London, United Kingdom.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? How did you start your journey into the art world?
I’m from Edinburgh and I studied fine art in Dundee, a small city on the east coast of Scotland. At art school I was mostly printmaking, screenprinting with a little bit of lithography and etching, I only really started painting a lot more in my final year, this was 2015. During the last couple of years I’ve spent time living in Copenhagen and Düsseldorf, now settled in London, it’s interesting to take in how people have a very different approach and understanding of abstract painting in each of these places.
Both my parents are artistic, although not professionally and no real connections to the art world, so it never felt like art was an unusual path to take in my family. My dad is an incredible photographer, not afraid to get right in peoples faces, which I found very annoying growing up. My mum has always made beautiful drawings, very simple almost abstract drawings of the Scottish landscape. Although I was more interested in football (sometimes I still am), my mum took me to a lot of exhibitions when I was young, introducing me to the work of Cy Twombly, Joan Mitchell and Agnes Martin at an early age.
We would like to know more about your work. Do you plan it or is it pure improvisation?
For a long time, all my paintings were made completely by improvisation, I would refuse to have any kind of plan or reference before or during the painting process, this way of working was like a rule and became too restrictive. I like to contradict myself with my process, I’ve been exploring ways of working from drawings, whilst keeping the fast, loose energy in the line that normally comes from working intuitively. I’m trying to bring in contrasting forms of energy, movement and thinking during the process. Really I’m more interested in drawing than painting, I want to bring the immediacy and simplicity of a quick sketch onto a large canvas.
Tell us about your studio? How much time do you spend there? What does your usual working day look like?
My studio still feels fresh since I just moved in at the end of last year. It’s a good space with nice light and room to make the work I want to make, though I’m always wanting a bigger space that’s not so easy in London. There’s something like 90 other artists in the building, which is a former 19th-century nuns convent in East London, so I have a private room but it’s not too isolated. I generally spend a full working week, like 10 am – 7 pm in the studio and take the weekends off to see some shows, hear some music, or get out of London. But I don’t like to have too much of a routine, one of the best things about working as a self-employed artist is a freedom to make your own schedule.
How do you feel the moment that the picture is completed?
It’s different every time, often I know immediately if something has worked or not but a lot of the paintings that end up being my favourites take a long time to get used to. Every work needs a bit of resting time sitting in the studio for me to review and make a decision, but this can range from a few days to a few months.
What inspires you most of all to create new paintings?
I get restless when I’m not working, really my paintings are pretty selfish, I make them for myself and when they turn out good it feels good. I go on long walks around the city, you take in so much visual information and energy which provides a contrast to spending long periods working in the studio.
What are your plans for this year? Have you planned any exhibitions?
At the moment I’m making new work for a duo show with Pedro Matos in Pescara, Italy. It’s in an unusual space called The Court, which is a curatorial project by the artist Maurizio Vicerè aka VICE. I’ll be going over for the opening, 16 June, then taking a few weeks off travelling Italy and Portugal, I’ll call it a research trip…
Your thoughts that you want to share with our readers.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my work, take a look and enjoy it.