Category: interviews

Andy Dixon – The Psychology of Value

andy dixon

You appear the embodiment of your work, does art imitate life or does life imitate art?

I think my concern for aesthetics simply bleeds into every facet of my life. I’m interested in beauty and surrounding myself in it, be it in the studio, in my apartment, or in my wardrobe. I guess, in a way, it’s neither art imitating life or vice versa so much as all things imitating my love for visual stimuli.

How much has being a designer affected the aesthetics of your paintings?

A lot. I see my life as a designer to be a kind of visual training. It’s much easier to play around with colour, composition, and form in photoshop then on a canvas, so, at least in regards to the aesthetic aspect of my work, I had a lot of practice.

andy dixon

Andy’s collaboration with Versace

 

Is there any crossover between your music and your painting, and how do they cross-pollinate?

I think one could argue that I’ve been on a specific trajectory for my whole artistic career thus far, in music, design, and painting. All three have used some form of sampling, for instance: in music as samples, in design as found and scanned images from things like text books, and in painting as reinterpretations of various tropes from the cannon of art history. In a way, I see my true medium being culture to which I use various ways to play with it.

How important is it for artists to have other avenues of creation?

I don’t think it’s important at all to diversify if it’s not something that one wants to do. I’ve done nothing but paint almost every day for the past seven or eight years now and, honestly, it feels amazing. I feel focussed and sturdy from it.

Out of music and painting, which medium do you feel is the closest expression of your creativity?

Painting, definitely. I haven’t made music in years and honestly don’t miss it.

Your paintings share a lot of similarities with the themes and imagery of the old masters, but recontextualised. Is this an intentional device and if so what are you saying when you use such themes?

Yeah, that’s definitely intentional. There are a few things at play when I’m recontextualizing art history tropes. Firstly, I’m playing with the psychology of value. Since my versions of these paintings don’t contain any of the properties that the art market would say give the piece its value, such as antiquity, provenance, or even technical mastery, I’m asking the question of what gives my version its value. I’m not trying to shit on art’s price tag, I’m simply trying to point to the magic of art in a kind of Duchampian way, except using money as the measuring stick. Secondly, I’m exploring the way that the subject of the original painting, say a flemish still life, works in tandem with the subject of my painting, which is a painting of a flemish still life. In a way they’re the same thing – a depiction of luxury.

How do you reconcile the lavish and the glamorous on your work with your punk sensibilities?

I think my history in punk led me to the lavish themes in my work. I grew up in a culture where “selling out” was the ultimate sin so the bands who were successful had to enjoy their success in a kind of shameful secrecy and I see the same thing happening in the art world. Thus, the punk kid in me sees addressing making money as the final taboo.

The show Alchemy at Beers Contemporary was predominantly paintings of rooms in which other paintings of yours sit. Is this a very meta-comment on the artist being affected philosophically by the people who collect their work?

I see it more of an exploration of that same taboo mentioned above. To me, it’s a play on the classic theme of an artist depicting his or her own work in new works, traditionally done through studio paintings like Matisse’s Red Studio, which focusses on the creative side of painting, while mine are done through paintings of my patron’s homes which shifts the focus from the creative to the commercial.

Do you think that the commercialism of art should have this much power?

It’s not a matter of thinking commercialism should or shouldn’t have that much power, it’s about reconciling with the fact that it does have that much power whether one likes it or not.

andy dixon

How did your collaboration with Versace come about, and what has it been like working with the fashion brand?
Versace contacted me totally out of the blue. Believe it or not I was in the midst of making the giant Versace sculpture when they reached out and they hadn’t heard about it yet so the timing felt very serendipitous. Working with them has been great – they definitely use a different language than I do (I mean designer-ese not Italian) which takes some getting used to but their team is full of extremely creative people who have been a pleasure to work with.
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For more about Andy, see his website

The Jaunt – Travel as a Source of Inspiration

The Jaunt is a really exciting project in which an artist embarks on a trip to a place they have never visited, and collects ideas and inspiration for a print. These prints are sold, and this funds the trip, and so buyers of the prints know that they have supported the artist on this journey of discovery. We interviewed The Jaunt’s founder Jeroen Smeets about why he decided to launch this groundbreaking project, and what they have planned for the future.

 

Why did you decide to start The Jaunt?

I used to work as an editior-in-chief of a Dutch magazine, around this time I used to be interviewing a lot of different artists. One of the things that always came up was traveling as the main source of inspiration. Everybody wanted to travel. Then a good friend of mine, the artist Hedof, really wanted to travel to Helsinki, just to go there and experience it, and I started to figure out a way to make this happen. How can I send artists on trips to make them find inspiration from their new surroundings, and at the same time take it to a level where we can share all of that with a bigger audience? It still took about a year before we actually organized the first trip. But eventually in April 2013 we sent Hedof to Helsinki, and we’ve been running ever since. By now we send out 10 artists a year and have organized over 50 trips in the last 6 years. 

The Jaunt

Cody Hudson at the Finca Bellavista in Costa Rica, November 2018.

What makes The Jaunt different from other print releases?

As far as I know there is no other art project out there at the moment, that works the same way we do. There are several great projects out there where artists are invited to come and work with a certain printer and a certain print studio. But in our project the travel is an essential part of the experience. It is an art residence which is always on the road. And I think that for the artists it is also a different project, because for which other project can they travel to a place and have absolutely no agenda or briefing. While they are traveling, there is nothing that they need to work on, so they can fully immerse themselves in their new surroundings  

the jaunt

Screenprint studio of our printer, Joris Diks in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

How does the trip that the artists undertake affect their work?

This is obviously different for each artist. Which also keeps our project so exciting and interesting. Some of the artists work directly on location and translate their inspiration directly. Others work on their print once they come back to their studio. There have been artists who have found a new medium to work with, just because they found new materials during their trip. Other artists have been inspired by their immediate surroundings or a certain experience that they endured during their trip. In the end each print is an honest and direct reaction from the artists. 

the jaunt

Silkscreen print by Atelier Bingo, trip #046 to Folegandros, Greece.

How do you decide where to send each artist?

Our most important rule is that we send an artist to a destination where they have never been to before. It could be on the other side of the world or more closer to home. At times I ask the artist if they have some bucket-list destinations, and at other times I suggest a destination to an artist, because I see an interesting connection between the destination and the artist. 

the jaunt

Jordy van den Nieuwendijk on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, USA, April 2014

What you think is gained by this method of creation?

Any time you take an artist out of their comfort zone they become more aware of their surroundings and their experiences. That is exactly what we hope to achieve by sending artists on our trips. They might find something beautiful in nature that directs their work into a certain direction, or they might find a new tool or medium in a local art supply shop that they will start trying out. It only takes one little spark to ignite creativity.

the jaunt

Jordy van den Nieuwendijk on Mulholland Drive in Los Angeles, USA, April 2014

What are your plans for The Jaunt in the future?

It’s going to be a busy year for us. A little over a month ago, we have relaunched our website, we are working on a second book, which will hopefully come out by the end of 2019. Then we have a few more trips coming up that I’m really excited about and will send our project into some new directions. Good stuff!

For more from The Jaunt – see their website HERE
For more interviews, read Rowan Newton’s interview with Robin Footitt HERE


Bertrand Fournier Interview

bertrand fournier interview

Some of the works in Bertrand’s studio

 

We are very excited to be hosting Bertrand Fournier’s debut UK solo show this month, and decided to ask him a few questions about his work during the run up to what is an amazingly accomplished show for such an early-career artist.

 Why and when did you start painting?

 It was in November 2016, I started painting with my daughter. My mother had given me an old frame with no canvas, so I have buy a canvas for my daughter and one for me, just for try.

  How did you teach yourself?

 I immediately began to paint with oil because my wife had in her childhood belongings some old oil paint tubes, she explained me that it was necessary to mix a medium with the oil,  after there is not much more to know, I had to try all the mediums and all the possible techniques, trade canvases, raw canvas, glued canvases, stretched or glued on wooden panel, it is by trying we learn.

  The title of your exhibition “Some Pieces of Mind” seems to refer to your work as a nurse in a psychiatric ward.  What parts of your daily life affect your art?

I am inspired by what surrounds me, my daily life and also my job as a nurse in psychiatry emergency has strongly influenced me.  Certainly it is a very hard work where we see a lot of human and social misery but the fact of being permanently confronted with this madness, necessarily opens the spirit.  Where the common man is limited to decency, the people who work in this environment know that the human mind knows no limit.  That’s what I try to apply in my work, to refuse to lock my mind.

  Have you found a community online?

 Yes, we are quite numerous to have started at the same time to post our paintings on Instagram, I think it’s a bit like school, we are part of the same class, we will grow together I hope, I  think they will recognize but if you want some names I will give you @christine_liebich @umutyasat @wmlachance @d_a_n_i_e_l_j_e_n_s_e_n @jordykerwick @philip_geraldo @jean_baptiste_besançon @jenny_brosnski @mateusz.sarzynski @benjaminmurphy_ @clement.mancini @mariehazard @jessietaylorart @yvonnerobert_ @gabriele_herzog @richieculver @sorensejr @jonathanryanstorm

  Do you have an art community near you?

 No

  Where do you find inspiration?

 All I hear and all I see.

  What are the living living painters you admire?

 Gunther Forg.

  What advice on social networks would you give to emerging artists?

No special advices, just be yourself ! But personally i think the Social networks can become like a prison, it was very good for me because without Instagram no one could have discovered my work.  I’m trying now to take some distances from this little by little.

  What would you like to know about the art world when you started?

 I have no artistic training, I started in the process to decorate my house not in the process of becoming an artist so I can not say what at the beginning I really wanted to know about this world.  Now I have discovered enough, the other side of this world is not very glorious, I’m happy to surround myself with good people with real good intentions because there is a lot of fuck as well in artists than in galleries in this world. It’s not the Care Bears’ world.

 

We are very happy to be releasing lino PRINTS alongside the show, which can be viewed by clicking this link.

 

For more by Bertrand, click this link.


How To Navigate The Art World – Panel Discussion

After the success of of our last talk Transition: How To Prosper In The Art World, we decided to do another similar one, this one taking its inspiration from our 2019 Open Call exhibition – How To Navigate The Art World.

how to navigate the art world

UHH by 2019 Open Call winner Rhiannon Salisbury

Panelists include:

Delphian director and artist Benjamin Murphy.

Delphian director and artist Nick JS Thompson.

2019 Open Call winner – artist Rhiannon Salisbury.

Curator, writer, and art-historian Hector Campbell.

All of the questions that will be put to the panel have been asked by followers – please feel free to add your own via instagram @dephiangallery

To attend, please RSVP to the Eventbrite HERE

 


Creative Restlessness – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Kevin Perkins

Creative Restlessness – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Kevin Perkins

 

I was first made aware of Kevin’s work through social media and I was struck by his boundless energy for experimentation. Whilst undertaking this wild experimentation, his work retained a feel that was unmistakably his. I have exhibited, and exhibited his work a few times before our upcoming show A Long Way From Home (With Igor Moritz), and in each show he has exhibited a different form of painting. Each of these, however, are executed with an expert precision, whilst also displaying a wonderful expressiveness and economy of gesture. I decided to have a chat to him ahead of the show we did with him back in January, about his work, and his approach to making in general.

 

Kevin Perkins

Utilising the unusual medium of coloured pencil on salvaged book covers; the portraits depict (mostly) lone sitters smoking, drinking tea, reflected in mirrors or simply ‘being’ and certainly give the nod to a golden era of twentieth century European painting. The surfaces of the book covers themselves lend an almost canvas-like quality to the images, and also help to add a beautiful ageing affect to the colour. Through these works, Perkins continues to develop his excellent ability to reference and draw from art-history, producing nostalgic works that drip with both playfulness and charisma.

 

[Benjamin Murphy] – Firstly – why are you an artist?

 

[Kevin Perkins] – I originally started painting out of necessity. I got hired to teach high school painting classes with no real background in painting. I’d watch YouTube videos and read tutorials before every class and then make a demo of whatever concept I was trying to teach. That turned into a real practice. I was looking at a massive amount of art and decided that I wanted to try and be a real artist, whatever that means.

 

I felt like an imposter for a long time. But now I guess I make work out of what I like to think of as a creative restlessness.

 

[BM] – Is this perhaps why you are experimenting so much within your practice?

 

[KP] – Oh yeah. Definitely.  I tend to have a hard time staying put in one specific approach to my work. I’m not really interested in creating the same kind of work over and over. I don’t care if that’s what sells, I make the work for myself, to fulfill a need that I have.

 

[BM] – I think the driving force for most artists is a need for experimentation, even if their work remains on a similar track. Where do you see your work going in future?

 

[KP] – I tend to not think about the future of my work. It’s a very in the moment kind of thing. Though I’m interested in moving into sculpture but haven’t had the space or time to figure out what that looks like for me.

 

[BM] – So where does your imagery come from?

 

[KP] – I cobble together images that I’ve found from my stockpile of old books, magazines publications, and photographs, as well as the occasional internet find, life drawings, and reimagining of master works. I don’t really seek out imagery for the work often. Instead, if I stumble across something that may work I’ll tuck it back until I’m ready for it.

 

[BM] – How in control would you say of how the paintings ultimately end up looking, do you have a ideal aesthetic in mind or is your process more experimental?

 

[KP] – The idea of an ideal aesthetic is something that I don’t put much stock in because it’s always changing. But to say that my work is experimental is reaching too far. Achieving consistency is not something I concern myself with. I produce work and it inevitably looks like my work. It may be influenced by someone or some thing that I’ve consumed but the way I apply paint, the rhythm of my hand, the energy will be evident in the work. It’s like writing letters. I don’t think about the way I write the letter “e” but if I write enough of them a pattern will emerge. In the same way, if I am true to myself and produce work that is a creative outflow of my interests, then patterns within the works will begin to form and an aesthetic that is true and uniquely mine will appear.

 

That being said, I do follow a similar process with the creation of most of my works. Which lends itself to a more consistent and specific aesthetic.

 

My drawings and studies are free and open to the whims of chance

kevin perkins

Kevin Perkins – book cover portraits

[BM] – With my work I aim to paint haptically, thinking as little about how I want it to look or what it means as possible, because I want it to mean different things to each individual viewer. Would you say that you paint in a similar way?

 

[KP] – Yes and no. I’m not so concerned about the outcome or what it means. I’d like for the work to look a certain way but that can range depending on where I am at mentally and emotionally as I’m creating the work. I make the work for myself. So to disassociate from the outcome for the sake of the viewer would be dishonest to myself and I feel that my work and my drive to make the work would suffer. I don’t care about the viewer so much. People will interact with and read into the work what they will and I’ve got no control over that.

 

[BM] – What are your intentions when you approach a canvas?

 

[KP] – I’m more interested in the creation than the outcome. Don’t get me wrong

though, the outcome is certainly an important aspect to it all. But once I’m done with the work I have no intention of returning to it. I’ve detached myself from the work. It’s served it’s purpose for me. I treat every painting like a puzzle. The enjoyment is putting it together. Once I’m done with that I could care less if it ends up in the trash or on someone’s wall. I suppose though that it’s nice to make a little money so that I can keep up the insanity of making work.

 

Maybe I’m being too honest.

 

[BM] – Yeah I can totally see what you mean, for me it’s all about the process. Once it’s finished and framed it feels almost as if it was done by someone else.

 

[KP] – So how do you feel about your most recent works, and did you alter your approach in any way knowing that this was a two-person show?

 

Yes I did. I was more open and free with my use of color. Igor has a beautiful sense of color and I guess my works needed a bit of a boost in order to stand in the same space as his.

 

[BM] – Is that the first time you’ve worked in this way?

 

[KP] – I feel like I’ve been edging toward it for a while.

 

[BM] – Can you tell us a little about the works you created for the show?

 

[KP] – I messed around with form a lot in this body of work. These paintings move in and out of refinement. Some of the work is incredibly unrefined, for example one of my self portraits was done in one take, drawn while only looking in the mirror and never at the canvas (blind contour). Another work, one of the nudes, was left as an unpolished charcoal drawing. And then there of course were more refined renderings in other works in the show.

 

The enjoyment for me comes in pushing the figures and the spaces that they inhabit beyond the norms of portraiture. Portraits are tricky, I’m never really trying to paint a specific person the way they actually look. I’m more considering the narrative around them and how that comes across in the work.

 

In retrospect, the paintings here emphasize the process, and the history, of how I work. As I stated earlier, I don’t like to think much about how someone may interpret the work. My interest in it lies in the development, the making of the works.

kevin perkins

Kevin Perkins – Book cover drawing

Kevin’s book cover works will be released as a catalogue via Kunst Katalog soon, follow their profile via the hyperlink for more details.

The other artist in our show with Kevin Perkins was Igor Moritz, read Benjamin’s conversation with him [HERE]

Originally published in AfterNyne Magazine.


Mizog Art Podcast – Benjamin Murphy

One of our directors (Benjamin Murphy) was recently interviewed by Gary Mansfield on the newest episode of the Mizog Art Podcast. On it, he discusses his own work, as well as giving some insight as to why him and Nick JS Thompson decided to start Delphian Gallery.

mizog podcast

As well as this, he drops some exciting hints about the hotly awaited upcoming Delphian Podcast.

Listen to it HERE

For more interviews with the Delphian Directors, check out this one with Arrested Motion.


Charley Peters in conversation with Remi Rough

Charley Peters is a painter. I don’t see her paintings as simply abstract, they are more about the formalism of painting itself, but she also uses the surfaces she works on as conveyances for her internal structures. There is an abundance of mathematics within her paintings, from the simple yet perfect gradients she often uses to the detailed repetitive shapes that are painstakingly drawn and subsequently painted into tiny masked off sections. Peters plays with the idea of how people consume and view her artworks on handheld screens so much so that some of her paintings look almost like digital glitches when seen on a phone. Her use of colour is bold and beautiful so it’s no wonder so many people have gravitated toward her work.In the ever changing landscape of the modern art world Charley Peters is a much needed agent of change.

charley peters

Charley Peters in the studio

 

You often utilise a mixture of materials in your paintings, I wondered how you initially engage with materials, did you purposely select them or was there more of an accidental discovery? 

Could you also expand on your use of airbrush as I find this a really interesting medium?

 

I predominantly use acrylic paint, which I apply with a brush, and spray paint or acrylic paint run through an airbrush. The two ways of applying paint – by brush or by spraying – have very different sensibilities, and I like to offset one against the other. I like painting to be as engaged with the substance and appearance of paint as creating an ‘image’, so using paint in different ways enables me to generate a variety of surfaces within each work. When I paint with a brush it’s a slower and more controlled process, I use heavy body paint against tape, usually mixed to the consistency of soft butter and like it to be matt and opaque. Sprayed paint has a dewy quality, it’s very wet and more difficult to control, but I enjoy how tricky it is. It can be used to create solid, flat colour or if applied more sensitively, it’s possible to build up tones in translucent layers. I love how sprayed paint can suggest infinite pictorial depth, the way that light and colour are diffused by spraying is beautiful and almost otherworldly. Running acrylic paint through an airbrush allows me to create the effect of spray paint but I have more control over colour (obviously spray paint colours are pre-mixed) and it’s a more deliberate way of applying sprayed paint; controlled and precise but still with the capacity to appear gestural and fluid.

 

 

 

Could you describe your ideal painting? Have you made it yet? (I often ask myself this question by the way).

 

No, I don’t think I’ll ever make my ideal painting. I have paintings that I’m more satisfied with than others, some that I like on a purely instinctive level and others that I can’t stand the sight of. What I’d like to achieve in my paintings is a perfect balance of colour, composition and form. I break down the picture plane into different spatial areas of divergent visual information – all treated as individual components, but through the making of the work I hope to bring them all together to create a sense of harmony, as if all elements were always meant to be together. I don’t like my work when it is overworked or overcomplicated, paintings can be technically difficult to make and labour intensive but I don’t think they need to look like that’s the case. I suppose I want to look at my paintings and for them to just ‘be’ right. Of course, right is a highly subjective term and I often deliberately break rules and do things wrong in order to make the painting right in the end. And paint is a very spirited and rebellious medium, it sometimes does wrong things all by itself, which is also exactly the right thing for it to do.

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

(L) ~NMH*NFM~ (2018), acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 150cm
(R) LM>Installed in Harder Edge: A Survey of Recent Abstraction, Saatchi Gallery, London (2018)

Having worked with you on numerous occasions, you seem to have a pretty loose approach to making your work yet they look so organised and pre-designed. Do you prefer to work to preset ideas or be more flexible?

 

I don’t organise or pre-design my work at all. Again, I think this relates to me trying to make the painting right or balanced from the starting point of a blank canvas. Making paintings for me is a very fluid process, there are some moments of logical thought and conscious decision making but mostly I rely on my intuition and impulsive actions. I never know what my paintings will look like once they are finished. I always start with applying colour to the painting’s surface, usually a flat, mid-tone colour that I’ve arrived at by not much thought at all…often just a sense of whether it might be hot or cold or bright or dark. After that I divide the surface up spatially and work on each area independently of the others. At this point I mask off large areas of the painting so can’t see much of what I’m doing. I’m working in the dark most of the time. I work in layers, similar to constructing images using Photoshop, I don’t consider the whole painting until it’s nearly finished. I usually paint on the floor and draw quick sketches as I paint as half-formed notions of what I might do next, but these are far from ‘working drawings’ and more like linear scribbles that barely make sense. Somehow they help me move through paintings until they can be considered finished. It’s a difficult way of working, like organising the chaos of not knowing where things are going – I end up changing my mind about things, adjusting colours or forms as I paint, I paint over things that have taken days of work – but it’s the best way for me. I like to go to the studio and leave my logical, overthinking mind elsewhere, I think I make better paintings that way.

 

Also, I wanted to respond to your introduction to my work in this interview, in which you describe ‘an abundance of mathematics’ within my paintings. I find ‘mathematics’ such an alien term. I find numbers impossible – I can’t read or remember them, even simple numerical systems like phone numbers and padlock codes confuse me and I get them wrong. I generally rely on visual maths in the studio, dividing spaces up by eye rather than measuring them. My rulers all have paint on them and I can’t easily read the numbers, if I count or add things up I have to do it several times and it is still wrong. It made me laugh when you used the word ‘mathematics’ as I’m not at all mathematical or precise when I work – I make a huge mess every time I do anything!

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

>THT< (2018), acrylic on canvas, 120cm x 150cm

 

There seems to be a renaissance of hard edge, more graphic work lately, is this a good thing or a bad thing? I often wonder if it hinders or helps myself?

 

It’s both good and bad. When there is an increased interest in a particular aesthetic or methodology it opens up more opportunities to show work and be part of an identifiable peer network of artists – this is mostly a good thing, it means we are relevant and interesting if only for a transient period of time. What can be bad about being ‘on trend’ is that people can stop being critical, they don’t see the good work from the bad, the innovative from the derivative. I’m uncomfortable with any sentimental or nostalgic positioning of particular genres of painting, and being associated with, for example, the hard edge or geometric abstraction, feels unthinking and too surface level a definition for what I think I should be making today. I’d prefer to think that I’m looking at the hard edge through the lens of contemporary visual media – and asking questions about the legacy of abstraction and what it is now. There is no point making work in a contemporary context that looks like it could have been made in the 1960s.

 

 

 

[Remi Rough] – I know you’re doing a writing residency later this year and wondered how important is that aspect of your work compared to painting?

 

[Charley Peters] – Painting is always more important, I’m a painter who writes. Writing about others’ work is a good way to articulate ideas within my own painting with an objectivity that is difficult when trying to be too self-reflective. I find writing a frustrating process, it’s far too logical and slow. More so than with painting I need some sort of plan or structure at the beginning and that pisses me off, it’s so boring. I make sense of the process of writing in a way that I can cope with. I write in layers, like I would make a painting, writing unrelated pieces of text that get expanded on or edited out in waves of activity until there’s a whole piece of writing with a beginning, middle and end. I see words as having a rhythm, colour or shape when put together in sentences and then they make sense to me as a resolved object. I think it’s as important to be critical when writing as it is to be critical when painting and I like my texts to have ideas and positions in them, even if I’m writing a review of an exhibition, I think there should be a more interesting subtext than merely discussing the show.

 

 

 

[RR] – Would you ever consider taking your work into a more sculptural plane?

 

[CP] – My paintings are ‘spatial’, they engage with the physical space of the canvas and the illusionary space that painting can create. I do think that they are as much objects as they are images or surfaces. I always consider that the edges of the paintings are part of the work, they are usually painted as an extension of the front of the canvas. I have also made several walk-in, or immersive, paintings – room-sized installations of wall and/or floor paintings – as well as smaller assemblages of disparate painted sculptural elements. Painting has the capacity to challenge our understanding of space and has a life that extends beyond being hung on a wall. Even the most benign rectangular canvas on a white gallery wall can manipulate and control space. I think it’s more important than ever to acknowledge painting’s sculptural potential in a world where most of what we experience is non-physical and seen on a screen.

 

 

charley peters - delphian magazine

Editing Suite, Installed in The Future, Coventry Biennial of Contemporary Art, Coventry (2017)
Acrylic and spray paint on panel and wall painting

 

[RR] – Can you tell me about 3 artists dead or alive you have had a big influential impact on you and the way you work.

 

[CP] – Definitely Agnes Martin. Martin said that inspiration found her and that she could take no credit for it, she just emptied her head – especially of thoughts of herself – and inspiration would come into her ‘vacant mind’. This relates to what I was saying earlier about leaving my logical mind outside the studio. I think that painting became more interesting for me when I stopped planning, thinking and knowing what I was doing. Removing myself from the work as much as possible allows the paintings to make themselves – they feel more honest that way. I love Eva Hesse’s work, her bold and exploratory use of materials and textures is both intelligent and sensual. Sol LeWitt’s letter to Eva Hesse is something that I return to over and over again. It reminds me of the difficulties of making work and, again, the importance of ‘doing’ over thinking, worrying or second guessing. It’s a mistake to only credit him with that letter, he couldn’t have written it without her. And I’d also cite Carmen Herrera as being a significant figure for me. She exemplifies so well the strength and resilience of creative spirit, and makes shit hot paintings too.

 

[RR] – Do you think your artwork is a subjective window of your personality?

 

[CP] – That’s an interesting question…

Do you mean are my paintings a reflection of who I am, for example, an odd mixture of impulsiveness and discipline?! You should tell me – you know me well enough to say! I’m generally uncomfortable talking about my work in subjective terms. I have a formal painting practice, my concerns are with the relationships between colour, form and compositional space, and nothing emotional. I like how abstraction masks subjectivity so we can just see the work and nothing else. I’m certainly not positioning myself, my life experiences or opinions within my work and as such I’m resistant to any suggestion that my paintings are a representation, for want of a better word, of my personality. Of course, at times I may make subjective judgements on things like colour or when a painting is finished, but does that make ‘me’ part of the work? Sometimes if I’m tired or had a tough day does that affect the sensibility of my painting or the decisions I make in the studio? Maybe it does. You’ve asked a complicated question, and I can answer it by talking about my intentions for the work and how I like to consider my painting as a non-subjective entity. It’s possible that this isn’t entirely true though, it’s so difficult to say where decisions in the studio come from and how much of that is driven by intuition or experience.

 

Both artists are still exhibiting at the The House Of Saint Barnabus alongside Peter Lamb,  and Charley is showing at Fold Gallery until the 2nd of March.

If you enjoyed Remi interviewing Charley, read Charley interviewing Remi HERE

The pair also have just released a print (with Peter Lamb), which can be bought HERE


Fluidity of Shape: A Conversation Between Benjamin Murphy and Igor Moritz

Fluidity of Shape – A conversation between Benjamin Murphy and Igor Moritz

Igor Moritz is an incredibly exciting young artist whom I discovered through our mutual friend Andrew Salgado. His approach to painting the human form speaks of expressionism – with the distorted and contorted form, with the awkward perspectives – painted expertly. His paintings are reminiscent of both Egon Schiele and Henri Matisse, whilst being entirely and refreshingly unique. For such a young artist, he has developed a signature style that most would be envious of. His output is incredibly consistent, whether working in coloured pencil on his specially-prepared paper, or with the more traditional use of oil paint and canvas.

Fluidity of shape - delphian gallery

October by Igor Moritz

BM – Firstly – Why are you an artist?

IM – I think over the last couple of years, looking has crossed over from something that’s passive into something that’s very active in my life. I’ve become absolutely obsessed with everything from colour combinations, facial expressions, to the perception of space and fluidity of shape. Since I have started taking so many things in, I have the necessity to let some of it out too.

BM – So is your feeling of necessity a compulsion? From my own experience, the creative act is almost like a drug I need to stay sane, and I get very frustrated if I can’t work for an extended period of time.

IM – Oh yes, definitely. You can say it’s a compulsion, where the obsession would be the looking. I get extremely fidgety and overwhelmed by everything if I haven’t been painting for a day or so.

BM – Going back to your use of space and shape, where do the distortions of and experiments with these come from? Do you see those things as they appear in your work, or do you intentionally distort them, and if so, for what purpose?

IM – I aim for realism in my work. What I mean by that is, that there is no way to portray any three-dimensional thing on a two-dimensional plane with no distortion. All things have an infinite amount of looks attached to them, and I try to grasp a bit of that essence. I will go about doing that to my advantage, by morphing it the right way to contribute to formal aspects of the work. I have noticed a fundamental change in how I see things, maybe it’s my growing astigmatism or a perception disorder.

BM – Your use of colour is also interesting, it’s as if Francis Bacon had a child with Henri Matisse, and that child grew up to be Igor Moritz. Who are your biggest influences and how do those influences trickle down into your work?

IM – Colour is another phenomenon that is an obsession of mine, and a big driving force in my work. The two you mentioned above know how to use it brilliantly, and are two of the big loves of my life. In terms of colour I’m humbled by Kandinsky’s work from the late 1930s – he seemed to have figured it out. Other artists I look up to would include people like Kirchner, Tal R, Freud, Degas and portraits from the Polish master Witkacy.

BM – So lets talk a bit about the technicality of your works. You are unquestionably a brilliant draftsman but your drawing technique is quite unusual. Tell me about the way you soak paper in linseed oil and how this alters the work.

IM – I don’t know if I can be credited with the invention of that technique but I haven’t seen it used by anyone else. What I do is soak the back of the paper in linseed oil, so that the paper has a sort-of self-lubricating feel to it. When drawing on it with coloured pencils the crushed pigment seems to connect with oil and create an opaque and vibrant finish. What is unusual is that the drawings dry like paintings would, so they do not smudge when done.

BM – Would you say your practice is dependent on experimentation in general?

IM – I just don’t want things to go stale. So I constantly try to find new and better ways of doing what I do.

BM – How have your design-based studies influenced your painting?

IM – It has definitely provided me with a greater insight and respect for objects. It has made me understand the dead things that have a lot of soul and an emotional presence too.

BM – Dead things in what sense?

IM – Sorry I got that from the Polish – in Polish a still life is called Dead Nature. I meant objects, so things like chairs, cups, tables, and scissors etc.

BM – Oh, I like it. So do you approach a ‘dead thing’ any differently to how you approach painting the living?

IM – Not anymore, I hope to be able to paint a chair with as much emotion as someone I love.

To view more of Igor’s work, please click THIS LINK

To purchase prints, please click THIS LINK

 

Originally published in This Is Tomorrow


Remi Rough in conversation with Dr. Charley Peters

Remi Rough (b. 1971, London, UK) began making paintings on walls and trains in South London in the 1980s. A respected train writer, Remi has maintained a dynamic presence on the street while developing a prolific profile as a studio painter, recently showing at MOCA (London), Wunderkammen Gallery (Rome), Zimmerling & Jungfleisch (Saarbrucken) and ArtScience Museum (Singapore).

I spoke to the artist about the formal concerns of his work, his relationship with definitions of his practice, and the legacy of abstraction in the ongoing evolution of his paintings.

remi rough portrait

Installation at Quarry Bay Station, Hong Kong for MTRHK and Swire Properties.
Hong Kong 2018.

[Charley Peters] How do you feel at this point in your career about definitions of your work as ‘graffiti art’? Could you say something about the relationship between your work on the street and the paintings you make in the studio, presumably they may have different audiences or you might apply a shift in logic in your approaches to both practices? 
[Remi Rough] I can totally live with the word ‘graffiti’, it’s other terms I’m a lot less comfortable with. I often use the term ‘post graffiti’ as I think it best describes where I am personally with the kind of work that I make now.
I don’t consciously make any shift in logic between my studio work and work in public spaces, to me the same rules apply. If i’m honest the work outside is a lot easier because you can hide behind your mistakes due to the scale you’re working to. The studio work if anything is a more refined version of the works I do publicly.
[CP] Are there any terms that you feel comfortable with in terms of how you would define yourself as an artist? 
[RR] I really think that what I do sits in-between so many brackets it’s actually quite hard to pinpoint what genre (if any), it is. Contemporary is fine for me, as I mentioned before ‘post graffiti’ as an adjective to the work is fine also. I used to use the term painter but even that has less importance to me now. I have ideas way beyond just paint on surface.
remi rough canvas

The Absolute _ 2017
Graphite, acrylic and spray paint on herringbone linen
120 x 120cm

[CP] How would you describe your working process?
[RR] Mathematical… I don’t think people really know just how much mathematics goes into the work I create. Without maths I’d be completely lost. I use geometry to plan the paintings I make and from there I start to build the images up from simple graphite lines to taped, primed sections to final colour forms. It’s a slow process with tape and paint as drying times are essential to every layer.
[CP] You engage actively in processes of collaboration with other artists. In some ways this is at odds with our conventional definitions of a studio artist – could you talk through your approach to collaboration and how it enhances or supplements the work you make as an individual artist?
[RR] As young graffiti writers we collaborated constantly. You have to remember that graffiti is the only art form ever created by and taken forward by children and with that there are less oppressive egos and much more openness to working together. We don’t have the foibles of most adult artists about working together and sharing what we do. Nowadays I like the challenge of working alongside and with other artists. I think about the end results and the process in equal terms. I get a lot from this process. For example one artist I have done a lot of work with over the past few years is NAWER from Poland. As well as being a fantastic artist and amazing designer he’s a good friend and we’ve both learnt loads from each other. Working out how to make our styles of work sit comfortably together in a space and not vie for attention against each other is a big challenge but we seem to have found a great way of working. I am not precious about my work when I’m collaborating, I think big decisions about the people you work with are very important too.
[CP] You use a very particular colour palette, how important is colour to you and how do you make decisions about its presence in your painting?
[RR] A think a lot of the colour decisions happen during the drawing process. I tend to make notes on particular palettes and see what works for what painting. Weirdly the paintings I make are often not wholly pre-meditated. A lot happens as it happens so to speak.
That said I tend to change colours quite a lot during making work too. I seem to have a strong sense of what is needed and when. I think if graffiti has taught me one thing it’s knowing when to stop.
[CP] You make many art historical references in your painting – alluding to movements including Suprematism, Constructivism and Neo-Plasticism. I find this interesting as much work that is derived from a practice on the street fails to look beyond or be defined outside of popular culture as a frame of reference. How do these modernist references provide a context for your own painting? How does your work challenge or develop what art history has shown us?
[RR] Graffiti as an art form is one of the last true abstract movements. We took letters, we distorted them and abstracted them way beyond their original form. There were no boundaries, rules or limitations. I was always looking beyond populist references whether it was Dali or Mondrian or later when I started educating myself about history of art and understanding the limitless options of where I could take my work. As I have never been formally educated in art I have always taken it upon myself to fill my mind with knowledge both academic and visual. Hence the discovery of De Stijl, Constructivism, Vorticism, Bauhas and beyond. The context for me lies in the beginnings of all these movements. I was part of the inception of a similar important and historical movement. My life and the lives of Malevich, Van Doesburg or the suprematists are intertwined. I needed to find a voice within my work, I needed to find a structure and as the letter gradually fell away, the words that I painted become the architecture that surrounds us or the magazines we read or the interiors we live in. It’s all part of our cultural fabric and seemingly more evident now then ever before as we don’t have to fight oppressive governments to be heard or seen and don’t have to hide what we do because it’s deemed inappropriate. It’s still coded language much like graffiti writing but it’s easier to translate now.
remi rough wall painting

Concise
Part of the ‘Art from the streets’ exhibition at the Art Science Museum, Singapore
Singapore 2018.

[CP] At times it feels that you are appropriating modernist aesthetics, such as your works based on Malevich’s Black Square, which appear as a mashup of original referent and your own concerns with making paintings. I’m intrigued by this as a contemporary – or at least familiarly postmodern – form of authorship. Is there any direct relationship between this strategy of visual ‘sampling’ and the work you do with music?  
[RR] It’s all remixing. Malevich didn’t invent the ‘black square’ he simply found a channel for it. Everything we do is a remix to a certain degree. Every word we speak has been uttered trillions of times already. Every image exists in some way shape or form already, it’s how you choose to re-imagine it that makes for interesting art. As much as I love a lot of that early suprematist work I think a lot of it wasn’t quite where it should be in terms of composition or finish. We can look at those origins now and inform new work with similarly imbued aesthetics and tweak the compositions and the finishes and add something that just wasn’t possible in the early 20th Century.
[CP] I was wondering, given your interest in formalism, how important is the presence of the ‘image’ in your work?
[RR] The image is everything and nothing. I guess it isn’t that important to me but once work becomes known as a style or an aesthetic does it not become an image by default? 
My main concern with painting is to push the boundaries of this as far as possible but still retain some kind of stylistic approach. To never make the same painting twice but for the viewer to know exactly what and who they are looking at I guess.
For more work by Remi Rough, visit his website HERE
And for more by Charley Peters, visit her website HERE
Remi Rough and Charley Peters are both exhibiting as part of the three-way collaborative show Interlude at The House Of Saint Barnabus alongside Peter Lamb – on until the end of March.
For more guest articles, check out Rowan Newton interviewing Robin Footitt HERE