Practice - What is giving your life meaning this week?
It’s been very inspirational seeing the black lives matter movement gain momentum over last couple of weeks, I am really hopeful people’s awareness will continue to grow and bring some lasting change.
I have been taking long walks with my son, which I haven’t really been able to do since moving back to Edinburgh from London last July. In many ways I feel like I am rediscovering the city, it’s such a unique place and nice being able to explore with the boy. There isn’t many places in the world where you can explore winding medieval streets, climb wild hills in the center of the city and visit the beach all in the same day. Totally makes sense that many call Edinburgh ‘Athens of the North’.
What do you see as the most important and the most overlooked aspect of your work?
The most important thing for me when creating my work is to create a specific mood that radiates from the piece. I want these moods to almost feel tangible, this is a necessity for me and crucial for the artwork to feel successful.
I think an overlooked part of my practice is something that I share in common with many other artists. Finished artworks often look effortless to the audience. Once an artwork is hanging on the wall, it gives little evidence of the frustration and failures that it has taken to create it; much in the same way that an athlete makes their sport look easy to the onlooker. Some of the techniques I have previously used to create some of my larger pieces have left no room for error, often resulting multiple attempts to get it right, as well as me curling up and weeping in the studio corner.
Do you think your work would be different if you knew no one was ever going to see it except you?
This is a tough one! It’s really hard to say! However, I feel that now, more than ever I am creating artwork that has arrived very naturally, similar to if I was just mindlessly doodling what I find pleasing, but obviously more refined and considered. In many ways I think it’s quite healthy to work knowing that you are going to have an audience, it certainly makes me work harder, attempting to perfect aspects that I might let slide if I thought it was only me that was ever going to see the work.
Describe your dream studio situation and what is the biggest thing you think you took for granted about working in your studio ?
Working as a freelance artist assistant/technician/handler as my day job I have been in my fair share of incredible artist studios, where I am always getting ideas for my own. I recently heard that Charles Avery has a magnetic wall where he makes his drawings, that would be splendid. Good natural light and a view is now very important to me, especially if you are spending a significant amount of time in there. I’ve had studios in the past with neither, in the depths of winter that can be a bit grim. I think the biggest thing I took for granted about working in my studio, is being able to shut the door and be entirely focused and free from the distractions of your home.
What is your best time of the day or night to work and why?
At this moment in time I can’t be picky at all when I am able to work, whenever I have a free hour here or there. Previously, I tried to treat my practice as if it were a 9 – 5 job, very productive with a good amount of downtime.
What is your studio staple snack?
Coffee of course!
Tell us about something you saw on your one walk of the day
Living in Leith you can’t really leave the house without seeing something bizarre. Just hang out on Leith Walk long enough and you will walk home having ‘experienced’ something.
If you had to live with one vice for the rest of your life what would it be?
Salt and Vinegar Pringles.
What is your favourite podcast?
I really enjoy a podcast called ‘Astonishing Legends’ (terrible name but great show). If you are interested in really in-depth investigations into the paranormal this is the show for you. Particularly the episodes on skinwalker ranch.
I also love the episodes on the Manson family in the ‘You Must Remember This’ Podcast. I was visiting and driving around California whilst listening to this, seeing Death Valley and the Hollywood hills, and being able to see the locations being mentioned in the show was fascinating.
What is the best film you've ever seen vs the worst?
I think one of my favorite films in ‘Dead Man’ by Jim Jarmusch. I think the worst film I have ever seen is called ‘Snow Man’, It was actually shocking how bad it was.
What's the most inspirational place you've been?
Which era would you like to have experienced /experience again?
The 60's obvs!
Please pick one of the three following prompts as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like. There is no restriction on media and feel free to try something different and new.
Draw the last dream that you remember
Draw a self portrait as a favourite animal doing your favourite daily thing
Draw the last text you received
Check out Toms's Exercise Three pieces here!