(Interview) ShoCASEme | Mar 2012

Abigail Box, born and raised in York is now practicing as an artist in her studio in East London. She has exhibited and sold work internationally in Australia, Bermuda, Hong Kong, Liechtenstein and the UK. Box graduated from the University of the Arts London, Camberwell, in 2008 with a BA in Fine Art Painting after having previously attended Glasgow School of Art for one year in Fine Art Sculpture and Environmental Design.

To View Abigail Box’s Artist Techniques:

Click Here


SC: Can you tell us about some of your work?

AB: I think being interested in things is a good thing to be and my work tries to encourage that idea of curiosity and fascination. This is especially true in the mundane but also just in general to take things in because so much passes us by and I like to try and slow it down.


SC: How would you describe your style?

AB: I like to work with a lot of colors, painterly gestures and to experiment with mark marking, so my paintings are usually a big mixture of complimentary and clashing colors and textures. I especially like to paint big paintings, and would even paint bigger if I had a bigger studio. I would also like for some of the big animals present in my work to be life size, perhaps just to know that they are as big as they are in life, as that would put a different slant on how the viewer registers the image.


SC: What inspires you to paint?

AB: I like the freedom that comes with painting. That you can make a picture of whatever you’d like to. I also like to invent scenes first by collaging things together but then when it comes to translating the picture into a painting, I’m allowed with paint to develop it however I like past that original photographic assemblage.


SC: Are there any historical or contemporary artists that you specifically admire or who have influenced your work?

AB: I especially like Peter Doig, I can get lost in his paintings. Rebecca Warren for the way she makes sculptures, like a really gestural painting. Also, I’ve recently become a big fan of Wilhelm Sasnal, whose work I saw at Frieze fair. I’m completely in awe of his work and I think I’d honestly be quite star struck if I ever met him. Gosh, I just googled his name to check that I spelled it right and I’ve found a load of interviews with him. I like watching or listening to artist interviews online, like the Tate site has a lot of them, which I put on when I’m painting late at night.


SC: Where do your ideas come from?

AB: Sometimes ideas come to me while I’m making one piece, so one painting will inspire the next. Other times, looking at work by other artists often inspires me to try out a similar technique or idea.


SC: Are your paintings of actual locations/people or are they painted from your imagination?

AB: They’re mostly painted from photographs.


SC: Can you tell us what your process and method is when you are creating?

AB: I have a big collection of imagery… both on my computer in the form of Internet searches or scans and just drawers, folders and shelves of cutouts.


SC: Please tell us about your technique, what your preference in materials is and why?

AB: I use oils, tubes of paint including colors I don’t expect to use, bits of card, brushes… I’ve lately started using the edge of cards to paint surfaces that require less control over where different colors end up on the canvas like bricks for instance.


SC: Do you choose your subjects or do they choose you?

AB: bit of both because the first bear I used in my work definitely found me. I saw him in the Metro and took a fancy to him, so I ripped him out and put him in my pocket for later. I had no idea he was going to be the first of many massive and wild animals that would go into my work. I have increasingly specific ideas for what I’m looking for in the imagery I use but every so often I come across something that I wouldn’t have thought to consider using and I’ll add it to the image collection.


SC: How does your location or environment affect your work?

AB: Lots of light is good and a bit of a balance. I like to work by myself or at least with minimal talking and so I enjoy being in my studio. But getting out of the studio is good too, walks and going out and doing something at the weekend.


SC: What is your thought process when you are about to approach a new design?

AB: I usually have an idea in my head for my next piece for a while, so when I finally get around to it I’m completely ready for it.


SC: What are you feeling when you are working on a project?

AB: I sometimes think about how crazy it is that my job includes coloring in.


SC: What is it that inspires you to paint a particular subject?

AB: I like to paint things that have an element of curiosity or light humor. The piece ‘You Can’t Leave That Lion There’ is about lots of things but I like that there’s a gigantic wild cat having a nap on the sofa in the hallway.


SC: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

AB: I don’t always know what I’m doing but meeting other people and talking about what you’re thinking always seems like a good place to find out.


SC: What’s next? What are your latest works about and where are you going with them?

AB: I currently have an exhibition on at IdentityArtGallery.com in Hong Kong until March 5th. Then I have a show at DegreeArt.com in London on Vyner Street which, will be on from the 5 – 27 April. I’m also doing some work with TheFabelist.com a group that celebrates the thinking behind and the process of creating work as well as the finished piece.


SC: What is your greatest ambition as an artist?

AB: “How can painting reflect the experience of being alive today?” – Wilhelm Sasnal. I’d like to make work, which achieves that. Or maybe slightly rephrased, how can painting reflect how being alive today can be experienced.


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