Frame 61

Oli Epp

Frame 61
Oli Epp
 

“The paintings are confessional and they are often an outcome of my relationship with the world, through a capitalist lens obsessed with commerce and technology.”

 

Your paintings offer an accurate depiction of today’s society, as an artist, do you adopt a voyeuristic position towards society or rather a participatory one?

As an artist I act as both a voyeur and a participator in my work. The paintings are confessional and they are often an outcome of my relationship with the world, through a capitalist lens obsessed with commerce and technology. I spend a lot of time reflecting on the things that I do and see. I’m always observing internally and externally.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?

I’m a happy-go-lucky human being that lives a dynamic and artistic lifestyle. I graduated two years ago from City & Guilds of London Art School and have been painting full time since graduating.

‘Germaphobe’ Richard Heller Gallery 2019

‘Germaphobe’ Richard Heller Gallery 2019

'Security Theft' 2019

'Big Croc' 2019

Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like?

My studio is based in Chancery Lane. I usually get to the studio around 8:30pm. I like to get stuck in as soon as I arrive so I often just pick up where I left off. Masking out areas or mixing and applying paint. I love that I don’t have a routine - each day is so different from the other. Sometimes I’ll slip off at lunch time and head to some galleries or Museums. Last week I went to the V&A with artist John Greenwood to check out the Indian Miniatures which were wildly impressive - have such great art close by is definitely one of the benefits of being in the heart of London. My studio is large and covered with pigments. I recently started using a spray gun in the studio and right now everything has a purple sheen of pigment dust on it. I think my studio is as chaotic and busy as my brain - it’s a pretty accurate description of what goes on up there!

Your solo show 'Contactless' at Richard Heller Gallery in LA was a huge success, you have managed to create universally recognisable characters, which elements or behaviours do you find in today’s society that are common almost everywhere?

Obsessions, addictions, neuroses, desire, love, hate, anxiety, power… I think these are all at the core of human nature. Though my characters don’t have facial features, they channel emotion through behaviour and their relationship with objects and technology. My painting, ‘The Germophobe’, that featured in the show depicts a naked character drying his body by putting his limbs into Dyson airblades. It speaks about  a sterile, consumerist society and is laced with anxiety and neuroses.

'Contactless' Installation shot, Richard Heller Gallery 2019

'Contactless' Installation shot, Richard Heller Gallery 2019

‘Alexa’ 2018

‘Cash in Hand’ 2019

'Contactless' Installation shot, Richard Heller Gallery 2019

'Contactless' Installation shot, Richard Heller Gallery 2019

What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?

‘Double Infinity’ by Benjamin Spiers has been on my mind a lot lately. His solo show at Carl Kostyal London, which I’m curating, called ‘Hook and Cook’ opens 27 June. The work is mesmerising - the shapes, and symbols… He’s definitely one to watch.

Your work is intrinsically humorous, is there a critique behind it or rather a humanistic appreciation?

My work has a satirical twist but without a moral position. I don’t want to cast judgment, but catalyse reflection and shine light on aspects of society today.

Your story is one of great success, what advice would you give to someone starting as an artist in a big city like London?

Have faith and confidence in your ideas no matter how peculiar they may be.

Studio Shot London

Studio Shot London

Studio Shot London

Oli Epp, photo by Hannah Burton

How do you go about naming your work?

Titles come to me like epiphanies. You’ll often hear me chuckling when I’ve had a really good idea. Usually the titles are created whilst I’m drawing in my sketchbook. The titles frequently change mid-way through making a painting as I’m constantly thinking about the cultural tropes, feelings and references around the theme I’m exploring.

Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about?

My next exhibition is a two Person show called ‘Karma’ with Roxanne Jackson (a NYC based ceramicist) at DUVE Gallery Berlin. The paintings will be riddled with tragic humour, fortune and misfortune… I’m currently working on a piece called Death by Chocolate. That’s all I can say for now… the show opens 12th of September 2019.

oliepp.com

richardhellergallery.com

Publish date: 13/06/2019
All images courtsey of the artist