“I think space helps us remember people more effectively than the other way around. I leave my work void of a lot of things, human presence included, because the more i leave out the more the viewer has to fill in the gaps.”
Interview by: Issey Scott
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I’m from London and embarrassingly have never really left - I hope that's not too noticeable. I've been working in my studio since I left school 6 years ago. After my A-levels (about 18) I decided not to go on to study at university, I think it was because the fees went up, and figured that as its hard enough to make money in the arts, I didn't want to bankrupt myself before I had even started trying. I was also excited about the idea of working in my own space, to try it out for real. I definitely missed out on tons of things, but at the same time, I got to know myself and how I work best pretty quickly. So no regrets.
You state that you are interested in evoking emotions rather than facts; as the former can be fleeting and sporadic, how do you think photography can be used to respond to this?
Photographing familiar surroundings for their abstract qualities is a good place to start. How something you have never seen before can make you think of home, or even be a trigger for something you had forgotten. It is the memory that a photograph holds and then causes that is fleeting and sporadic, because memories are. I want to include this aspect of photography in my artwork.
Your work is notably void of human presence; do you feel that environments and physical surroundings can be equally potent in memories as humans?
I made a smell profile of my grandmas house last year and it was scarily powerful which freaked my mum out. The weird thing was that once I had replicated the smell we all started to remember other aspects/small details of her house that we hadn't thought about in years. And then even weirder, but just as i'd hoped, when i first showed the smell profile at an exhibition, the first person to walk in looked confused and asked why the space smelt of his grandmas house - maybe a generational smell but it worked.
I think space helps us remember people more effectively than the other way around. I leave my work void of a lot of things, human presence included, because the more i leave out the more the viewer has to fill in the gaps. making their ultimate experience with the work personal to them. By leaving the canvas raw or painting spaces at night, a lot of the work is left blank to give space for imagination, its a mechanism or tool in the same way that a camera or a photograph is.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
I loved Francis Upritchard at the Barbican, funny terrifying and beautiful, the three vital ingredients for the perfect partner and in this case artwork - I want to try and include more humour in my work.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like?
My studio is in Bounds Green in North London which is where I grew up. I work alone which is perfect some times but kinda sad when i realise its 3 pm and I haven't spoken once. Ideally i'd be part of a large studio complex with lots of others as I didn't experience that at university but London is so expensive you have to take what you can get! I have just given my studio a face lift and now have some nice white walls to look at while i'm working... in complete stone-cold silence...
How do you go about naming your work?
I struggle with naming, sometimes it comes very easily and it appears as the work is completed, other times I have to spend a lot of time thinking about if its worth risking naming it. I worry that people read in to the naming of work too much, mine are quite simple and self explanatory - that’s if I name them at all. I use a lot of song lyrics, if they seem relevant, I love it when a song somehow tells you what your work is about, as long as its not 'Champagne Supernova'
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?
I’m working on putting on a group show of small works, currently thinking about location options. I have been making these mantle pieces, referencing the weird things people choose to put on them and why and want to do a show of other peoples works above, or on my mantle pieces. I’m also looking at residential spaces to house a one work per room exhibition where each chosen artist gets a room to exhibit one artwork, it can be theirs or another artists, and then they can decorate the room to compliment the work in which ever way they see fit. So much of my work is about the home, and would like to take it a step further and make the actual home an artwork.
All images are courtesy of the artist
Date of publication: 21/01/19