Art Circus Spotlight
‘Digesting the Devoured’ by Lauren Kelly

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How did you get the idea for the piece?

I knew that I wanted to make a sculpture that would essentially be a soft force that would supersede a hard structure. I wanted to make something beyond my own body, something unmanageable, to the point of being ridiculous. A ravenous, voluptuous form with an insatiable desire.

Much of my work investigates the power of the fetish, the anthropomorphic and hints at organic and bodily properties. I find that where the work plays with opposites lies the tension and often juxtapose softer materials against harder surfaces, always considering the points of contact where two surfaces touch. Where welded steel structures add a functional rawness and nakedness that heightens the softer cosmetic palette of pinks, ivories, and flesh tones. A kind of dressed and undressed. Continue reading “Art Circus Spotlight
‘Digesting the Devoured’ by Lauren Kelly”

Q&A with James Mortimer

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Do you come from a creative family?

Yes. My mother used to be a skilled calligrapher, and my father is a dab hand at painting. Most of my relatives are fairly artistic, one notable being John Hamilton Mortimer, a neoclassical painter who went completely mad and died young. I’ve inherited a drawing of his of King Lear, in which the maniacal Lear is depicted with his enormous windswept beard and huge glaring eyes. I remember being horrified of this drawing when I was a child, and of later loving it. I’m guessing that a love of art is in my blood, though I’ll forgo the madness.

You said you began studying the History of Art at the age of sixteen. The influences are clearly evident in your paintings. Do you feel studying the Art History is an important process for an artist to go through? How do you think it helps with an artist’s practice?

Well, the most important thing is simply to express yourself. But if art is your oxygen, then there’s nothing more interesting than to study the great artists in depth. It’s helpful in that you can examine just how and why mankind has expressed itself over time, and just what dizzying pinnacles of creativity we’re capable of. We can then strive to build on that, and to eventually create even greater works of art. Continue reading “Q&A with James Mortimer”

Q&A with Eleanor Watson

Eleanor1Eleanor Watson graduated from Wimbledon College of Art in 2012 with a BA in painting.

You’ve said ‘The absence of the inhabitants is important because it allows for the room and its contents to describe a story’. Do you feel it would be possible to create stories with the absence of a room and contents with only people remaining?

Yes absolutely, and that is exactly what my boyfriend paints. I have been more interested in the distortion of a narrative, or of a potential narrative, which is intrinsic to an empty room. Whether the drama has already taken place or perhaps they are a set for a dreamed life. I have more recently been playing with images with people, but they are more like the figures of Bonnard; handled in the same manner as the rest of the image. But it is early days for them. Continue reading “Q&A with Eleanor Watson”

Q&A with Tom Shedden

tom2Tom Shedden was born in London and studied Illustration at Central Saint Martins College Of Art.

Do scenes from literature or films inspire any of your imagery?

Not directly, I remember watching plenty of black and white Tarzan films and King Solomon’s mines type films when I was very young, and we did quite a bit of travelling then also as both my parents came from different countries on the other side of the world. I’ve not consciously looked to these experiences for inspiration, but they are perhaps there deep down. As far as literature goes, Tin tin books are about the extent of my circle of reference. Continue reading “Q&A with Tom Shedden”

Q&A with Denise Nestor

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Denise Nestor was born in Mayo in the west of Ireland. She graduated in 2004 from Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology and has been working in Dublin ever since.

What do you like to capture in the subject?

When it comes to portraiture I always aim to capture an emotion that the character may be feeling. It’s almost impossible to describe how I try to capture that, I’m not really sure myself, but it’s more about knowing it when you see it. I’ve often thrown away drawings that felt lifeless to me in some way. It’s important that there’s some depth to the subject and that you get a sense of something more than just a flat visual representation. The eyes are the most important part of a portrait to me, if they’re not working then I often just start again, that’s why I start all portraits with the eyes first. Continue reading “Q&A with Denise Nestor”

Q&A with Nicholas Dedics

Allegory of Shoes1Nicholas Dedics graduated from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2012 with an MA in Fine Art. His paintings have been shown in the ‘New Sensations’ at the Saatchi Gallery and recently in the ‘Hot One Hundred’ at the Schwartz Gallery.

How important is the medium you use to the subject matter/message?

I feel painting as a medium freely allows me to express my messages in the ways I want. In the painting process I let my imagination take over, acting out the roles of the fictional people from where I source my images and thoughts from. Only painting lets me approach a piece in this ‘interchanging personality’ way – putting marks on the canvas as if made by different people, but ultimately it’s all done by my hand, it’s all me and I find that interesting. Continue reading “Q&A with Nicholas Dedics”

Q&A with Nina Mae Fowler

ninamaeNina Fowler was born in London in 1981. She graduated with a first in sculpture from Brighton University in 2003. She was nominated for the BP Portrait Prize 2008,  Shortlisted for the Jerwood Drawing Prize 2010 and more recently, shortlisted for The Young Masters Prize 2012.

1. Do you come from a creative family?

Yes, my father is an architect. He is always my first point of call for advice on how to construct something. He has a way of designing/building things, which is always elegant and simple. He uses materials economically but with great style and practicality. My mother is a clothes designer and for me, her taste is impeccable. Like my dad she has a way of seeing beauty in things, which I am still learning from. They have always been the biggest supporters of my work. Dad even took me to see Hollywood via Elvis’ home, ‘Graceland’, when I was 16 and already fascinated by the legacy of both. Although my brother wouldn’t describe himself as creative he has also had a great influence on me through his knowledge of music, always steering me in the way of songs and artists that have been inspirational. My boyfriend Craig Wylie is now a constant source of creativity as he too is an artist – one that I will always hold in much higher esteem than myself – so to him I go for advice and we enjoy a mutual love of art in our lives. Continue reading “Q&A with Nina Mae Fowler”

Q&A with Miguel Laino

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMiguel was born in southern Spain and has been living in London since 2001, when he came here to complete a degree at Central St Martins College.

How did growing up in Spain affect how you paint now that you live in London?

I grew up in a very small town in Andalucia, steeped in a mixture of Roman Catholic mythology and local folklore and superstition. But I always felt like an outsider and was instinctively drawn to urban culture through American and British music, cinema and fashion. I suppose there is some reference to the austerity of the Spanish masters in my work, and the muted, earthy palate of the Andalucian countryside. Continue reading “Q&A with Miguel Laino”

Q&A with Andy Harper

UntitledAndy Harper is an artist based in the UK and is represented by Danese in New York, Morgen Contemporary in Berlin and The Page Gallery in Seoul.

Does the new collection of paintings come with a new set of mark making techniques? The floating blue curls for example.

I want the pace of making to be reflected in the new paintings. Viewers were fooled by the level of detail in the previous work and couldn’t reconcile the level of rendering yielded by what in reality was a very quick and fluid way of working. Many of my paintings from that period (2004-2010) were made in a day and never took more than a week. So although I haven’t totally re-invented how I work, I have consciously avoided the vocabulary of marks I acquired during that period. I still utilise a membrane of oily paint that is wet and totally malleable during the production of the painting, but the marks are now more direct and not dependent on motifs or a bag of tricks. The painting process has become more like the activity of drawing than ever before, it’s able to record decisions and embody thought itself. Continue reading “Q&A with Andy Harper”

Q&A with Ilona Szalay

riderIlona Szalay studied at Oxford University (BA) and Byan Shaw, University of the Arts (MA). Her work was selected for the Threadneedle Prize 2012 and National Art Competition 2012.

Your work is described as looking at the tensions and the balance between ‘violence and control’ and ‘Beauty and fragility’. Is this something you wrestle with when painting?

Yes, the physicality of the painting process sometimes feels like walking a tight-rope – on the one hand there must be a spontaneity and unforeseen dynamism to the image which is all about a relinquishing of control but on the other hand the image must contain a skeleton, something rigorously ‘true’, which is born out of visual skill, experience and precision. So, there are pockets of intense control alongside areas of delicious abandonment. Continue reading “Q&A with Ilona Szalay”