Here Comes A City

An Interview with Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes seemingly overnight, local artist Marc Gooderham has made it his mission to capture these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur, that are beginning to vanish before our eyes. In the run up to his exhibition Here Comes A City, opening February 8th 2018, we took the opportunity to ask Marc about his paintings and his project.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

There are two. Naturally the paintbrush, but also the highly underrated yet extremely versatile piece of chalk!

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How long have you been painting and drawing? When did you start out?

As far back as I can remember. As a child I would sit and draw for hours. Still lifes, portraits, intricate buildings using pen and ink. The first piece of art I sold was to my art teacher at school. He kindly parted with £150 for a still life piece. As a kid, this was all very exciting. I tried not to let that first sale go to my head…honestly.

All your pieces come from real locations, mostly in London. What is it about the urban landscape that appeals to you?

I’ve always lived in London, so it’s a place I know and love. A place of intrigue and new experiences. It’s the contrast of old and new and glimmers of a forgotten time that really appeal to me.

Buildings with a fallen, crumbling exterior always hold an evocative beauty. Cities are a physical thing, they’re made up of lines and interesting forms, and the complexities of architecture and perspective can be challenging at times. But it’s all these things that make it the perfect subject to paint. Buildings command our attention. They’re our homes, places of work, places we admire and fall in love with. They help us navigate our way through life.

What is your process for working on a new piece? 

The only real way of getting to know a city is by walking it. Familiarising myself with the street level views. Making preparatory sketches and photographs. Revisiting a potential location at different times of day – sketch as much as possible! It has to have all the right components, which help make the final composition. Light and shade, suggestions of human life, a glow or reflection in a window, lights shimmering in the distance. These all give harmony and unity to a picture. Once these are in place, I begin work in the studio.

You are now working more with chalk pastels instead of painting, was there anything in particular that drew you to a new medium?

Working with charcoal and chalk pastels has been quite a liberating experience. I am still painting, producing large canvas pieces each month, again of the urban landscape.  I will always paint, however the pastel/charcoal lends itself to working quickly and more instinctively, 50% of the picture is created using my fingers.  There isn’t a lot of room for mistakes which adds to the excitement of this medium, speed is of the essence! It’s about capturing a certain feel or atmosphere and ultimately exercising the art of freehand drawing. It gives the artist a sketch – like fluidity.

Do find yourself returning to locations?

All of time. The locations are very familiar to me. Old haunts or places I have lived naturally become the subject of my work. The city is changing at such a rapid pace, there will always be a new discovery.

What is your favourite takeaway?

 Quite simply ‘Babur To Go.

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Adam Bartlett – Painting and Process

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition with Adam Bartlett aka Tigers of the Universe. You may have seen his prints in the shop over the few months, and we’ll be looking forward to see what comes next! Adam will be exhibiting some original paintings alongside limited edition giclée prints. The show opens with a private view on Thursday April 13th from 6:30pm, we hope you can join us.

Adam creates his paintings by building up many layers of painted patterns to create beautiful decorative artworks.  We were able to grab Adam for a few questions to ask about his work and process.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….
My weapon of choice is the trusty pencil, followed closely by the brush.

How long have you been painting for? When did you start out?.
It feels like I have always been drawing and painting, although previously I was a digital illustrator for 8 years. It’s only been the in last 3 years that I’ve started painting again.

You often use a combination of media in your paintings, such as acrylic, spray paint, emulsion and even enamel. How do these combinations influence your final pieces?
The various mediums are used in layers. Emulsion is the base and finally the enamel for fine details. It’s not a hard and fast process, but more something that i enjoy. Also the paints have their own strengths and combined have good contrast and character. I am often unsure of the paints influence regarding the final piece, but more often than not pleasantly surprised.

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Many of your pieces have jungle animals and lush landscapes. Are they inspired by travel or imaginary locations?
The animals and forests are pure fantasy. I long for a world covered in jungle and forests where the animals and birds can roam free. The natural world is so stunning and I want to capture this in my paintings.

You have also worked in fashion textiles and design, does this background influence your current work?
More and more I feel the influence of textiles creeping back into the paintings, not only with introducing texture again, but thinking about fabric designs etc. It’s exciting to come full circle and bring these various experiences together again, but with a fresh perspective.

Do find you that you come back to certain motifs, themes and colours over pieces?
Yes, I think its important to keep certain repetitive elements in your paintings. Sometimes I feel guilty about repeating things, as if I’m not pushing myself enough, in which case exploiting repetitiveness will suffice.

What is your favourite takeaway?
Mmm, fish n chips or shish kebab

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Marcelina Amelia Exhibition and Interview

Our next exhibition in the shop is with Marcelina Amelia on May 7, from 7-9pm and will continue through to the end of June. We will be showcasing Marcelina’s limited edition hand-pulled screen prints and original paintings.instagram_ofcabbages

Marcelina’s work combines painting, drawing and screen-printing techniques. Originally from Poland, she draws inspiration from Polish religious iconography, folk tales, childhood memories, dreams, sexuality and human relationships. Her works are an uneasy mixture of lustful darkness and adolescent innocence. Inspired by pot plants, trapped wildernesses in miniature, the overcrowded streets of London and never ending online content, this body of work examines the relationship between humans, individuals and their environment. Marcelina utilises nature as a metaphor for everyday feelings and headaches.

-What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…

I actually use all of them. I always start with the pen or pencil though, and then see where the work takes me. Because of my Fine Art and Illustration background, screen printing came in handy as I can mix both painting and drawing in one.

-What do you miss the most from living in Poland? 

I miss polish food, especially my grandma’s cooking. I also miss polish humour, it is very hard to translate it into another language. Believe me I’ve tried! I also miss the nature, in Poland we have both mountains and the sea, and beautiful countryside too –
and people, obviously.

Marcelina_cabbages_kings-How do Poland and London influence your work? 

Marlene Dumas once said that she never quite knows where she is. I have a similar feeling, that I’m always somehow divided between London and Poland, and that I’m never 100% present in a space and time. Suffering from a typical immigrant expat syndrome made me more aware of my own culture, and it became a source of the inspiration for my work.

Polish folk tales, religious iconography the aesthetics of School of Polish Poster, my own memories of growing up in Poland and the importance of family values have had a strong impact on my work. But, at the same time, London taught me a lot about the freedom of expression and being experimental, which gave me all those feelings that I would never experience if I stayed in a country that I was born in.

London is full of extremely talented people and interesting events, which motivates me. I also think that it made me grow up faster and made my skin thicker. But most importantly London, and its overcrowded alienation, is one of the themes that I find myself attracted to.Marcelina_cabbages_kings_girl

-A lot of your work seems to be very self-referential. Do you see it as a self-portrait?

Sometimes it happens unconsciously, I’m not trying to draw myself, but the final outcome resembles me. When I was a kid and I was learning to draw, sometimes because of the lack of the model around, I would sit in front of a mirror and spent hours drawing myself in different poses and expression just to practice. I would spent a lot of time drawing my younger cousins too, so every time I paint or draw a kid it has something that resembles one of them.

Usually I’m trying to tell a story or to illustrate a certain feeling, and a person that appears on a paper is just like an actor that is helping me to communicate the message.

At the same time, I can’t deny that my work is very personal.

-Do you find yourself returning to themes with your work?

Yes, I do often revisit the themes of my own and my family’s past, of growing up. I constantly find my family photographs as a great source of inspiration. Our relationship with the environment, where are we in terms of time and space, is also one of the themes I find myself going back to. I do often try to illustrate emotions.

– How long have you been printing?  

I’ve started learning about screen printing at the end of 2013. I took a fantastic course at Print Club London, and haven’t stopped printing since then.

-What is your favourite takeaway?

I’m trying to eat healthy these days, but I would not ignore a good kebab from Super Kebab in Stoke-Newington and I love sushi from Wasabi.
I do usually go out for coffee though, they have an amazing flat white in Haberdashery, and fantastic cakes in Bienvenue!