George grew up in south London. He de-constructs the world around him in a non-conformist way to produce art that shows the necessary truths of our society. He is heavily influenced by the experiences of his travels, which he uses to develop an abstract and objective view of his surroundings. It is often this ‘distance’ that becomes the subject and inspiration for many of his pieces. Check out An-Mag.com’s interview with George below.
I’M NOT SURPRISED IN THE LEAST BIT when George Morton-Clark tells me he hates nice art. It makes more sense than looking both ways before you cross the street. For the London based artist & painter paintings are but mere reminders of the cathartic act of creating.
“My art has a certain eerie feel that is there to un-nerve the viewer,” George explains. “I hate nice art.”
George grew up in south London. He de-constructs the world around him in a non-conformist way to produce art that shows the necessary truths of our society. He is heavily influenced by the experiences of his travels, which he uses to develop an abstract and objective view of his surroundings. It is often this ‘distance’ that becomes the subject and inspiration for many of his pieces.
“Society has evolved a paranoid state of mind because of our ever-tightening freedoms. I see the world as a colliding of consciousness, made violent by its increasing extremes. We are becoming more suffocated in our day to day lives by marketing, religious views and bureaucracy. I use my work to explore the effects of these pressures on each other and ourselves.”
An-Mag.com: Describe your artwork to someone who has never seen it.
George Morton-Clark: If I had to describe my art to a blind man, I would explain to him that it is amalgamation of bold images and colors. This would just be the start. My art has a certain eerie feel that is there to un-nerve the viewer. The paintings that I create are not all the time the easiest thing to look at. I am inspired by the Baroque period as the art produced then was very strong and obvious. It was there to impose an emotion like an opera and I have tried to modernize this. As a kid my granny had a house full of very eerie paintings usually portraits. I would wonder alone in the house and would always feel their presence. When I would stop and stare at one when no-one else was around the silence of the corridors plus the paintings would deliver a shiver down my spine. This childhood experience is a great way to tackle my art as I want to create the same feeling those paintings did for me.
An-Mag.com: Your bio reads that your art shows “the necessary truths of our society.” What are those truths?
GMC: The ‘necessary truths of our society’ are in our everyday lives but most people will carry on oblivious or ignorant. I like to deal with issues such as cultural tension, misogyny and sex. This is just the start as it depends what is happening at the time of painting. There is a definite day to day life that my work will take as I watch the news a lot and when there is a striking debate I will try to incorporate it in my work. I use my art to give myself a voice as this is very important and everyone should have one.
An-Mag.com: How was it growing up in south London?
GMC: Growing up in London is a tough game. You have a different head screwed on when you are there. You are constantly paranoid and angry. Looking over your shoulder at all times. I am sure this is not the same for all people in London but this is my experience of the place. This is why I tend to try and escape the city for two months of the year to give myself a fresh look on life and to stop myself going insane. When I am working I think twenty four-seven about my work which is a little too much at some points. Having a nine to five would be a lot easier life as you are able to switch off at the end of your day. So yes it does influence my work a great deal as I do not feel it would have its intensity it has if it was not for the city.
An-Mag.com: How has traveling influenced your work?
GMC: Having traveled a lot I feel this has been the biggest education I have had in my life. As through traveling you gain an understanding of other people and their way of life. You are also able to experience a culture and see it first hand. It gives you the chance to see countries use of art, which I am sure, has influenced mine through colours and techniques. I was in India last year and the strong colours in both their art and day to day life has had a huge impact. A Religious Hindu day called Holi where people throw paint at each other was like standing in a painting and watch it come to life. I would watch people changing colour in front of my eyes. This year my work has been heavily influenced by this experience especially in two paintings called ‘Heroes and Villains’ and ‘Stag’. The festival was in my mind when creating these two paintings. Blurring the edges and giving them a dream like ethereal quality. Where people are there but almost seem like they are not. This was my experience of the festival.
An-Mag.com: Would you consider your work abstract? Why or Why not?
GMC: do not consider my work abstract as such. But there is a definite fine line that I am treading. I love feeling free with a canvas and letting the brush and colours work themselves but at the same time I love to be technical and detailed. It really depends on my mood as I will use my knowledge as a painter to work out the best way to deliver the painting.
An-Mag.com: When did you begin painting?
GMC: I began painting at a very early age I think about three or four. My family was very creative and I would sit there watching my brother who is a little older than me drawing cartoon characters. I even remember then getting so frustrated at myself for not getting them right. I would be able to see the image in my head but not relay it to the paper. After a while of persevering I got the technique down and was able to create what I wanted. It also helped living in London as my mother would always be taking us to galleries which would always inspire me.
An-Mag.com: Did you go to school for art?
GMC: As I got older I wanted to become an animator as I loved to see the movement of colors and characters. I studied animation for four years. After finishing I realised that I would rather work down a coal mine than be one as you have no creative control what so ever. I soon realised that you could incorporate the two on canvas. If you look at a recent painting of mine called ‘heroes and villains’ you can defiantly see my love for animation coming through.
An-Mag.com: What’s next for you?
GMC: Last year was a great year for me as I was involved in some fantastic projects. My favorite was working with Matt Small on the Represent show. This was a great experience and Matt is one of the greats to work with. I am now with Red Propeller gallery which is an amazing gallery as they look after you in such a way that you do not expect. They help you grow as an artist and they are as enthusiastic about your work as you are. I have got a few things lined up this year but want to keep them hush but one show that I am looking forward to is in New York this year, so keep you eyes peeled!