In 2016 I worked in partnership with Art Materials brand Pebeo. In the below interview, we discussed the creative process, colour palettes, and career goals.
Is there a general theme to you work?
Yes there are a lot! At the moment my main themes are nature, observation, experimentation and scale. I say ‘at the moment’ because I know that I’ll undoubtedly learn about other things in the future that will play a big part in the art I make and it’s important to allow room for growth. I do think these four themes will always have a large role in what I make though.
Can you describe your creation process and how it has evolved?
I was always very into art at school and I was brought up with my mum, who is an incredible painter, always encouraging me to make art. Back then though I was painting in a much more traditional way, it was all about figurative and representational work, I still love working in this way and I really appreciate this type of art. I went straight from school to a very open art degree where we were encouraged to experiment with all sorts of ways of art making. The whole way through my main interest was always painting. I started developing my own techniques simply through experimentation and a keen interest in the exploration of products. I’m driven by discovering new things that I can paint with, especially when I manage to get a cool reaction out of them. In terms of process, it happened quite naturally, the only conscious decision was when I stopped including any kind of literal subject matter. The paintings had somehow moved on without me realising it and the abstract areas were telling much more of a story then the literal representations.
We love your colour palette - muted colours, earthy tones - what attracts you to such palette and do you think you could include brighter colours to your work?
Thanks! I think this all boils down to my visual interests being the organic. When I began properly experimenting with painting I was actually working with a much brighter palette, it was still inspired by the same things I just hadn’t refined it yet. I’m much more engaged now with colour and tone than I used to be. Even in the way that I used to dress, I always wanted to wear every colour at the same time, so it’s no wonder that my art reflected that.
What are your intentions behind the work?
To be honest I’m still figuring that side of things out, I think it would be impossible to say from the get go exactly what you want your art to be and what you want it to do, I think this is something that grows and evolves. I do know that I’m primarily interested in the visceral, emotive power of art. The art that jerks a reaction in you that you can’t quite put your finger on, or reminds you of something but you’re not sure exactly what it is. I’d like to create something that people can come and stand in front of and spend some time with while they try and figure it out.
We notice your smaller works are more controlled than your bigger pieces. Do you feel the size of the painting dictates in some sort of ways your processes?
One hundred percent. For me the physical process of painting has a lot of control over the visual outcome of each work. Materials are extremely important; they're a massive part of why I paint. There’s so much diversity to each material and I want to draw attention to these individual qualities. For this reason it would make no sense to, say, pour watered down acrylic paint onto the smaller canvases, as it wouldn’t have the space to flow in the way that a larger canvas allows it. I have to then look for other ways of making the materials stand out on this small scale, and so delicate placing of products is how I like to do it. This all being said, I wouldn't say that the larger paintings are control-free. I’ve found that people can often look at my paintings and think that they’re made very hastily with little thought, but in reality a great deal of care goes into the placement of the paint and each gestural mark, even if I do want the materials to then continue to react in an unpredictable way. It sits on a very fine line between control and lack of control.
And finally, what is your favourite Pebeo product and why?
It’s hard to say because I love the pigments I can get in standard things like the studio acrylics and the inks, but for me Pebeo is all about those little mixed media pots of joy which I’ve had so much fun experimenting with. I think my favorite’s got to be Vitrail because it does exactly what I love, reacts in ridiculously cool ways with all the other paints. The end result is always wicked and I just love watching the hypnotising reactions take place.