The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Interview with Matthew Stradling

q) Well, first of all please tell us a little about yourself.

a)I'm a 44 year old artist living and working in London

q)How would you describe your work?
a)My work is very much in the tradition of the Symbolists and Decadents. I paint mostly nudes set within bejeweled baroque tableaux. I have a taste for paintings that are 'difficult' and outside the mainstream,yet I try to maintain a high level of craftsmanship, often mimicking the techniques of the Old Masters. There is a definite 'Gay' aesthetic to my work, whatever that can be described as. It can be theatrical and luxuriant, sexual and dreamlike but usually with an edge of fear and repulsion.

q) Did somebody encourage you to become an artist?

a)Not really, art was always what I was good at . It seemed natural to follow that course

q) What is your favorite medium?

a)Oil on canvas

q) Can you describe your process, from the seed of an idea to a complete work?

a)A general theme to a painting will often occur to me - sometimes they feel like visions. Then I will collect imagery to make the vision real. I use life models who I do a photo session with. Then select the poses from the photos - sometimes manipulating them on the computer. Then I do many rough drawings working out the composition, arriving at a final image which I square up and enlarge onto the canvas. Preliminary painting is normally very rough and monochromatic and as the painting takes over I focus in on details and work around the whole canvas. Usually the whole surface is equally worked in quite fine detail.

q) Generally speaking, where do your ideas come from?

a)Alot of influence comes from the history of art, especially mythological painting. I love those grand iconic figures. But I'm very open to images from popular culture, adverts,fashion photography,pornography,art nouveau,jewelry design,biological diagrams,pop music,natural form and computer imagery.

q) How long does it take to complete a piece?

a)Between a month and three months

q) Who are your favorite artists…and who are some artists you are currently looking/listening to?

a)Favorite artists are Matthew Barney, Warhol, Klimt, Gustave Moreau, Rubens, Pierre et Gilles,Jeff Koons.

q) Are you represented by a gallery? Do you have any upcoming exhibits?

a)No not represented by a gallery. I will have work in a group show 'Spectre vs.Rector' at the St. Mary of Eton Church in Hackney,London throughout November this year. Next year I have some large scale paintings in the group show 'Fellow Travelers' which will be touring from Reykjavik, Iceland to Berlin, Germany.

q) Do you have any 'studio rituals'? As in, do you listen to certain types of music while working? What helps to get you in the mood for working?

a)I mostly listen to floaty ambient music - Eno, Oophoi, Robert Rich. This gets me in the right settled and contemplative mood. But sometimes I get bored and liven things up with some old punk music or thumping techno. I have alot of rituals such making the perfect cup of coffee, obsessive cleaning of brushes and generally arranging things in my studio - all help me to get focussed on work. I also love making canvases - a freshly stretched canvas is beautiful and makes me want to envisage painting on it .

q) What is your favorite a) taste, b) sound, c) sight, d) smell, and e) tactile sensation?

c)blue light

q) Do you have goals that you are trying to reach as an artist, what is your 'drive'? What would you like to accomplish in your 'profession'?

a)I am planning to have an exhibition of large scale portraits of certain people who I really respect and have influenced my life- other artists , musicians, dancers etc who have provided some hope and wonder in my life - it would be a way of thanking them, paying homage to them and completing the cicle of my life. My drive is to create beauty and awe - just as other artists have done for me, and to connect with the viewer either on a sensual or emotional plane. I don't really see my art as a profession - it is something I do. If I could accomplish anything it would be to break down the prejudices that the art world seems to foster - especially in terms of sexuality. As an artist alot of my impulse comes from sexuality and I find galleries terrified of anything sexual whether it be gay or straight.

q) When have you started using the internet and what role does this form of communication play for you, personally, for your art, and for your business?

a)I started using the internet about five years ago. It has been a fantastic way of connecting with other artist with common interests on a worldwide level - I have artist friends in America,Portugal,Australia, Canada,Germany and Mexico - all who got in touch via the internet.
It's also fantastic to get feedback from people who appreciate your work. On a business level it is reat to be able to promote you work with a website - it so easy to direct people immediately to a good selection of your work. I have had about four large commissions as a result of people contacting directly through my website.

q) What do you obsess over?

a)That no serious galleries will ever show my work .

q) Do you have prefered working hours? Do you pay attention to the time of the day or maybe specific lighting?

a)Yes I tend to work 10am to 6pm - I like to have a normal working day then social/relax in the evening. I don't like to paint at night because the light becomes so weird and artificial - also my mind goes into a different realm at night - I can tend to feel very lonely and isolated working at night

q) Do you do commissioned works?


q) Any tips for emerging artists?

a)Just do the work. Having alot of work behind you gives you confidence to go out there and feel proud .

q)…Your contacts


Blogger Unknown said...

I find the art work on this blog fascinatingt

7:46 PM  

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