An interview with Ian Law – by Roshan Langley

Heres a few quick questions from Ian Law! With a background in Architecture and a growing interest in our surroundings and “how our surroundings shape us” Ian Law’s pieces are diverse yet apparent in topics of the modern day. Join ianlaw-neukolln.jpgus at our International Women’s Day show!

 

Who would you say is an inspiration behind your art and how have they impacted it?

I’d say my earliest influences were superhero comic books. I spent much of my early teens copying the works from the pages of the X-Men and Spiderman series. I also remember Alphonse Mucha had a big impact on me so I guess its the level of graphic draughtsmanship that appealed to me. My love of painting came really later on when I discovered the works of Lucian Freud and Jenny Saville. I love how their subject is almost solely about the human body. There’s something very pure in that. Other painters I admire are Sebastian Schrader, John Singer Sargent, Euan Uglow and Diarmud Kelley. to see what works and what doesn’t.

What do you think is different about your art?

ianlaw-painting-art-jessI wouldn’t say I’m making a conscious effort to be different right now in any way. My priority is on learning how to control paint technically and

What is it you really want to say through your various works?

Right now I’m drawn to a sort of social documentation and how our surroundings shape us, I think it has something to do with my background in studying architecture; and something that is a growing concern is how difficult it is to work as an artist in London. Rising rent pushing artists further and further out. The housing crisis is a similar thing and we can all see first-hand how these issues affect people.  These are things I would like my work to speak of in some way. I think some of my work (particularly the Berlin series produced in 2009 against the backdrop of the global recession and the 20-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall) manages to do this.

How do you see your art developing over the next 10 years?ianlaw-portrait

Over the last 6 years or so I have been painting occasionally under the pseudonym of ‘Clyde’. His work is more colourful and many references are drawn from pop-culture. Clyde’s name is derived from the orangutang  from the 1978 movie ‘Every Which Way But Loose’ where he is the playful counterpoint to Clint Eastwood’s gruff central character. In 10 years time I see more of a synthesis between Clyde’s work an my present work.

What would you say is the purpose of your art?

The primary purpose is for myself.  Its the freedom of expression that excites me. It is something not done for any commercial value so I have the freedom to do as I please and the slow process of painting can be a sort of therapeutic antidote for this fast-paced city.

An Interview with Carolyn Whittaker – by Roshan Langley

Another amazing artist the Sweet ‘Art team has had the pleasure to interview is Carolyn Whittaker! Being one of the few artists who works with the concept of time so closely throughout their art, Whittaker is a must see at the Hand Maid event on International Women’s day! 5th of March.

 

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As I understand, you work a lot with time and its inevitability, why?

My draw to time based works relate to the parallels with the way we conduct our lives; in that while we are able to influence our destiny to varying degrees depending on many socio economic circumstances, the only thing we can be sure of is that the passage of time will act as an agent to change things in some way.

What do you think is different about your art?

I never set out to make art that was deliberately ‘different’ so this is a tricky question to answer as it wasn’t my main motivation and there are many artists out there who work with time. However, possibly my ‘difference’ is perhaps the contrasting way that I deal with time in my work. By this I mean the contrast between the materials I use; the transformations through the metamorphosis of my ice, ice cream and jelly works can be experienced usually over the course of a few hours; while any changes to my immutable bronze or stone works will take place over an exponentially opposite timeframe. There is something here about wanting to make a mark as an Artist that is both fleeting and lasting

What is it you really want to say through your various works?

I want to say to people, ‘Look and my work and decide what it means to you’.

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How do you see your art developing over the next 10 years?

Well as a female Artist who started this path later in life, it pains me to say that I am too old to win the Turner Prize! However I remain inspired by the likes of Philida Barlow who obtained recognition and emerged as an Artist later in her life. Louise Bourgeois continued making inspirational work until her death at 98! That gives me 46 more years to make work!  I am also privileged to have studied with and know other talented female artists who all explore sculpture in a challenging way. I think together and individually we could do some exciting things, building on what Saatchi has recently done with ‘Champagne Life’; the gallery’s first all-female show. We need to celebrate the strength and diversity of art made by women today, and it seems remarkable that in the 21st century women are still severely underrepresented in galleries, museums and auction houses,

 

Your work is so varied in purpose and portrayal, who or what is your main inspiration for the production of your pieces?Metamorphosis Asylum 2014

In terms of ‘who’; there are too many Artists to draw on really, but in addition to Barlow and Bourgeois, my time based drawing work Marking Now was inspired by the amazing Japanese conceptual Artist On Kawara and his Today Series.  There is also some Marlene Dumas in there somewhere too.

In terms of ‘what’; risk and allowing the viewer to experience risk, is what I think drives me to produce the ephemeral pieces in the way that I do.

An interview with Laura New – by Roshan Langley

Laura New, all round talented artist and we here at Sweet ‘Art have had the brilliant opportunity to ask her a few questions about her and her work! Heres what she had to say!

 

 Who would you say is an inspiration beBethan+toned.jpghind your art and how have they impacted it?

Certainly at the moment I am pretty fanatical about performance artist Marina Abramović for the very reason that she works with the concept of simplicity as the basis for her work which is very much what I try to do with my own.  She’s also infectiously determined and her courageousness and self-belief are something to aspire to.

 

 What do you think is different about your art? 

It feels hard to consider anything as ‘different’ anymore. I’m certainly not trying to break any mould, I just really enjoy making work and am always concentrating on trying to improve and develop with every piece.

 What is it you really want to say through your various works?

I try to keep it simple. Deconstructing very simple ideas or moments and spending time examining that over large series of work.

 

 How do you see your art developing over the next 10 years?

I don’t really think about where it might be so far into the future. Every piece is a way to learn mistakes to avoid in the next and so on. I used to be terrified of portraiture because the pressure to a
chieve likeness was so overwhelming it became frustratingly obstructive, so I had no idea 5 years ago for instance that I would find myself doing an entire series of portraits.  This is why the Eyes Closed series has been somewhat challenging because I’ve had to push those boundaries I  made for myself. Also in all honesty, achieving a likeness is much harder without Kingfisher I.jpg
the recognisable gaze of the subject and so by eliminating that I unwittingly made it even harder! I do though plan to continue with portraiture and figurative studies after this series is finished.

 What would you say is the purpose of your art? 

It’s something in my life that I feel consistently compelled to do. I have never stopped making and don’t think I ever would. By making it a priority, I commit myself to it but I would be lying if I didn’t also admit that one of the drivers for consistently working is the affirmation that I receive for doing so. I realise that is quite a controversial thing to admit but my self-worth is intrinsically linked to the output of my own work and the reaction I receive from viewers, the offers of further exhibitions and the way that what I do leads to other areas of creativity. I don’t expect to please everyone but for those I do I get a great deal of satisfaction out of it which helps fight the ever present feeling of self doubt that I think all artists suffer from. Therefore I suppose, the purpose is simply by examining things in my life through my work I am only really seeking to further value and understand myself.

 

 

In your series ‘Eyes Closed’ is there a deeper meaning? What is the significance of the eyes being closed? Eyes Closed self portrait (Laura) detail1.jpg

I’m so much more comfortable with creating work based on simple concepts and then complicating them.  Things you might not necessarily spend time pondering.  In this instance , the starting point of this series was when I asked to draw from a photograph of someone I used to know.  He happened to have his eyes closed in the picture and I noticed how much this changed the portrayal of him.  This was a person who’s genuine vulnerability was very cleverly masked in most part but the simple capture of him with his eyes closed showed something quite different.  Although posed, he seemed far gentler and kinder than he really was. By choosing to draw from this image I wanted to almost ritualistically observe that moment in detail.

After that one I wanted to see how this would work with others so began to ask people to take photographs for me. Most of these people I know well, admire in many cases but others were unknown to me.  Interestingly that by way of approaching them in order to ask for them to take part in the project, I have ended up having long running dialogues with them, learned more about them and so established a different element to the relationship with that person.

I also started to think about how these drawings reminded me of death masks and in a similar way of creating a cast of someone’s face in death, they become mementos of the moment the image came into existence and the place they existed in my own life. I can eventually imagine standing in a room of these portraits and being able to tell a story about each one and the connection between each person.

 

Eyes Closed - Gwilym.jpg What are your practice techniques and routines? How do you start and develop your new projects? 

When I’m working I tend to do so quite intensively.  I spend many hours and days at a time working solidly because time is precious when working with so much detail.  It’s the time between these intensive periods that I think of something new that I want to work on.  Then I begin researching and developing the idea and then it just seems to be a natural progress from there.

 

 

 

You have done a lot of illustration work, do you feel more attached to that practice?

I consider my illustration work to be quite separate and I really enjoy working to a client’s brief and being part of bringing together someone else’s ideas. Music is hugely important to me and lately I have been working with a number of bands to produce the artwork for their album covers, websites etc. I’m also now working exclusively with the band Saint Agnes and contributing in terms of artistic direction, creating illustrations, props and image ideas for videos.  I’ve found this work to be very fulfilling in a different way as working collaboratively is extremely rewarding.

 

Your works are very clear, and detailed, is this something which has developed over the years or something which just came naturally? How does it benefit your images also? 

I went to art school at a time where technique and execution came second to theory and the conceptual awareness of an idea itself. I was longing for a strict regime of life drawing and a more ‘traditional’ form of teaching and whilst I enjoyed the freedom of looking at my ideas and executing them expressively, I did feel I missed out on something. So after finishing my degree, I spent many years of my own practice studying still life in the form of taxidermy and entomology. I bought skulls to draw and paint from and spent time at the Angela Marmont Centre at the Natural History Museum where they allowed me to use one of the labs to study the huge array of insects, some of which were  original specimens. I have put hundreds of hours into drawing birds and animals purely for the purpose of improving my drawing skills but found that often these were the pieces people wanted to buy.

With that amount of continual practice I have reached a point where I can execute ideas with a technical confidence I didn’t have before but there’s so much more I want to learn.

An interview with Sal Jones – By Roshan Langley

Its been one hell of a week! The Sweet ‘Art team are go go go! in preparation for the new and upcoming event in London starting the 5th of March: Hand Maid!

As the new (and gorgeous) intern, and as a part of the Sweet ‘Art team! I would like to give you a sneak peak at some of the artists who you will be amazed, gob smacked and slightly confused by. We are delighted to have been able to interview artist Sal Jones, giving you glimpses into her subjects inner most thoughts, “The surface is seductive; washes, drips and textured mark-making with saturated colour add an energy and drama to the work. References to cinematography, film noir and photography, are apparent, close-up, directional lighting heavy shadows and cropping.” (Sal Jones Blog) 

1. Who would you say is an inspiration behind your art and how have they impacted it?

Well I don’t think that there is one particular person who is an inspiration or who has had that much impact – of course there are lots of artists whose work I like/admire/love but they are not necessarily painters I am drawn to visuals that appeal aesthetically and in the nature of the materials and how they are used. I am also influenced by other creative forms, film, music, writing/lyrics etc.ijustdidntwanthintoleave webready (2)

If you mean ‘who’ as in subjects – then it really can be anyone – it depends on whether I am selecting a subject for a specific idea, series or need a character. In some cases I have been inspired by a particular themed character and roles played. For instance in my ‘Leading ladies’ series, or the ‘Truth’ triptych.

Often I will use images that I have taken that are not meant to represent a specific person but more of a mood/story/emotional state and I don’t intend them to be ‘portraits’, such as in the ‘unreliability of perception’ series.

2. What do you think is different about your art?

Does art NEED to be different? That’s a toughie – I think all artists experiment and try things out – which is different for themselves but not necessarily for everyone else. You could also argue that every artwork in the nature of the creative process is ‘different’. I hope my art will communicate or resonate with the observer on some level and therefore that it is worth looking at and spending time with. I am not overly concerned with trying to be different, that’s just another distraction that can block progress – I just respond to images and objects, whatever happens to grab my attention and express what comes to me with the paint.

3. What is it you really want to say through your various works?

What I can’t say in words.

this-is-hopeless (from - leading ladies)Genuinely brilliant answer! Just what we at Sweet ‘Art like to hear.

4. How do you see your art developing over the next 10 years?

I hope to become a better and more confident artist – through practice and perseverance. The subjects and directions will be dictated with the process to a certain extent and what is affecting me or having an influence on me at the time.

On a practical level – I would like to work towards an exhibition that shows a whole series of connected works and also I would be interested in possibly collaborating on a project.

(hint hint!)

5. What would you say is the purpose of your art?

Goodness, I think the ‘purpose’ of all art is to make life more stimulating, for both the artist and the viewer; art is our culture and our civilisation – it defines us. I’m not sure if that is just a fact, a purpose or a reason?!

6. How do you practice as an artist using found images as a starting point?

Well that is usually in terms of a gut response either intuitively working from or with an object that already exists, therefore having it’s own history (which influences outcome) – or coming across an image that inspires me. In most cases, with recent work, I am taking a photograph and re-interpreting it as a painting. I usually always have a starting point of an image rather than totally inventing compositions, but I will use ‘artistic license’ and not copy exactly and I’m not interested in creating photorealist images. I use photographs as references for planning compositions often digitally manipulating or montaging to try out variations. That’s not to say that random accidents and experimentation does not have an influence too. I respond and react and re-interpret, I suppose, but I like to keep an energy to the work, with gestural marks; sometimes I overwork a piece and get tighter and I find the painting can lose something. I have to consider when to stop, and it’s not always easy.out-of-me (from -unrelaibility of perception)

7. Why do you use other images as inspiration?

We are bombarded with images everyday – you can’t escape their influence – whether TV/film or other media, they are there! We live in a virtual reality most of the time these days…

I am also interested in the idea of the reproduced image and in layers of fiction. I take an image (which is already a reproduction of reality) and interpret it in one way (and use dialogue for titles) and that is then read in a new way (not knowing the original source) by the viewer; this way stories develop – everyone transforming/distorting the image in some way.

8. The choice of colour in your paintings are breath taking, why did you choose this approach? Is there a deeper meaning to this?

(ironic you should ask this – as I’ll be showing some B&W at the next Sweetart show!!)

But yes colour in painting has always been something I find I am naturally drawn to, I enhance what I see – something I picked up on years ago when studying art – the freedom to interpret colour has stayed with me. I use colour to set mood and interpret light and shadow on surfaces and skin, I hope it adds to the emotion, expression and energy of the piece.  without-me-theyre-nothing.jpg