Antony Lakey: Artists Statement: Revisited.
I am a painter. I am not dead. Painting is not dead either. It may however be appropriately described as undead since it has been declared dead so many times. I paint on rubbish. I know you would throw it away but I like that it includes a sense of the domestic and everyday in my work, and then people see how much I really like cornflakes and where I bank. It is also cheap, and easy to store, and a cereal packet isn't as demanding as canvas, that diva of art materials. I reproduce what catches my eye. I want to record these brief points of contact between myself and the fluid cacophony of contemporary life. The few images in the maelstrom that make me pause, get saved. In the process of reproduction I study them, and give more time to a part of myself. I am concerned with the social experience. We exist within an intense whirlwind of images, sound, and ideas. I try to reflect this multitude, many layered existence and the way we select and discard and intermix. I paint in oil. Old as the dinosaurs (of art). Ever since I first used it I have been in love with its many characters and tolerance. Originally I laid it on thick, but now I spread it in thin transparent washes that let the light reflect back through from the surface underneath. I hang my work in installations. Groups of paintings and drawings clustered together. I like the encompassing experience that allows me to control the context of the display. I can reflect the modern human experience as well as the small personalities that fight within it. I hang my work on wire. Like washing on a line, it hangs looking slightly rumpled and pushed up against its peers, but like the clothes on a washing line you might see in the mass the shape of the person it is meant to surround. I sometimes draw on the wall. I want my pictures to look like they are hung in front of a window, but I choose the view. I like to resist the 'white cube' of the modern gallery that could be in any street, in any city. My work has a context and I want to give the viewer a way to see it. I work quickly. I rarely take more than an hour to make a painting. This forces me to 'paraphrase' the image into my own style and reveal my attentions. My pictures come out light with the drawing intact. The viewer can see the lines and brush marks and me. I draw freehand. No projection or grids. This surprises people. I don't shade or hatch, I leave that effect to the paint. I mix the colours and test them on a scrap sheet. I thin the paint with mineral spirits and some medium to maintain the paint film. I brush the colour onto the surface, sometimes I have to dab with a rag to prevent it dripping. Sometimes I make the colour darker then wipe it back to create highlights. Other times I add another darker layer on top to create shadows. I add the date. I like to feel the presence of an artist when I look at their work. I loved seeing Egon Schiele's fingerprints when I looked at one of his paintings, I felt like I was sharing a space with him. The date provides a similar point of contact. I like the possibility that a viewer might remember what they were doing the day I made an image. In the UK I wrote it numerically: day/month/year. However, to avoid confusion, now that I am in the US, I am writing it like this: 25th Sept 2012 (todays date). I listen to music when I work. The headphones isolate me into a world of just me and my painting. What I listen to depends on how I am feeling, but usually includes dancy/pop/rock, stuff with a good beat. Examples include Lady Gaga, LMFAO, Kiss, Guns n' Roses, Fleetwood Mac, and Eagles of Death Metal. I feel light on my feet and energised when I am in this cocoon with my art-in-progress. Everything else fades out. I have stopped making myself a cup of tea before I start a painting, it always gets forgotten and goes cold (a heinous crime). I don't make a mess. Apart from a few pencil shavings. I used to make a terrible mess but somehow now I don't. I have stopped worrying about what I wear when I paint because it is no longer an issue. It seems that as my work has got looser my technique has become more controlled. I like it when the viewer gets right up close to my work. They are sharing the space I occupied when I made it.