"I remember learning to read myself and how the words were unreadable and jumbled up on the page, the sort of blurriness within the work relates to how the page looked blurry whilst attempting to read."
Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practising artist and where did you study?
I was born in south London and I am currently based in Brixton. My family is very creative in many different fields; my father is a Picasso loathing Sculptor, aunt and uncle stained glass artists and this of course has had an impact on my own work. Before I started studying Fine art at City and Guilds of London art school I enrolled in a Graphic Design BA at Camberwell, I felt that Graphic Design was not for me because of the structure, making work for other people and as a business. Graphic Design has played a bit part in my own creative language, being surrounded by friends and family whom work solely in this field it has opened my eyes to work on paper and on web.
I have just completed my BA at City and Guilds of London Art School, I was really happy to find an institution that was smaller and more intimate, whilst having the luxury of a massive studio throughout the three years with great tutors and opportunities along the degree.
You recently had your Graduation show, how do you feel it went?
I was overwhelmed by how many people showed up, new and old faces. I am humbled by the great response and showed interest. Having the opportunity to discuss and read the works with the people that showed up ended up being a really positive experience. Having been a bit nervous pre-show I now feel super chuffed how it all went, exhausted but happy.
Some of your works appear to depict symbols, almost like some sort of mysterious language. Could you tell us about these works and the meaning behind them?
A great deal of my research has been based on hieroglyphics and their use of symbols and language that have been deemed incomprehensible in some way. Having these unreadable symbols within the work ‘Looking for Words’ relates to the process of learning to read and write with dyslexia. Repetition, copying, highlighting, and the perception of textual shape and form were some of the coping strategies I used to overcome these difficulties.
I remember learning to read myself and how the words were unreadable and jumbled up on the page, the sort of blurriness within the work relates to how the page looked blurry whilst attempting to read. To describe these language forms that I experienced as lacking in definition, I have been using a spray gun to produce soft, diffused marks. This tool has been a key part in my process allowing me to build contrast within the works.
As my work has progressed within this theme I have been relating it to my own personal experiences. Writing my dissertation was a huge part of me realizing and remembering a lot of my past experiences with learning to read and write. I have been looking at handwriting sheets and directly referencing pages from books and notebooks. This has informed the work greatly, using these as starting points for paintings and drawings I have been abstracting them with blurred text and line. I am really interested in their formal structure as well as them being very conceptually relevant. The placement and composition of the individual pieces is integral to the outcome of the work. I build installations, where works have been layered, stacked, leaned and arranged in order to occupy physical space.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day/studio routine? What is your studio like?
It usually starts with cycling to the studio listening to The Do!! You!! Show with Charlie bones on NTS radio. Arriving at the studio I listen to some Aphex Twin, the order to the rest of my actions in the studio are dependent on day and mood. The most concrete and sacred ritual in the studio is playing Electronica.
By writing lists I keep track on where I am at, writing notes for myself as reminders of thoughts that relates to what I am doing with a particular painting or series of work helps to structure my other wise jumbled head. I find it hard to sit still so I usually schedule some sort of mission to break the day up, visiting galleries, studio meetings or lunch plans (which usually involves some sort falafel or jerk chicken)
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
Wolfgang Tillman’s solo show at the Tate Modern left a big impact on me, I have become really interested in Tillman’s work after seeing a book called ‘Abstract pictures’ a few years ago. The curation of his works I find really interesting, I particularly like the style of hanging works in and around corners, also having works placed higher/lower than eye level. His subject matters are so varied but sit perfectly together within the space.
How do you go about naming your work?
I was naming a lot of paintings after track and album names for a while. Usually it’s after an album that has been on repeat in the studio as I am making the work. This has been a constant for the past couple of years. But recently in the latest series I have been naming paintings after words that relate to reading and writing.
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
I am currently working on a group show with two friends, Ziggy Grudzinskas and Robin Seir, More info coming soon.
All images courtesy of the artist
Publish date 01/08/2017