I'm very happy to share the work of London-based artist Jake Clark who has been painting and assembling images of the seaside for a couple of decades now. I was instantly drawn to his gorgeous, high-contrast compositions in which the palette - that particularly bright, pale sun known to northern places like the UK, is just marvelous! I also really dig the mix of collage and painting, with an influence from photography, and a recent diversion into sculptural manifestations of seaside homes, which can be found at his website below!
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Can you tell me about yourself, where you're from and where you're based now?
I was born in London and until the age of 8 was brought up in Mallorca, hence the subject matter being hotels etc. I have been working in a studio in London now for 20 years. I also teach on a Foundation course in Art and Design in London. This has influenced my practice in making models and collages with the students.
What first interested you in making art? I noticed that you work often in painting, but also move into 3D and collage as well; do you find yourself emphasizing one over the other?
I got in to art as my mother was a painter and my father a travel photographer.
Making 3D pieces is a relatively new aspect to my work. I am interested in crazy golf and making my own versions of this seemed to make sense. I photograph these models which then become reference for the paintings. They also relate to buildings and details from seaside towns.
The collages and models become the subject matter of the painting. These I treat like paintings in themselves by working over them in paint. What I like about painting is the instinctive and improvised nature of the medium. Things can change quickly and the search for the image and how it holds the picture space is always exciting.
Who or what are some of your major influences? Any particularly important mentors?
My influences are painters like Peter Doig, Martin Kippengerger and Malcom Morley. I am also interested in cinema, filmmakers like David Lynch in particular.
Your palette is central to the work you do, as the atmosphere of the seaside is very much influenced by the light. And I also noticed that you studied photography at university. Do you work from photographs or life, or a little bit of both?
I work a lot from my own photographs which I take when traveling to America, Mallorca and British seaside towns.
Is there anything significant about the houses, or the scenes -- are they found, imagined, or from life?
The houses are mainly bungalows found in seaside towns. They interest me asbland structures to rebuild in the paintings. I like theatmospheres that they suggest without showing any people.
What is your favorite thing about painting, especially with oil as your chosen medium?
The oil paint is a messy and shinymedium that lends itself to the subject. Acrylic just would not work.
If you were able to go back in time and give your younger self a piece of advice as you were just starting to seriously pursue art, what would you tell yourself?
My advise to younger self would be to keep experimenting on not get stuck on one thing.
What do you find most challenging about being an artist? What do you need most to do your best work?
The challenges are time, money and focus.
Any upcoming projects or exhibitions?
I have been in 6 shows this year including a solo show, so I am currently making new work. I am part of the Discerning Eye show in November. I am also writing an article about John Bratby for the London-based painting magazine "Turps Banana,” which comes out next year.
Find more at jake-clark.co.uk!
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