Frame 61

Issa Salliander

Frame 61
Issa Salliander

Could you tell us a bit about yourself. How long have you been a practicing artist and where did it all begin? 

I was probably always a 'practicing' artist. The moment I understood it is a lifelong commitment was in Oxford as a young teenager when I started working with my mentor and friend forever Paul Saville.

You talk about your work having a narrative of light and dark, life and death. Could you talk about this and the reasons behind it?

I'm interested in life's ambiguities and the daily battle us humans have between being good and evil, and what is what.

Freebird III 2010 (left) Till Our Shadows Meet 2010 (right)

You are heavily influenced by music, mainly 60-70s psychedelic rock music, could you talk about this? Do you listen to music as you work and does this change the way you paint?

Yes, there's a lot of 'Love' in my studio. Music helps me think, and psychedelia was a progression from the more classic genres blues, rock, folk, which I also enjoy. It was intended to replicate or enhance mind altering experiences. Just like that music I like to draw inspiration from different sources and so creating something ambiguous which tells a different story depending on the viewer.

When I do the actual paint work I do prefer something a little heavier. Led Zep, Alice in Chains. It's about the drums. Drumming the paint onto the canvas. A good song can influence a painting.

What is your process, how do you start a new piece of work?

Photography either my own or found is my starting point. I build collages. There's a lot of rephotographing going on before satisfaction. The image becomes slightly more soft and grainy with each interaction. I like the contradiction with that and my slightly 'harder' painting style.

What do you hope the viewer gains/reacts from looking at your work? 

A personal experience.

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

Children have routines, and some adults. 

B&W Cowboy 2010

Installation shot, OSL Contemporary

Study for Fallen Monkeys 2013

Freebird III 2010

How do you go about naming your work?

It's a game, I like word plays and titles that are visual. Sometimes after eliminating all the boring options something wild or more poetic drops in. I see so many crap titles around it really baffles me people get away with it. Guess there's no app for these things.

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

Can't remember the title nor the artist, but a friend posted a history painting to my FB wall after a certain bbq at mine of a rather gruesome scene. I liked that. Timing. 

What does the future hold for you as an artist? Is there anything new and exciting in the pipeline you would like to tell us about? 

Yes, New York in the spring of 2017 to be announced shortly.

Click here for artist's website

Publishing date of this interview 24/06/16
Installation shots courtesy of
OSL Contemporary and Lisabird Contemporary Gallery