George and I first got into contact toward the middle of last year. I checked out the collection of art, text and links provided in his website and honestly….it opened up a whole new world of figurative for me. I believe it changed the course of my art forever. At the very least, visiting his site set me on my current path of art making. Since then George and I have had an open line of communication and have even began working on a collaborative painting that will be released in the months to come.
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.
ckirk: Did you study art in school or are you a self-taught artist?
gmc: I went to school if that is what you’re asking! No, I did an animation degree and realized at the end of it that it was not for me as there was no creative control and I also prefer to work on my own and not being told what to do.
ckirk: What would you say some of the pros and cons are of a formal education in art?
gmc: Well I think that if you go to art school then you are taught to think like everyone else but this is not necessarily true. With me being an animator I feel I approach painting in a different way. I am sure it is not a bad thing being taught the basics at school, l but I think after that you should be left to your own devices. This is the feeling that i did not get and this is why i broke away from it all and had to re-program myself.
ckirk: You live and work in London, how would you say the city influences your art?
gmc: It is great being in London as an artist as you get to hang out with other like-minded people and get to bounce of their creativeness. It also helps as you can make connections and get to stare people in the whites of their eyes. As influence goes it is great as you are bombarded by a thousands things every day and you just have to sieve through the images and make a painting out of it.
ckirk: In April of this year you were asked by the BBC to lend some of your paintings to the new TV series “Luther” staring Idris Elba . How did that all come about?
gmc: I was in a show called ‘Represent’ which I was asked by Matt Small to be in. From this the BBC thought that the paintings would have been a good back drop. I was not able to give them the paintings they wanted as they had sold but gave them some other dark ones which I think was perfect for the scene. Unfortunately I saw the episode the other day and you only see them side on whilst Idris Elba looks at them and I think I am the only one in the world that would know they were mine!
ckirk: I notice you often abstract or hide features of figures you paint with circles, x’s, lines, and blotches of color. For someone who paints the human form so successfully, what would you say compels you to shroud certain parts of the figures you paint?
gmc: I feel that the human form tells so much more in body language than any facial expression could ever. This gives me the opportunity to use the face as a blank canvas and do what I will with it to compliment the mood of the painting. I really do enjoy painting the faces then destroying them, it is one of the funniest parts I find of my process.
ckirk: I recently read that early in May of this year, you contributed to “Art Against Knifes”. What’s their story? What did you do for them?
gmc: Well a boy called Oliver Hemsley got stabbed in East London just for being different by some mini Nazi. I cant believe this shit goes on. I live in South London where a lot of stabbings go on and before I heard of AAK I made the knife painting and was used by the Sunday Times and a march in London. I heard about this art against knives and have been a part ever since. They are a great bunch of people and Oliver is one of the strongest individuals I have ever met. Life is hard enough and for that to happen…. you have got to have a great deal of inner strength to carry on living.
ckirk: No question, being a professional artist takes a certain breed of person and isn’t exactly the easiest career path. Are there any tips you might offer a young artist looking to make a name for himself to today’s world?
gmc: Fuck. Yeah it is no easy game as you do not get a day off. In fact I have to leave the country to give my head a rest as it becomes obsessive. The only advice I can give is ignore everyone and email everyone! Just keep on emailing and emailing and eventually it will come to the ‘tipping point’.
ckirk: Being creative day in and day out can be draining both pyshically and mentally. What do you do to recharge when your drive and inspiration seem to run low?
gmc: To be honest I go and get drunk! I know that is a cliché but it is true. Or I go for a long run. It is like meditation for me and i also get some of the best ideas when i am running.
ckirk: You are represented by Red Propeller Gallery in the UK, have been featured in magazines, and contributed to television. what’s next for George Morton Clark? Are there any future plans or events you’d talk about?
gmc: Well it is getting a bit crazy at the moment and having to step up a gear. I have a few things which cant really talk about but I have my solo show and group show later this year with Red Propeller. I decided today that I will call my solo show ‘visual rape’. So we will see how that goes down!
ckirk: Thanks George…it’s been fun. One last question though, where can a collector pick up an original piece of your art or a limited edition print?
Until next time,