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Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Interview with David Whitlam

q) Introduce yourself first please?

a)My name is David Whitlam. I'm a surrealist artist from Manchester in the UK , who uses both traditional and digital techniques. My work is concerned with tapping into desires and anxieties within the subconscious,primarily using a technique called automatic drawing.I work from my imagination, without any planning or research, allowing each image to gradually impose it's own identity, rather than trying to reproduce or capture reality. I'm interested in mythological,tribal, and religious imagery (what Carl Jung called"archetypes"). By re-arranging these universal symbols, by dressing them in carnival masks and making them pose amidst absurdities , I create my own visions, whose meanings are often highly personal and esoteric, yet which somehow echo the aesthetic style of past cultures, and relate to more general themes within the collective subconscious.

q) How did you get into art?

a)I've been interested in art for as long as I can remember. I enjoyed drawing pictures as a child, and through practice I gradually improved. I've only developed an interest in art history later in life -as a child my imagination was fuelled by films,especially the Star Wars trilogy, but anything relating to horror sci-fi or fantasy. I suppose I've always had an escapist imagination, and art is the best way of expressing it.
q) Who has been the biggest influence on you?
a)That's a difficult question; I've been influenced in many ways by many different people. If I had to narrow it down to one person I'd say my older brother, as he's influenced my tastes in music, films and literature, which have in turn influenced my art.

q) Do you rule by any tendency in your creative work,or you only follow what comes in your mind?
a)In all aspects of my art I have learnt to follow my own instincts. I hardly ever have a pre-conceived idea before starting a picture. I begin by drawing loose shapes and forms on a page, then rub back the bits that don't make sense, and keeping the forms that work. I'm constantly responding to what's happening on the page, much like a martial artist has to respond to their opponent. The outcome is a strange combination of instinct, technical skill, and pure chance.

q) Do you have a preferred medium to work on? Why?

a)I work in three mediums (oil paint, photoshop and pencil). I enjoy using all of them, and each provides it's own challenges. I think painting in oils is probably the most time-consuming and difficult process I use, though the results are very satisfying, and my skills are still improving. Photoshop is much quicker and easier to use, and produces good results, but the downside to digital art is that there is no 'original' image. Overall though, I think pencil is probably my favourite medium. Drawing is the starting point for most of my images, and the source of my ideas - it's the most magical and most immediate part of my creative process.

q) How much does your environment have an effect onyour pictures?
a)Once I start working, I quickly become unaware of my environment. I find the work draws me in, so it doesn't matter where I am or who I'm with, just so long as I'm not too interrupted or uncomfortable.
q) Tell us about your studio space. Where do you work?Do you listen to certain types of music while working?
a)For several years now I've had an art studio at Vernon Mill - an old cotton mill in Stockport, not far from where I live, which houses over forty artists in it'stop two floors. I like the character of old Victorian buildings, more so than modern spaces. I always listen to music when I'm working, but my tastes are quite broad. I listen to everything from relaxing ambient soundscapes to angry industrial stuff, it just depends on my mood.

q) Who are your favorite artists?

a)Hieronymous Bosch is one of my favourite painters,both for his immense and disturbed imagination, and for his masterful use of paint. It's a shame that so little is known about him. Beyond his name, age, and place of birth, pretty much everything written about him is pure speculation.I also greatly admire William Blake. He was a believer in visions, and worked directly from his own 'divine'imagination, rather than trying to imitate nature.When I look at Blake's work, I see another world, a sort of parallel mythological reality that somehow mirrors our own.

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 didn't start using the internet to promote my work until about 2003-2004 when I built my first website.Since then it's quickly become my main means ofself-promotion, and has brought me more sales than exhibiting. I've been interviewed by people, had my work published in various art journals and magazines,and even taken part in over-seas exhibitions, all as a direct result of putting my images online. It's also a great way of getting feedback. I'm on several art forums, but deviant art is probably my favorite.Through Deviant Art I've had contact with people from all over the world, most of whom would never have seen my pictures otherwise.

q) What books are on your nightstand?

a)I don't read as much as much as I used to. In my early twenties I was into writers like Samuel Beckett and William Burroughs, as I wrote a lot of bleak experimental prose myself. Nowadays I tend to read factual information more than novels. I've amassed quite a collection of reference books about art and mythology, though looking at the pictures is often more use than reading the text! I'm currently reading a book called "The New Pearl Harbor" by David RayGriffin, about the 9/11 cover-up. It saddens me that so much vital evidence about the attack has not only been overlooked by the mainstream media but consciously avoided. Most people I talk to in the UK haven't even heard of building 7, let alone seen footage of it's demolition. It's arguably the most important seven seconds of film shot anywhere this century, but it's never shown on the television. Why?
q) What's playing on your stereo?
a)My favorite bands include: the Legendary Pink Dots,Skinny Puppy, Killing Joke, Foetus, and Jah Wobble, toname but a few.

q) Any interesting "rituals" before you start creating?
a)I don't really have rituals when it comes to my art.I've learnt to just pick it up and get started. I generally regard rituals as superstitious and a waste of time.

q) What is your favourite colour?

a)I don't really have one - I think all colours can look nice in the right context. The dark and sombre colour palette I use in much of my artwork is not repeated on my walls or clothes, or anywhere else in my life.
q) What is the best time in the day for you to work ona project? Is there one, or is it more about theenvironment -- maybe the right mood?
a)Anytime is a good time for being creative, just so long as you don't have distractions. Having said that I prefer working at night. I'm just not a morning person!

q) What projects mean a lot to you at the moment?

a)I am planning to produce a book in the new year,combining my art with my creative writing - it's something I've planned to do for a long while, but never got round to.

q)…Your contacts…



Blogger zzz_art said...

best work
I understand only english language

3:15 PM  

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