There’s a new website called Urban Curations that showcases work by some rather splendid street/urban and fine artists, photographers and Installation artists. So I feel very privileged to have a couple of my works featured on the site. All works are for sale and Infinity Bunce (founder of the site and a practising artist herself), who has been curating shows in London for some years, will be featuring many of the site’s selected artists for forthcoming events.
The first piece that I have featured on the site is a painting called Kitchen Blue. It is based upon a photograph that I took of a friend, Julia Lister (then known as Joolz Long), standing in my kitchen. The original photo was taken back in our student days in Northampton and as you can see, Julia wasn’t that keen on having her picture taken. A lot of people seem to like this painting and I’m not sure if it’s the ambiguity over the figure’s gender (what with the face being covered, the hair cropped short) or the contrast between the flat graphic nature of the background and the meatiness of the figure's flesh tones. And I assure you all that any confusion over Joolz’s gender if definitely down to my painting style and not her looking like a bloke (which by the way, she definitely doesn’t do).
The second of my paintings featured on the site is this one, The Ambassadors, based upon a photograph that appeared in the British tabloid press a few years ago. It shows a fight between some English and Turkish 'football fans'.
Like the background section in Kitchen Blue, the paint in The Ambassadors is a thick household gloss oil paint that has been applied with a very tiny brush. The paint had to be applied very quickly, before the paint had time to dry (so as to give a smooth finish and not leave any brush marks). With both paintings and others in the series, the white lines that make up the line drawings in the work are actually formed by the exposed and primed surface below. A lot of people asked me if I had somehow masked off these sections before starting the painting process and are surprised when I tell them that I don’t – that I simply paint either side of the lines. This might be a far more labour-intensive way of working but I do like the crisper line that this method produces. With this technique your eye also notices the very slight fluctuation of depth between the paint and the white line when you see the works in person.
The annoying thing about working on The Ambassadors was that about a week into the painting a wrinkled skin started to form on the surface of the paint as it dried so I had to scrap it off, re-prime the board, re-draw the image and start again. I don’t know if it was because of the hot weather or the mix of the paint but this happened four more times before I eventually got it right. It was a some what infuriating experience, during which, toys may have been thrown out of the pram.