YS: Can you tell me a bit about what first interested you in making art?
BB: I’ve always been interested in making things and I think this is feeling that a lot of artists can resonate with. From a young age my parents were always encouraging me to explore and push my boundaries and it seemed that a natural progression from this was to try and add form to the ideas in my head. Recently i’ve begun to flesh out my motivations behind making art, crystalizing my themes and learning what I want to do more of and what I am already finished with.
I noticed that you have a background in street art or mural painting; does that still influence your work today?
I think so, but not in the way it once did. I used to produce figurative and cartoonish murals but these aren’t things that fit comfortably into the themes I’m currently working with. I enjoy the physicality required in painting murals and the different problems that you encounter during their painting but I’d like to try and simplify my designs and try and reflect more of my practice in their production. That being said, give me a few cans of spray paint, a sunny day and a big wall and i’m a happy man!
You often use a computer to start pieces. Do you have a background in digital illustration that led you to using it for your paintings?
I studied graphic design for 3 years and i’ve worked on quite a few album/ep covers for bands and they always seemed to dig my illustrative work. For that stuff i’ll draw the artwork in pen first, then scan it and colour in Photoshop which allows you to work quickly and intuitively and as a bonus is really hard to mess up. Recently i’ve started making shaped canvasses, trying to produce work that looks 3 dimensional and move out from the wall. I’ll sketch some designs in my book first then recreate and manipulate these shapes in Illustrator, experimenting with colour choice and dimensions.
Where do you get your ideas from, or is each piece something of a spontaneous experiment?
Tough one. I guess most of my ideas come indirectly from photographs that I take. I’m a bit of a digital hoarder, taking hundreds of photographs of anything that i’m currently working on, objects that i find interesting and unique colour schemes in nature and the built environment. In fact I’ve recently started a second Instagram account thats devoted to this hobby which you can see here @all_of_the_everything. I often scroll rapidly through my collection and i find ideas just seem to pop out at me in the process. However, I do try and experiment with new materials and methods frequently as I find doing so can be really inspiring.
What do you like most about using different mediums, first the computer, and then painting?
I really like having a handle on a number of different tools and mediums. I’m a tech collector, not technology but rather technique. I really enjoy teaching myself new things and I think doing so broadens my artistic horizons and feeds directly back into my practice. Using the computer for me is the same as using a paintbrush, a camera, a spray can or a pencil; they’re all tools that I can employ in creating something new and from that I gain some small satisfaction.
Do you have any particularly strong influences, or mentors?
I’m influenced by so much and whilst there are some constants I find that they can be ephemeral. Some stalwarts for me are The Washington Colour School, AC4CA, John Wyndam, Hunter S Thompson, Richard Dawkins, Josh Sperling, Greg Bogin, Sam Friedman, Morgan Blair, Egon Schiele, Anish Kapoor, Jonny Niesche, Ellswoth Kelly, Frank Stella, Wu Tang Clan, Biggie, Aphex Twin, Howling Wolf, Johnny Cash, Bill Murray, NPR and my girlfriend Betty Richards. Also cats, more as influencers not mentors.
What do you consider to be the most exciting or rewarding aspect of working as an artist?
On the flip side of that, is there anything you find particularly challenging? In that vein, what do you need most as an artist?
Not being able to solve a problem satisfactorily. I’ve come to realise as well that all I really need to solve the problems I set myself are time, I’d like to say I need more of it but if I’m honest I think it would be a bit more useful to make more of the time that I currently have.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t make work that you don’t like. Sounds simple I know but I needed it pointed out to me!
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects?
I’m working on a few murals at the moment which are a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I have a solo exhibition In January next year, a residency and another exhibition in April/March and then a residency at PICA (Perth Institute for Contemporary Art) Next October/November.
Anything else you would like to add?
Not really, eat your vegetables maybe?
Find more at hawkwinstonhawk.com!
+ + +