughts do you hope to evoke with your work?
People seem to find them dark and creepy, which they are. It’s not that I’m trying to evoke a particular emotion from people, but I enjoy my drawings and am always happy when people like them. There’s something in the darkness that they respond to.
What is the environment like when you create, and how important is that environment?
I have a spare room in my apartment in London which is very much my den. It’s full of creepy things I’ve collected over the years, such as odd paintings and illustrations by other artists and other pieces of creepy and strange art. I love all of that stuff but my boyfriend is easily spooked so it’s all contained in that one room, and that’s where I draw.
How does your artwork act as a satellite practice to your profession?
Drawing is my escape, a form of meditation, and a great stress reliever. When I have a juicy hair project to sink my teeth into it’s helpful for me to sketch my ideas down. Hairstyling for the fashion world means that I don’t always have 100% freedom in what I do. I’m paid by a magazine or designer to provide a service and they have a certain expectation. But with drawing, there are no limits or boundaries and I can live completely inside my dark little world. That world is hiding underneath your bed or below your staircase or in the corner of your loft. My creations live, and if you listen carefully you might hear their sinister little chuckles.