Category Archives: Emerging Artists

Stu Herring

Stu Herring is persistent on his commitment of being a performance artist. He is trying to express his understanding of existentialism and inspire audiences through his ritualistic performing practice.

 

http://stuherring.co.uk/
http://stuherring.co.uk/

Three weeks ago in Newcastle, an annual art exhibition The Late Shows 2014 has attracted a huge public attention. Over 60 venues were opened for artists’ shows and thousands of people were involved at the night. One of the shows was particularly paid attention to. It is Stu Herring’s performance art show called “Brick Vessel”.  On The Late Shows evening, which is the last day of his exhibition, Stu built a circular wall around himself with bricks. Until the brick wall entirely cut off him from the audience, Stu creep out through the bottom and stood in front of the audiences. The whole performing process lasted 4 hours. During the whole process of the wall building, Stu Herring was always wearing a suit.

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A translation of existentialism

“That is my latest performance. Suit is a symbol of a commercial world. I wanted to express the feeling of the indifference of the commercial world.” With a little blush, Stu put a coy smile on face. Stu has been exploring expressions for his belief of existentialism, challenging the question of life and trying to apply a reason to being since he graduated. “I am trying to translate the ritualistic elements into an non-spiritual western question.”

Although Stu Herring is just 26 years old, he has decided to become an artist earlier in his life. “I know I want to become an artist since I was eight. I did art in college and went to university to study art straight away. I stayed in Holland for about 2 years before I came back for my master degree study in Fine Art.”

He started his practice of performance art in Holland in 2008, where he was inspired intensively by the philosophical thinking of existentialism. “I look at the ritualistic acts as something that can be used as a route to a personal freedom, I have no doubt that the people who follow characteristics of asceticism or abstinence have great spiritual belief. I see these acts as being an enlightenment but more in the context of a major shift in consciousness, not that of the divine. I think that in the belief of the holy men they see this as God or the other-worldly communicating to them.”

“However, I see it as self-awareness and the closer to the self you become through ritual, this allows you to be in the world separated from the constructed pressures of the man-made systems that we have indoctrinated ourselves and others into the collective path, whereas the spiritual man performs an individual journey to help the whole world through the believed collective consciousness. I would hope that my personal journey would enlighten an individual to start their own path.”

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Bringing inspiration

“Performing gives me inspiration. Before the performance, I feel like I am going on something new. After the performance, I feel my consciousness changes. It is like a meditation for me.” Stu’s performances borrow ideas from various culture elements such as sadhus, the Hindu holy men of India, the stylites or pillar-saints and the Christian ascetics in the early days of the Byzantine Empire (in modern day Turkey) who lived on pillars, preaching, fasting and praying.

To reflect his thoughts, he often plays with the characteristics of asceticism, the practice of abstinence or restraint. Usually, he puts himself into situations that test the body’s endurance or place restrictions on his movements or are physically isolating. Within these solitary tasks, he finds himself in a mindset that by contrast to his gruelling actions, furthers his personal understanding of freedom.

“I am happy if people get my idea after watching my performance. But I will still be happy if they get their own thoughts which maybe be completely different from my original standpoints.” “Get people inspired, that’s what I want to do.” He shows me a big smile on face.

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There is only one thing can change us the most.

“My next performance will be on the top of a pole”, he says, “in this September in Whitley Bay, I will be standing on the top of a pole in the sea, and waiting for the tide rising up.” This is a translation from a ritual of Hindu. “The longest performance on the top of a pole is 75 years. People bring food and water for the person to make sure he can survive.” “I am attracted by this kind of idea that people do strange things because of their thoughts”, he says. “There is something in your brain can change you the most.” “It can make people to use their entire life to reach a unreachable goal.”

There is only one thing that can change us the most, our thoughts. This is the essential idea that Stu Herring wants to explore and present to his audiences in his next show. In this commercial world, it needs courage and persistence to become a performance artist. However, Stu comes up with ideas everyday and has got funding from various art organisations. His performance has been paid attention by some big exhibitions. “I have got lots to go on, the ideas I have had so far is enough for several years.” Obviously, Stu Herring is enjoying his journey very much.

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Marc Todd

As a London based painter who has gained 20 years experience in creative industry, Marc Todd is trying to explore a new way to translate his visual art theory of contemporary impressionist and to apply it onto his creative artworks.

 

557046_347125568713462_1927024289_nIn a quiet corner of Hyde Park in London, Marc Todd and his wife Enya stand beside the glass wall of Magazine Café to welcome me come for this interview. Marc is wearing a blue shirt as well as his wife. Drinking coffee casually, I saw a transparent sunlight comes through the glass and projects the bright blue on Marc’s shirt. It is such a sunny day after a heavy rain earlier in this morning.

 

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https://www.artfinder.com/marc-todd

“I was 24 when I became a creative director.”

“We both worked in advertising agency. My wife was a graphic designer and I was a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi advertising.” Marc originally did his degree in Fine Art in painting. But after he left the university, he became a copywriter instead of a graphic designer. The story is more like a fairy tale. “I was working as a newspaper seller in a train station at the time. A guy came to buy newspaper everyday in the morning. One day I talked with him. Then he told me he was a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi and asked me to take an interview in his agency. I thought why not. So, I went there then got a job as a copywriter straight away.” In Saatchi & Saatchi, Marc only used 3 years to become a leader, which normally will cost people 10 years to get there. “I was 24 when I became a creative director in Saatchi & Saatchi.” However, after so many years working in a fast-paced industry he decided to paint as an artist.

 

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https://www.artfinder.com/marc-todd

“A contemporary impressionist”

“I started to paint again about 2 or 3 years ago. Just for fun at the beginning but it becomes more and more serious as my paintings become popular later on.” Marc’s paintings are sold quickly. Sometimes he sells 5-6 paintings each week and some of his paintings are sold in a couple of hours. To meet the demands of the public, he has to well organise himself. “I get up very early in the morning and paint for about 2 hours before I go to my company. When I finished work, I will go to pub for a bit then come back to paint till midnight.” As a person who owns three companies, Marc has learned how to be productive. “I paint very fast.” He says, “sometimes I got some ideas in my head, I just got it down in several hours.”

“The other thing I want to do is keep changing things all the time. If you look at Instagram, you will find my style is a lot different 6 or 7 months ago.” “One of the paintings is a turning point, in which I did a pink sky then I realised I want to do more, so now I did a lot more paintings with these kind of bright skies.”

Marc’s paintings have strong visual identities. “I think that’s because of my advertising background.” “I intend to make my art recognisable. Many people ask me how I do that, I don’t tell them, I am trying to keep the idea to avoid many others doing the same things. I don’t like replicating.”

Marc defines himself as a contemporary impressionist. “I would describe my artworks as affordable and available and easy to be understood by anybody. I would call myself a contemporary impressionist.  My art is quite impressionist in the style yet quite modern, in all these colours and textiles. I never paint with oil. So yes, contemporary.”

 

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https://www.artfinder.com/marc-todd

Inspired by Nature

Matisse is a big influence for Marc. “He is the first person who doesn’t make the colour match the reality.” The pink and orange sky in Marc’ works have obviously reflected this influence. “Beside, I like Turner a lot, I do like his colours. He was before the impressionism, but some of his paintings are quite abstract.”

Marc and his wife both like walking. They are planning to move to Bath in the future. Although his paintings have gained many followers on Instagram and other social media, he prefers to live in countryside and enjoy some inspiration from nature. “Much of my work is produced ‘in situ’, and all of it is based upon real places observed first hand.”

As a London based painter, Marc enjoy the multi-culture influence here. The life of running a business and the life of being an artist combine on him seamlessly. “I will go to China soon this year, to take part in an trade fair. Travel brings inspiration to us.” He gives me an enthusiastic smile with a thoughtful sight. You can never tell how old he is.

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David O’Malley

David O’Malley has attracted public’s attention through his Zen-like art compositions in numerous exhibitions. By adopting scientific theories and angles, he is exploring a new way of the explanation towards existentialism.

 

Screen Shot 2014-06-14 at 20.43.48 It is a sunny day in a café in Victoria train station. Light pours down from the transparent ceiling to the small table that we are sitting around. David O’Malley is wearing a tan jumper with a black shirt inside. Talking elegantly with a slightly shy manner, he gives his definition of his artworks.

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“Essentially I am drawn to the power of atmosphere and the context of the wider picture.”

“It is technologically aware contemporary painting. I’m interested in re-codifying shifts and juxtaposition, in opposing elements of content. I like to charge my work with an aspect of meditative engagement to counteract the increasingly oversaturated digital world we now live in. The ultimate, levelling template of the void is inherent at the core of everything I make. I’m interested in transcendence, in the context of the wider picture”

“I’m interested in re-codifying shifts and juxtaposition, in opposing elements of content. I like to charge my work with an aspect of meditative engagement to add balance in an increasingly oversaturated virtual world. The ultimately leveling template of the void is inherent at the core of everything I make.”

In David’s “Paintings Is Infinite” series he assigns the objecthood of the pieces with an altered state of identity to be received by viewer. “There is a point where the familiar shifts- at which the level of recognisability becomes terminated. Through shifted zones of retinal perception, I alter the way in which the rear of a canvas is to be interpreted.” “The luxury of the art context permits you to allow things to behave with a different proposition by manipulating semiotic signals.”

Untitled2“You will never be happy unless you do art.”

David has been living in London since 1999 when he moved down from the Northwest. He considers himself as a contemporary artist, a painter who is using digital technology. With a half English half Chinese ethnic background, his art often comprises of opposed yet unified thematic.

However, he has had anxiety concerning career paths. “At A-level my Art tutor asked me what kind of career path I would be following, I told him probably a stable one in graphic design – which is what my parents want – to which he replied and I still remember clearly ‘you’ll never be happy unless you do art’. Turns out he was right all along”. After quitting a graphic design course then graduating in Fine Art, David ended up working as a graphic designer in corporate environments for several years to pay off his student debts. Eventually, he gave up his stable career to once again dedicate fully his life to the practice of Fine Art.

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For a minute, I detected traces tears of joy in my eyes. 

“I’m reasonably happy now, I prefer working alone, so the life-style suits me.  When making a piece, it is vital to remain highly focused. Painting can be a battle; it’s not a stable process.  The struggle can begin with the anticipation stage, which is almost like stage fright. But, sometimes when a painting is going well, when I am (a term used by musicians and sportspeople) ‘in the zone’, I can momentarily feel euphoric. A few weeks ago, for a minute I detected traces tears of joy in my eyes.”

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Science brings inspiration to me.

Although being an artist, David is interested in science. “I used to have a great marks in science. Science still provide inspiration fot me.” David’s paintings contain lots of thinking toward the universe. “I take notice of articles about modern scientists on subjects including terraforming, multiverse theory, chaos theory, astronauts who have experienced the Overview Effect. I also follow astronomers and Astro-photographers.”

Apart from science, artists influence David spiritually and technically. “Rothko has moved me on both a cerebral and sublime frequency. Miha Strukeli integrates emulated pixilation into his painting technique and I find Li Songsong’s work engaging in his references to social memory and his approach to painting as a purely amoral intervention.”

Apart from science, artists influence David spiritually and technically. “The infinity in Rothko has moved me on a profound level. I find the paintings of Miha Strukeli that also integrate emulated pixilation very engaging. I identify with Li Songsong’s work with his references to social memory and his approach to painting as a purely amoral intervention.”

David also mentions “There is also an element of intrigue relating to meditation that influences my work, my Chinese grandmother was Buddhist and over the past few years I have investigated a number of meditation techniques.”

UntitledI have made it to the finals of the John Moores Painting Prize.”  

  David has done many exhibitions and has been approached by authorities. “I’ve had a profile on Saatchi Art for a few years now. Last year I was signed up by New Blood Art, which was excellent news. Also, I’ve recently received attention from magazines such as Installation Magazine. My biggest achievement so far is that I have made it to the finals of the prestigious biennial John Moores Painting Prize. It will be invaluable for me.”

Moreover, David is exploring different experiences outside of being an artist. “I actually did a run in a professional Shakespeare play in London as well as getting roles in couple of independent films. Besides that, I’m an amateur astronomer.” When I asked him about the fame in art industry, he says, “I don’t really care about fame” although he agrees it can signify achievement. He usually thinks about how to return something back to society from the deep experiences he has had with arts. “To operate as a conduit, to be data-osmotic, to process and instill something of the essence of the contemporary state…and then, to have that validated by the art world and the art public; that would constitute a high level of achievement for me as an individual.” He sips his beer and watches me. The light is so bright giving some sharp sparkles shining on his glass.

 

Exhibitions:

2013 Mas Civiles, Trinity Buoy Wharf, London.
2013 20² Exhibition, Gallery TS1, Middlesbrough.
2013 Cork Street Open, Mayfair, London.
2013 Metropolis, Juxtapose[d] Gallery, Lauderdale House, Highgate, London.
2013 Candid Galleries, Angel, Islington, London.
2012 Look To The Sky, NGC, Sunderland.
2012 The Dark Is Rising, Hackney Wick, London.
2011 Logement, Antwerp.
2010 Elements, Horsebridge Gallery, Whitstable, Kent.
2009 Life and Liberty, Westbourne Grove Gallery, Notting Hill.
2008 Islington Art Fair, London.
2007 The Foundry, Shoreditch, London.
2006 540 Gallery, Shoreditch, London.
2005 Peopleshow, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Artworks:

https://www.artfinder.com/davidomalley

Paul West

“London based artist Paul West draws inspiration from rugged landscapes influenced by his Dorset roots and frequent travels around Northumberland. Low horizons, huge skies and the secrets of Woodlands and solitary trees are key features in his work.”

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In a very quiet place in north London, Paul West’s studio and home is located in a white house that surrounded by flowers and bushes. Ringing the doorbell, I heard Paul’s welcoming voice and saw his warm smile once the door was opened. I stepped in and immediately impressed by its interior design style, which combined with western and eastern tastes. A set of big squared Marilyn Monroe from Any Warhol stands out. The neon pink and yellow on them decorate the living room into a vivid tone.

 

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“The sky is so big.”

“I grew up in Bridport, a smallish town near the coast of West Bay in Dorset. When I was 4 I cut my foot badly on Weymouth beach and was rushed to hospital. I stared out of the cab, up at the sky to take my mind away from the carnage below, and since that moment the sky has fascinated me and is my primary inspiration when I draw.” Paul West is passionate about the countryside and landscapes, which give him inspiration. “My favourite thing is going out to an open space and walk in countryside, to see the sky, the sky is so big. I am always inspired by it.”

 

10299517_10203907352673735_551792181876760358_n“It takes a long time to become young.”

When Paul was a teenager, he used to be so influenced by the arty environment in his college. “I moved to London and went to the LCP, graduating with a 1st class BA (Hons).” But after that, he started his graphic designer career. Until now, Paul has run a design company for 23 years. “I embarked on my career path to music industry as a record cover designer, working for Peter Saville, Mark Farrow, Vaughan Oliver and so on.” Paul’s design company is called Form, in which Paul and his partner Paula Benson have worked for most of the Indie and major labels such as Depeche Mode, Girls Aloud, Scritti Politti, PendulumEverything But The Girl and Elbow.

“In between the fast paced work life at Form, I take my more meditative moments in charcoal drawing. Low horizons, huge skies and the secrets of Woodlands and solitary trees are key features in my work. I create stark, emotive works, creating spaces with brooding volume, scarred with a more ‘frenetic’ deconstructed mark making.”

Andy Warhol is a big influential person for me of course. When I see the Marilyn, I see the colour, the style and the dots. So fascinating.” “Picasso said it takes a long time to become young, very true.” Paul says, “I feel it takes me decades to clear my mind and to know how to draw like a five years old kid, just to make it into such a simple thing.” 

 

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“Not anything more than somebody in the process of developing an art”

Fame and money isn’t the purpose for Paul to do arts. He enjoys the whole process of giving a shape of his own ideas. “It is just bringing so much happiness for me. At the end of the day, if somebody likes it, that’s brilliant, but I enjoy developing my idea. Especially when it’s for me and not for anybody else.” “I’ve never got any kind of illusions that I am anything more than somebody in the process of developing an art. Of course fame or money or whatever that means would be really nice. But it’s not the thing that I’ve been thinking about.”

Paul is trying to describe the inspiration that his experiences has brought about to him, trying to describe the feelings that he has always had for the nature and the atmosphere that stays in his mind. “I’ve got something in my brain that I really like and I am trying to find it. I am trying to find it either through the charcoal or through the painting colours. You know, when you step in an exhibition, you don’t really know what is going on. Sometimes something just attracts you and you just think, wow, that’s brilliant. I am trying to make something from the back of my mind, something makes me feel exactly that way.” “The idea is a kind of pushing what you are doing and not being so satisfied by yourself. Then eventually you get there by finally did something you really like.”

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Paul West has done his exhibition in London last year and there are more is expected to go. At the end of the interview, Paul shows his biggest charcoal to me, a two-meter amazing work. “It will coast 600 pounds to just frame it,” he smiles to me, “but I like the way it looks.” I stare at the piece, watching the peaceful wide sky and the trees that stand aside. For a moment, I felt a breeze went through my face.

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Exhibition:

In February 2013 I exhibited at the Candid Arts Exhibition, Islington London.

Artworks:
https://www.artfinder.com/artist/paul-west/