In conversation with London based artist Empty Eye.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
I’m originally from Torquay in South Devon and now live in Crouch End, North London. Although I’ve had studio spaces before, I currently work at home and much prefer it. I studied for an FdA (Foundation Degree) in Exeter, which was through Plymouth University. I then topped up my FdA to degree at the London Metropolitan. Even though I have a degree in fine art – with regards to painting – you’re not really taught the technical side of it at University, so in that regard you’re still self-taught. At University, you do, however, gain good knowledge of the conceptual side of art and art history in general.
I started my creative journey in music and the music industry, initially in bands and then on the management, production, and songwriting side. As the industry started to change with the advent of the internet and free downloading I moved out of London and back to Devon for while, which is were I started the fine art foundation degree in Exeter. On moving back to London I carried on with it.
Can you talk about the themes you are exploring through your work?
With the Empty Eye work my themes are generally childhood influences that are re-examined and bought into a contemporary context. With the fantasy figures that I’m currently working on being hybridised characters that reference everything from 70’s pin-ups to classical sculpture to Japanese floral art; that are part of an overarching and ever-evolving narrative.
Do you use a sketchbook? I’m interested in what a sketchbook means to you and your work?, or how people develop their ideas.
Currently, I tend to use Inkscape as a digital form of a sketchbook, where play around with collage-type ideas until I come up with a satisfactory mock-up of an image, which I can then paint. With regard to actual sketchbooks, I used them a lot when I was studying, as they were an important part the marking. I’d like to get back to using them again as I can still look through my old sketchbooks for ideas.
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
I generally work everyday, even if it’s only for a few hours. I work on one painting at a time and give it my complete – obsessive – focus; it doesn’t work for me working on a few paintings at the same time, although I do work on new digital ideas at the same time.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic? I’ve become increasingly interested in the relationship of the sketchbook and the work to the artist.
I find painting very therapeutic. It’s definitely a form of meditation where your complete focus is directed to a signal point. Time then just seems to disappear. I also like to play music that’s not too obtrusive, which usually end’s up being something ambient by Brian Eno, which creates a nice atmosphere to be productive in.