“We are such adaptable creatures, shaped by our environment yet also capable of shaping our environment, its such a weird thought.”
Interview by Brooke Hailey Hoffert
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? Where did you study?
I’ve moved around quite a lot over the years - I grew up in Bristol and have been living in London for the last 6 years or so.
I’ve just finished my Postgrad at the Slade. I did the MFA in sculpture, although I don’t really see myself as a Sculptor as such; I’ve got a quite a varied practice and often move between disciplines. I could’ve just as well done an MFA in painting, but hoped sculpture would push me to expand my framework more. I’m pleased thats the way it went.
I’ve always been quite flighty, interested in everything - particularly making stuff. I grew up with my Dad and sister, he was a young single parent , very industrious and somehow managed to turn all the domestic stuff into fun things to do together. He was always working on our flat and built everything himself - from a young age I learned about how things were made and that your environment is also something you can adapt or improve.
My Gran was an artist, what people would describe as a Sunday painter ( allthough she painted all the time , so not quite sure its right). She taught my sister and I to draw and paint as a way of keeping us entertained , and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s the part of my practice that makes me most content.
Ive worked as both an artist and a builder( or a maker) of some sort since I left secondary school. I got my first studio when I was 19 which was above a church in Southampton, and have kept that running ever since, taking it with me every time I moved.
You stated that over the last few years that your work expires the “combination of foreboding and excitement.” How did you get started with that idea?
Ah, well actually I was talking about industrial ruins (I think), but it comes back round as my piece ‘the other side of nothing “ was based around this theme.
I was really into painting graffiti for long time, I often went out with friends exploring warehouses and vacant spaces, and they always had a very specific feeling about them for me; a kind of heaviness mixed with a sense of opportunity.
There’s something slightly apocalyptic about ruins, especially new ones- witnessing something from our world (a warehouse or a petrol station) slip into another timeline offers a glimpse of an ending. Yet on the other hand they provide a freedom of possibility that exists outside of the normal frame.
We see this within our cities and ecosystems, that a void is filled by something new- there’s a relationship between decline and growth, endings and beginnings and I find that really interstesting.
What inspires you to create work that explores the relationship between people and place?
I guess I’m still working it out, but I’ve always been fascinated by travel and seeing how different life can be in other places. Every city, every place offers its own way of doing things, its own model of existence- I find this super exciting ; that human experience is not fixed but infinitely adaptable.
I’m very affected by place, different landscapes can totally change the way I think or feel, something I try and articulate in works like Stokie common, or madidi . Other works take a more macro look at the way people relate to place, a show i did (called Rise and Fall) looked at legacy projects, monuments and infrastructure builds which seem to manifest an internal desire to for people to extend beyond the limits of their mortality.
We are such adaptable creatures, shaped by our environment yet also capable of shaping our environment, its such a weird thought. I think my work often gravitates towards things like this; macro ideas that I find hard to reconcile. My drawings often build up out of layers of contrasting marks, architectural structures and organic shapes. I think these function as an attempt to map complex systems.
What artwork have you seen recently that has resonated with you?
Well , honestly I’ve not been to see much lately, I reached a saturation point after the SLade so have been hanging out with friends and swimming in rivers mainly.
That being said, I went to a dinner at Carlos Ishikawa last week that I found pretty interesting-there was a beer and music and a load of Oscar Murillo’s Sculptures/mannequins sat amongst the guests. It felt quite weird to have them sit with us, joining in. It had the effect of making everything around the objects part of the work; the cooking, the laughter- It was nice. I like it when art slips out of its expected frameworks.
How do you go about naming your work?
I usually just use place names, markers or labels of sorts that don’t try and push too much onto the work. My degree show was called ‘the other side of nothing’ , which just popped into my head. I don’t like titles to feel too forced.
Tell us a bit about how you spend your day / studio routine? What is your studio like
ah, thats a slightly complicated just now…
I was supposed to be going to Hong Kong for a couple of months , but thats just been postponed so my routine is a bit up in the air just now (seeing as I just sublet my studio, doh!)
Ordinarily my studio is in Tottenham. Its nice, a ground floor unit in a typical London warehouse space, with a nice walk along the River Lea to get to it.
My routine shifts around depending on what I’m doing. I tend to work quite intensively on a whole series and then have a more tentative period where I recharge and do other things; fabrication work, go see shows, read or go climbing or whatever. I keep the studio as a clean/painting space and then make object based stuff at a workshop round the corner. I used to do it all in one space but in the end I decided dust and oil paint don’t go that well together!
Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about
Right now I’m working on a ceramics project, which has been pretty interesting as I knew absolutely nothing about the material before I started. Its part of residency at Rochester Square , which I’ve expanded to include a sculpture collaboration between me an Kazuki Nishinga. I’m pretty excited about, although I wont say too much as we’re still not quite sure what it is yet. We’ll show some of the works at Rochester Sq in late Sept/Oct
I’ve got work showing in New Conteporaries -, the Leeds opening for that is coming up soon. And hopefully this Hong Kong residency happens some time soon, It looks like maybe October now.
All images are courtesy of the artist
Publish date: 21/08/19