Covering Synthesis, the dual solo exhibitions from British artists and tattooers Dominique Holmes and Mister Paterson, is currently on display at Atomica Soho until 30th November 2013. Dominique’s intricate mixed-media work is saturated with references to Eastern culture and bustling with beautifully psychedelic symbolism. Paterson’s distinct style involves painstakingly inking black dots onto paper to create striking deities. We caught up with Dominique and Paterson to ask them a few questions about the show…
Tell us a little bit about the inspiration behind the exhibition…
Dominique: Mister Paterson and I had been talking about doing an exhibition together pretty much for the past decade, and were really just waiting for the right time and opportunity to come along. Our work individually as artists has evolved a lot over the years, which I felt was quite fitting when we realised we were both working on rather disassembled and abstracted styles, and that as different as they were aesthetically, there were a lot of common themes we were both drawn to that appeared throughout. On a personal level, my work for Covering Synthesis is a bit of a culmination of years of studying and recreating themes from Japanese, Chinese, Tibetan, Indian and Islamic art and theory in my tattoo and art works, merging different symbolism from these ancient cultures and creating a modern aesthetic with them.
Paterson: My inspiration comes from a love of iconic religious imagery and the power it evokes. I also wanted to bring what I do on skin to paper and show the connection between the two mediums.
What is your working process?
Dominique: I start with an idea of what narrative or meaning I want to work with – my paintings all represent and include symbols of life, death, faith etc – and then I research different symbols which represent these things in different cultures. I have a vast collection of vintage
fabrics, papers and found objects, from which I create a base and background on a canvas to create an overall colour palette and feel for the image. Again, I pick colours which have a
resonance with the story behind the piece, and often I try to fit the origin of the symbols with the origin of the collage material – antique kimono fabric for a Japanese themed story, for example. From there I build on my central piece, adding textures to the overall image towards the end to create either softness, or fragility, or harshness to the feel.
Paterson: Solitude and music are essential when I work so my headphones are never far away. I’m easily distracted and so having a way to shut myself off from the outside world is vital. I like to work on my drawing board but always with it flat and not at an angle plus I have to be comfy as it’s incredibly laborious work. I tend to create playlists to work to and find that listening to certain kinds of music really gets me motivated.
What is your favourite piece in the exhibition?
Dominique: My favourite piece is actually one of the collaboration pieces – the Anatomical Heart with the eye/pear in the centre. I can’t even explain what it is about that one, but it was hugely enjoyable to make and I love the overall aesthetic.
Paterson: I’m going to answer both questions by saying the collaboration pieces. I know Dom had to do the lions share of
these pieces and I want to say that it’s her creativity and eye that brought what we do together in a way that worked. Of course there are pieces of my own work that I feel satisfied with, but the collaboration pieces mean the most to me as they symbolise the realisation of a longstanding dream. We have talked about exhibiting work together for a long time and ultimately my friendship with Dom and doing this with her means more to me than anything else.
What would you like to achieve next?
Dominique: I would like to be able to dedicate more time to my painting, but at the same time I have plans for a second book next year, as well as expanding my jewelry line with Black Pearl Boutique, and I have a lot of exciting new tattoo projects… so I’ll have to manage my time very carefully! Mister Paterson and I also discussed the possibility of collaborating on some mixed media and installation projects, so hopefully we’ll have time to start on that!
Paterson: I’ve been very inspired seeing Dom’s work and I’d like to go back to painting more and maybe creating some work that has a looser feel albeit with a strong dotwork element to it still. I don’t want to lose my identity but I think my work could become stale if I stick to a certain formula. I’ve really enjoyed the experience of exhibiting work and hope to do so again in the not too distant future.
Do you have any art heroes or inspirations?
Dominique: It’s probably a bit obscure but I’ve always been a huge fan of Marcel Duchamp as an artist and innovator; he changed the shape of modern art and how people perceive it. I’ve also always been inspired by Mark Rothko’s huge coloured canvases and Richard Hamilton’s collage pieces. Other than that I’m mostly inspired by Tibetan art, Comic books and antique fabric prints. And Ernst Haeckel, he is kind of the main one!
Paterson: I’m the first to admit that I get too influenced by other artists sometimes so I try not to look too hard. It’s very easy to see something and want to emulate it and then you end up with a watered down version. I’m not trying to force anything but it’s important to find your own path. That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy the work of other artists, far from it, I just have to be careful of where the inspiration comes from. Like picking your favourite song, my favourite artists change from week to week. My current list would include Mike Giant, Ramon Maiden, Travis Louie, Craola and a whole heap of tattoo artists.
Covering Synthesis, the dual solo exhibitions from British artists and tattooers Dominique Holmes and Mister Paterson, is currently on display at Atomica Soho until 30th November 2013.