EVEWRIGHT (artist Everton Wright) tells us more about his film series Walking Drawings, his inspirations, ambitions and being shortlisted for Young Masters 2014…
What is it about the Young Masters Art Prize that you are most interested in?
Young Masters is a way of contemporising classical masterpieces with the new which complements my practice.
One of the great 20th Century impressionist artists, Paul Klee, once said that his drawings were representations of taking a line for a walk. My work takes that idea further by pushing drawing to innovative and daring dimensions. My project, Walking Drawings is a new and contemporary artwork that resonates with classical ideas around how art is made but also re-evaluates the meaning of space and how that connects with modern drawing and mark making.
For centuries drawing and mark making has been a catalyst for recording all human endeavours, rituals and life experiences, starting from Aboriginal cave paintings in Australia, Nazca lines in Peru to Leonardo da Vinci’s Virgin and Child and Richard Long’s landscape works. They demonstrate that drawing itself can be the central artwork and not the pre-thought before the painting. My practice pays homage to the skills and tradition of the past, however, my method embraces modern and contemporary mediums like film, video and sound, which are more attuned to how we communicate and see the world around us today.
Can you explain to us what your work is about?
My work is about beautiful life experiences, where I try to capture real life fleeting moments through the use of mediums such as drawing, painting and film. Walking Drawings comprises a series of live public art performances where I research and find desolate unused beach spaces and transform these ‘sandscapes’ into contemporary art installations.
I use mark making to create large-scale drawings of up to ¼ mile (400 metres wide) in scope. I transform these marks with performance by inviting members of the public to walk with me on the lines to elevate them, creating pathways that are interactive. In this way it creates seductive architectural patterns and formations giving a sense of belonging and prolonged existence through this inimitable interactive engagement. The entire process is filmed and photographed from various perspectives including the vantage point of a 100ft platform placed at the location.
The coastline is a place where the sea deposits as well as removes life and materials. Historically, a transitional space of arrival and departure, it represents ideas around migration and journeys. The temporal nature of the work means that each installation is created in a five-hour period in harmony with the tidal flow before being washed away by the sea. Each Walking Drawings project is, therefore, influenced by the elements and environment and cannot be controlled or replicated. This ensures that every Walking Drawings project is a distinctive, unique creation.
Which artist/s are you most inspired by?
My influences are wide: ranging from art history, photography, film, sculpture, performance, typography, paintings, all types of music and sound. I like artists who work with emotions and nature. Jean-Michel Basquiat, Chris Ofili’s ‘Dung paintings’, Cy Twombly, Picasso, Henri Matisse’s cut outs, Lucian Freud’s life studies, Francis Bacon’s screaming paintings, Damien Hirst’s Shark in a Tank, Richard Long’s wall paintings, Bill Viola’s and Steve McQueen’s film installations and the work of Turner-Prize nominee Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. Drawing has been the foundation of my creative practice and I am rarely seen without a sketchbook. Having a good foundation at St Martin’s really helped formulate the way I look at the world. So even now my art studio works on a wide range of projects. I incorporate everything from drawing, painting, film, sculpture and digital installation using coding. Communication and making a connection with people and creative expression is what matters to me.
Can you tell us something about your background?
I am a British artist, with parentage from Jamaica. My work is a conscious ‘mash up’ of drawing, sculpture combined with digital film and live installations. My work explores the intricate connections between the body and our experience of the modern environment and I communicate this through bold interactive art, also using urban and rural landscapes as my canvas.
I studied graphic design at Middlesex University, received a first class degree and continued on to train as an artist in mixed media painting at Central St Martins College of Art. I also trained in film and video production at Four Corners, London.
What inspired you to become an artist?
It was the opportunity for me to find my voice and interpret the world around me.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be?
I would be a writer.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Getting my film Walking Drawings: Across the Estuaries and prints shown at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Sometimes as artists we have a vision for our work and for me it is important that my work has been recognised, authenticated and shown in a place where others have been able to see and enjoy the work.
What are your plans for the future?
Expand my studio capacity and to make my artworks available to the public through museums and galleries in the UK, Europe and North America.
The current Walking Drawings art installation took place in three locations across the UK. I am hoping to achieve my first major exhibition to showcase my body of work. I am also planning to expand this work internationally, empowering communities and local artists in Africa, the Caribbean and America. I am currently looking for representation to develop Walking Drawings across the Diaspora which will be the fourth chapter in the Walking Drawings series of public art installation.
I have now moved into a new larger production studio, giving me an opportunity to develop other aspects of my art practice. I’m exploring painting again as well as rediscovering etching. The studio is an exciting place to be at the moment and is where I feel most at home allowing me to create infinite ideas and possibilities.