London artist Jack Pearce’s expressive figurative work features loose-tongued (and limbed) warriors of radness in textural, buzzing Indian ink and intricately patterned glorious technicolour. With its loose and abstracted tribal feel, his work takes reference from the ancient practise of image-making, yet tells stories a contemporary audience can recognise. In contrast with the laid-back rough-and-tumble lads of ‘Bromance’, his latest drawings explore themes of social unease and anxiety. Atomica caught up with him to get the lowdown about his current show ‘Fauxmance’ showing at Atomica Gallery until 6th June 2015.
Interview by Hazel Perryman, an illustrator and writer based in South-East London.
You’ve painted some fantastic murals. Have you done any street art?
Thank you, I haven’t really done any street art yet or though it’s something I’d like to get the opportunity to do. I really enjoy painting murals they leave so much room for experimentation. I don’t set out with a fixed plan when painting a mural piece, the characters form their own interaction based around that nature of the interior or exterior space. To me the most satisfying part of the mural painting process is going over and over the line-waver aiming to make it straight.
What made you want to make art?
It’s always been the process that has really appealed to me. I find the most enjoyable part of making art is the constant struggle it presents you with. The highs and lows can be so diverse and this is what pushes me to keep doing it. Spending days on something only to make one mistake and completely disregard it. The strenuous process of starting over can be so rewarding once you crack exactly how you imagined the piece to look.
Your paintings reference tribal art, which records and tells a story about daily life. Is your work a way of telling a story about people?
Yes they do tell stories. When I’m creating the work I often already have an idea of a certain story or scenario I want the characters to be acting out. I don’t expect people to be able to get the same story as I do from them, but with a little imagination I hope the you the viewer can get an insight into the way my mind works. I want you to be able to form your own opinions of the social tensions I’m aiming to convey.
Have you recorded any of your favourite memories in your work?
Not specifically, but I think the concept of the work can be traced back to some of my own experiences. I’m not necessarily the most social of individuals. I can definitely relate to some of the themes of social awkwardness running through certain pieces of my work in ‘Fauxmance’.
What is the best thing a bro has ever done for you?
Supplied me with beer and a good home cooked meal!
What direction do you see your work going into the future?
I’d like to incorporate the characters and concepts I’ve touched on in ‘Fauxmance’ into the murals I paint. The murals I have painted to date have always revolved around long limbed, black and white bearded bros portraying brotherly love. Working solely in colour for this show has been a great learning curve for me! I feel that it was towards the end of the making of works for Fauxmance, that I really got to grips with it. I’m very much looking forward to incorporating my newly founded members of the Fauxmance tribe into mural-based works.
The social interactions in your latest work have more undertones of anxiety and social tension than in the Bromance series. What inspired you to explore this side of social interaction?
My main source of inspiration for ‘Fauxmance’ comes from people watching. Through watching the social interactions of others it can be apparent that our body language can give off vibes of awkwardness toward one another. For this show I set out to make work that takes some previous compositional elements from Bromance paintings, but uses a body language that outlines the underlying tensions of social interaction.
You’ve mentioned before that you’re a fan of Ed Templeton whose work also has an energetic, DIY feel. How do you think skateboarding has contributed to your approach to your work?
Skateboarding is similar in so many ways to art making, both are so time consuming to master. I’d say the direct way skateboarding has contributed to my approach in making art, is the rigorous process involved when trying to perfect a trick or art process. Not giving up at it until you do it the way you pictured it. The two are so inexplicably linked culturally and in process, this cross over between the two is the reason why I still try and do both.
What other artists do you admire?
To be honest I’m not really in the habit of finding out about new artists. I purposefully don’t go scrolling the internet for new artists to admire. I try to stay away from being influenced too directly by other artists within my own work. I don’t necessarily get inspired when stumbling across an art makers work that I’m a fan of or otherwise aren’t familiar with. I don’t want elements of their work subconsciously sneaking into my own. In my opinion I don’t think there really is such a thing as original art, anyone who makes art, makes it with inspiration from someone or something. I’d like to think that by not paying as much attention, as perhaps I should to other artists, I’m able get across some forms of originality within my style of work, along side the techniques involved in producing it.
All work available to purchase online or to request a copy of the preview catalogue please email firstname.lastname@example.org
JACK PEARCE ‘FAUXMANCE’ SOLO EXHIBITION
21st May – 6th June 2015
Atomica Gallery, 7 Greens Court, London, W1F 0HQ
Read more about the exhibition HERE.