Interview with PHOENIX Magazine

 It’s interesting that as our seasonal shifts become the lynchpin of day-to-day conversation, our artists, more often than not, seem to leave that discussion out of their work. So the issue we approached three very different artists who we love and asked them to produce a unique piece of work about weather systems.

…Tell us about the work you created for PHOENIX


Abigail Box: I’ve been painting recently from imagery which is in some way abstracted. Imagery like this has less recognisable content which means I can focus more on working with paint as a material and on what is possible to create by doing that. I painted ‘Loud Light’ from a collage that I made out of photographs obscured because they are overexposed or contain lots of reflection or lens flare and in general too much light. I’m interested in the possibility of transcending our idea of what something visual is by describing light as something so bright that it could be audible.

PH: How does Britain’s oppressive weather affect your artistic sensibilities?

AB: I like the way we describe our weather, that air can be crisp and the cold sharp. I’m intrigued by how those words can paint a picture and convey an atmosphere. Words evoking pictures, I see it as a translation of sorts and it makes me consider how I choose to translate myself, describing image and meaning in my painting.

PH: What was the first piece of art that moved you?

AB: The first piece I remember wanting to spend time with was Jules Olitski’s Colour Field painting ‘Instant Loveland’ at Tate Modern. Colour Field is another description which I think paints a picture all by itself and ‘Instant Loveland’ is massive, over six metres across, standing in front of it felt like walking into a hazy cloud of iridescent lilac. I remember finding myself completely engulfed by that glow.

PH: Describe your artistic style in 3 words:

AB: Inventing gestural descriptions

PH: What attracted you to this medium?

AB: A lady in a life drawing class once told me that she found painting with oil paints to be like painting with cream

PH: Best piece of advice you’ve heard about art?

AB: To appreciate the act of looking – Bridget Riley

PH: What kind of art don’t you like?

AB: Boring art

PH: Who or what inspires you most?

AB: I’m very inspired by painting in itself. Looking closely at the different gestures and brushwork in other people’s work. The way paint has been applied or how one colour or surface sits alongside another. I’m interested in taking a picture and all of its process apart, and working out what for me makes an interesting and captivating image.

PH: Where can we find your work?

AB: In exhibitions and on my website

PH: The best thing about the British summer is…

AB: Sitting outside drinking Pimm’s

Portrait by Leigh Keily

Artists: Abigail Box, Melvin Galapon and Hayden Kays

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