Words by Jessica Peace
Will, at G&T we are BIG fans of your stuff. Tell us what makes you want to make?
I guess now it is such a part of my existence that to not make things would make me feel pretty strange. That’s not to say I don’t have days off! I love a day off and it’s super important to refuel but making art is amongst the few things that make me very peaceful and happy.
You are a man of many mediums, from the pencil to the camera, spinning clay in between. What is exciting you most at the moment?
My focus shifts from one thing to another, in all honesty this is because I get bored quickly, my concentration can be intense but shifts frequently so I find shifting between mediums keeps me lively and interested. At the moment I’m focusing on drawing, painting and printmaking. I love making ceramics but they take up a lot of room so I have to hold back a bit.
Most recently some work I made I’m really happy with are a set of screen prints I made in Brittany with artist and printmaker Aniack Moriceau. It’s the second time I’ve been out there to stay with her family and it’s very peaceful and we go walking by the sea. This year we saw dolphins off the coast and I made a set of prints based on flower arrangements she made with flowers from her garden in a pot I made the last time I was there.
You have a distinctive colour palette and use of form; are these shapes and
tones in any way informed by the natural world?
My work draws very much from a love of certain landscapes and places and lots of other art – which also references certain landscapes and places, so the world around us does make up a large part of my work, or what becomes my work.
I redraw and redraw things, abstracting as I go, not purposefully to obscure but create a bit more space in them. I love landscapes with space in themes these places subconsciously get into my work. Plant forms and colours from warmer climates certainly get in there too.
Do you work with natural materials?
Clay is a very natural material! Granted a lot of the stuff that is used nowadays is processed or industrially made but the clay body itself and the oxides haven’t changed a lot from the stuff that would have been found in the ground.
It’s humbling to think you’re doing something that the first humans did many years ago and to have that connection with a much more rudimentary way of life is grounding. Clay is such a capricious material too, things have been added to make it easier to work but essentially it will do what it wants in the end, very much the land.
How Green is your Studio?
Well I work from home in a studio at the front of the flat I share with my wife so there are lots of plants about yes. Our current flat is quite rough and ready with exposed brick so the plants take the edge off and soften the corners and add a bit of life.
One of your pieces reads ‘Be Well’; do you think humans need to engage
with nature to ‘be well’?
I do firmly believe this and try not to make the distinction between us and the natural world but it certainly is necessary to get out of the megalopolis, or if you can’t do that at least go to a park and see a tree.
I miss seeing animals and I certainly miss the feeling of space you get in a more wild landscape. That piece of work actually came from a road trip my wife and I took down the west coast of America, this amazing woman said it to us on a beach in northern California, just as we had emerged from the redwood forests. That was a pretty special trip and I wanted to channel some of the Pacific coast optimism.
Palm or Petal?
I think palm, I like colourful flowers but the sheer scale of some palm leaves are incredible and the heat of the sun they remind me of is also comforting.
Best Green Space in London that you don’t mind sharing with us?
I haven’t been for a little while but the Barbican conservatory is an obvious but genuine choice. I spent a lot of time there over the past few years on weekends, drawing for hours.