My work is a psychedelic and surreal wash of varied, bright yet contrasting colour. I used acrylic paint, because acrylic is much easier to spread quickly and easily, to create large areas of seamless colour. I painted it on a board rather than a canvas because sometimes the small criss-cross patterns of the fabric of the canvas shows through, particularly with thinner application of paint, which would spoil the effect. It was painted in a smooth, flowing way rather than dabbing the brush or moving it quickly. The base colour was applied quite quickly, without much thought but the swirling patterns were done afterwards with much more consideration and patience.
The text that inspired my painting had many themes, including self-expression, emotion, colour. This kind of work enables the artist to simply reveal what is within them, without being distracted by things like gender, religion, or politics. It is self-expression in its purest form. There is no real message behind the work; it is purely an expression of how I was feeling when I painted it.
It may suggest different emotions to different people; for example, the brilliant orange may suggest anger to some people, and maybe love or passion to others. The contrasting colours should suggest more than one emotion, perhaps even a conflict between emotions. In some ways, I want this piece to stand out, to be different, and challenge orthodoxies. It differs from much art in that there are no expressions of people, faces, or even objects whatsoever. There is only colour.
In my research, I looked at abstract expressionism; Jackson Pollock’s work in particular. I believe the final few lines in the text I was given summarise Pollock’s work wonderfully: “FEEL, SEE, DO.” When I first read these lines, one of the first things that came to mind was Pollock’s painting No.5 (1948). This painting is clearly the result of an artist simply doing and feeling without much thought, and the results are extraordinary. I have also looked at a surrealist artist called Robert Beatty, who is famous for designing album covers. I discovered his work because of the cover he designed for Tame Impala’s album Currents, one of my favourite albums. The swirling, flowing patterns he creates not only mirror Tame Impala’s swirling, kaleidoscopic sound perfectly, they also somehow mirror their quite emotional lyrics. The lyrics describe a personal transforming following an event like a break-up, and Beatty mirrors this by creating straight, flowing lines that transform into a chaotic, churning mess. Reading What Painting Is by James Elkins was a huge inspiration as well. His claim that “painting is alchemy” is fascinating: he makes the excellent point that there is no ‘science’ behind painting, only blind experimentation, and that the only way to learn how to paint is doing the activity itself. Again, this relates to the “FEEL, SEE, DO” idea in my text – in some ways, this line encourages me to paint like an alchemist.