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INTERVIEW WITH BRITISH ARTIST MAX GIMSON

In this short interview artist Max Gimson talks about his work and living in Brighton.

Can you share a few words about the city you are living in and how is the local art scene?

Max:

I live in Brighton, England. It’s a strange place to be; it seems like every other person I meet is an artist of some description. There’s a substantial turnover of art and music students so the buskers are proficient and there’s skillful graffiti, which is nice. With such a large amount of creative people in one place you’d imagine there would be some exciting things going on. It’s trendy with artisanal bakers and coffee shops and people seem to enjoy the beach where they have food, drink and chat based picnics when the sun comes out. I can’t say much about the local art scene as I haven’t seen one or have attempted to find one. I have friends that prop up an interesting scene when it suits them but other than that there’s a studio complex, a few arts council funded things and window galleries in the lanes.

New Animals, 2014, Oil, Acrylic on Canvas, 150 x 120 cm

How would you describe your work and what are your main influences?

My work usually takes the form of paintings or drawings and I use elements of
installation when I come to exhibit. Being bored has always been a starting point in my work. I tend to be drawn to the neutral or bland spaces of the day to day; a living room, a trip to Burlington Gap or Warleigh Weir, a viewpoint from a table at Nando’s, a Hotel room in St Helens and unblocking a waste drain. Domestic environments act as the backdrop for anecdotes and can set up the mood within my work. Some of my top moods to use are: horror, humour, despair, anxiety and joy but it depends what mood I’m in really. Recently I’ve made work that is more concerned with the inconsequential and benign in an attempt to create a perspective or voice within the work that has a lack of energy. Autobiographical to some extent but I think it’s quite amusing the idea of this person (myself) being compelled to chronicle events around them (me) when they (I) are (am) essentially tired, bored and uninspired.

When successful I hope the newer paintings suggest a narrative outside of the canvas. I usually draw with biro on paper and these drawings act as plans for larger painted work but now and then find importance in their own right. When I start painting I try to find a balance between over exaggeration and simplifying in terms of figuration. Basically I’m trying to find the most effective way of describing what an object is, either with the application of paint, quality of paint or by distorting the colour and composition. With these rules in place the results tend to be pictures that occupy more of a psychological space. In terms of influence from other artists I’m not too sure. I found my style quite naturally from working through ideas but being introduced to the works of Magritte and Guston probably had an impact along theway. More recently I’ve been looking at the paintings of Algernon Newton

Beaching, 2013, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 120 cm

What made you want to become an artist?

I can’t recall ever saying to myself “I’m going to be an artist”. I think i’ve only
done things because I’ve enjoyed doing them or I’m getting something off my chest in one way or another. I didn’t particularly enjoy the pursuit of making art till I’d nearly graduated from university but things seemed to click and I started to enjoy the way I could communicate ideas through painting.
I could just as easily be packing salad into pots in a refrigerated room if that
were at all satisfying… I’ve packed salad into pots in a refrigerated room for a job once and it turns out it wasn’t very satisfying. Making art is still satisfying at the moment so I’ll carry on doing it for now.

Are there any artists in particular that you identify with today?

There are a lot of contemporary painters that I take notice of but that’s more of an acknowledgement of technique. I probably identify most with the artists I live with, work with and am friends with in Brighton.

Domestic environments act as the backdrop for anecdotes and can set up the mood within my work.

How do you feel about using online platforms to expose your works?

Yeah it’s fine, if new people get to see something I’ve done and get something out of it then that’s good. I broke my laptop the other week and I worried that I’d lost all the images of my work but most of it is on Facebook and what have you so it also acts as an online backup which is handy. I find that at Christmas I can tell family members to google my name and it comes across as mildly impressive when lots of links to my work pop up. They don’t see the tens of hours I’ve put in to registration forms and uploading photographs though which is the beauty of the whole arrangement.

The Gas Holders, 2013, Oil on Canvas, 120 x 120 cm

What are you working on currently or your plans for the near future?

I briefly talked about my new paintings earlier; I’ll be doing more of those I imagine. I’m just starting a large painting of a woman’s leg poking out of a doorway draped in a saucy dressing gown which should be fun to do and I’ve started to play the recorder again so it’s an exciting time. I’ll also be showing work in a joint exhibition with Aliye Dorkip in Brussels in October.

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