observers (graves gallery), oil on canvas , 2014
What are you working on in your studio right now?
I am currently working on a number of watercolour on canvas images, for a group show I was selected for this year in Margate. It has been interesting working with such an immediate and delicate medium onto supports which they are not typically related to.
Can you describe your working routine?
I tend to prefer working physically in the mornings and afternoon, when I fell more alert and receptive. In terms of research, that seems to be a consistent part of my day, always humming in the background. Whether I am in the midst of enraptured activity or multi origined research. The search for visuals which inspire takes up far more time, than the tentative yet robust processes that create the resulting works.
Can you describe your studio space and how, if at all, that affects your work?
My studio space is not the largest environment, it does offer storage options and drying solutions, but I have found I am more comfortable working in less busy adjoining rooms. Maybe one of the reasons why I work at a smaller scale is because of this, even though I do enjoy the challenge of expressing big ideas onto disproportionate supports. Working from home, in some way my whole flat inherently becomes a studio, with paintings littered in corridor and living room. Therefore I am always theoretically in my studio when I am indoors, which is a rather enjoyable concept.
Tell me about your process, where things begin, how they evolve etc.
I always have to have an image to initially work from. It may be found or taken by myself photographically, an artist, a performance or a gallery space, an auction or the gallery exterior itself. Once I have sourced something that intrigues or excites me, that speaks of great possibilities when interpreted in graphite, inks or oils. That's when I begin executing general sketches, more considered studies onto paper and finally oils onto wood or canvas. I may execute one image or a series of variants from one initial source image, it all depends on how attached I become to the potential held within it.
initial sketches on mounting board & paper scraps
What are you having the most trouble resolving?
One of the most relevant issues that my work is increasingly involving is the shorthand interpretation of the human presence, the environment they are contained in and the artworks which have ensnared their attention. Trying to create imagery which relates to such subject matter, but doesn't heavily overstate their existence in pigment is a constant concern. The challenge of creating images, almost objects considering their textural nature. Which suggest, glimpse at, recall semblances substantial enough but not laboured. So that the viewer interprets the painted marks into something with a resonance both natural and immediate.
Jim Lambie, watercolour on canvas
Do you experiment with different materials a lot or do you prefer to work within certain parameters?
I do have certain preferred methods of working that are constant. Ink washes and graphite onto paper, oils onto canvas or wooden supports, methods that I intuitively feel comfortable working in. The authentic textural possibilities inherent to oil paints, the way that they hold a curl, a furrow, a spike, when dried. The gloss and depth of colour that acrylics cannot imitate or offer alternatives for. In terms of experimenting, I have been using enamels and gloss paints, usually onto canvas. I have been finding that the combination works very much like inks, the lack of control which you have to submit to, due to the wet flow that occurs, allows me to work in very different ways and with very different colour schemes, the only constant being the subject matter being portrayed.
Augustus John 1 & 2, graphite on paper, A4
What does the future hold for this work?
I am set to be taking part in a number of forthcoming shows, some which involve existing works and others which involve producing works in different mediums or within certain themes. I do try to continue my conversation with my paintings around all the deadlines and obligations, as I feel my work does need to develop naturally, becoming what it needs to be and not what I hope it may be. Having worked with video previously, I am also tempted to try to develop and construct an idea that has been on paper for far too long. An apparently simple piece constructed from very specific parts, both related to my usual painting practice, it can be too easy to let these ideas drag out, until they never reach fruition.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Initially I would like to thank you for selecting me to take part in studio critical. It can be too easy to get too lost in the processes of what we do, and not why we do them. To have the opportunity to see my practice from an outsiders view, is an interesting and valued experience.
ruin lust 2, oil on canvas