KT Cloudbusting -- Kate Bush In Her Own Words


Do you enjoy modern art? And if so, who is your favourite artist?

Salvador Dali. (1984, KBC 17)


I was reminded by this painting in the corner hear, which is sort of a satire of a pre-raphaelite painting, and I always thought those victorian painters, the pre-raphaelite's, were an influence on the texture of your songwriting.

Yes. Yes, I think it was particularly in my very early teens. I was very enchanted by the whole romance of it, yes. They found their way into songs, the imagery. I think that's what happens, something attracts you because of the imagery and you digest it and it come out in a song. I think that's how artists work, they're like magpies who are picking out little bits of gold and storing them away. (1985, March 15, The New Music)


When I met you in your dance studio in london, I saw a painting against the wall that we were laughing about. It was a satire of that pre-raphaelite painting of ophelia drowned in the reeds, this one was in a polluted river. Now on the inside cover sheave of the hounds of love there's a picture of you in the water, like ophelia. Is that a deliberate connection?

Not a conscious connection, no, but I'm sure that that imagery is there very strongly. Ophelia is one of those beautiful paintings, its extraordinary. And I think my attraction to Ophelia in the first place is what made me get that painting. So it's probably still quite subconsciously strong there in me. (1985, Late November, The New Music)


*Perhaps a choice of character from the scrolls of history might reveal more.

I would want to be Breugal, definitely. His work is so real, and yet depicted in a fantastic way. It's so beautiful and elemental. And his faces are so haunting. (1985, Melody Maker)


And pictures?

I love paintings. Years ago when I didn't have the money to afford it at all, I bought a big picture. People thought i was mad,and they were right! But I just fell in love with it. It's a bit like Millais's Ophelia, but a modern image of it; in fact, she's floatin in a sewer, hahaha! But I thought the irony was great, and the water, although it's disgusting, has all the colours of oil in it. I do have a tremendous fascination with grotesque beauty and sad humour, opposites put together. I'd sit and look at that picture and than spend a couple of hours writing. (1990, Q Special)


At one end of the studio is a huge painting of a drowned, cracked doll floating face up past a sewer. For some reason this painting, which might be described as macabre-kitsch, seems to say a lot about its owner. Kate returns and sees me examining it.

That's called ``The Hogsmill Ophelia.'' A lot of people find it disturbing but I don't. I've lived with it for ages. Looked at it every day. That picture cost me all the money I had once. Paintings are a great inspiration. One of my favourites is by Millais [British pre-raphaelite painter john everett millais, 1829-1896], The Huguenot [Technically, a huguenot, on st.bartholomew'sday, refusing to shield himselff- romdanger by wearing the roman catholic badge, 1851-52]. It's of a man going off to the wars being hugged to the breast of his lover. She's holding him to her by a scarf around his arm. It's very beautiful. (1985, What Kate Bush Did Next)


You never mention painters in your work, at all. Have you any favourite painter...?

Yes, I think paintings are phenomenal. I would love to be able to paint. Particularly in oils. I think it just must be so fantastic to stand there and - paint a picture. And I think they've been quite influential on my work. When I was very young I was into Millais pictures, and I used to find, um - Do you know ``The Huguenots'' Do you know that? Beautiful painting, I just - In fact, I wrote a song that was kind of inspired by the painting. I got a painting years ago that I couldn't afford to buy at all, but that inspired a lot of my work, as well. And I think one of my favourite painters is Brueghel. I think his work is just so extraordinary. The sense of detail and colours, it's so alive. I would love to be able to uh, to do something like that. So uh, vive les painters, eh? [Laughter from audience] (1990 Kate Bush Con)

Gaffaweb / Cloudbusting / Subjects / Paintings