This week I had the pleasure of getting to know a fantastic young artist from Essex. I’m a big Art fan myself, and I think it’s so interesting seeing what the young British art scene of today has to offer. As an artist, Rory is incredibly passionate and dedicated to his art. His pieces are deep, meaningful, yet still beautifully intriguing and visually effective. Drawing from both classic influences, and modern topics, Rory creates relatable works that speak to the audience. I find it’s rare in young artists to find someone that is not only talented, but knowledgable on what’s going on in the world of art today. Because of this Rory is someone who will continue to develop his work, bringing us more and more. One to watch, and a true British original. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell me about yourself as an artist
I’m Rory I’m 21 and I do art at the University Of Hertfordshire. I’ve just finished my second year and I’ve probably gone the most long winded way about doing a Fine Art Degree. From leaving sixth form I did a foundation diploma at ware college, a foundation degree at war college and NOW, as most people I was at Ware with are leaving university I’m about to enter my third year at University Of Hertfordshire. My art work usually centres around myself and my reactions, thoughts and observations on what is around me from pop culture to my personal family life. I’ve been told that I’m a concept artist and I’d largely agree with that. My work takes all manor of forms from painting and photography to installation often trying to mix them all in some way to create my work.
What are the influences and inspirations behind your latest works?
Football. Football is the inspiration behind my current work because its what I’m surrounded by constantly. I’m football fan and however that is not the reason why I’ve chosen football as the subject of my latest body of work. My brother is a professional footballer so I see a different side of the beautiful game to that of the ninety minutes you see at a weekend. My work is challenging the public perception of football and footballers both culturally and whether they have a place in fine art. It’s an ongoing theme at the moment because I feel it’s something I can really sink my teeth into and enjoy creating work about. My most recent body of work shows photographs of myself dressed in my brothers football kits, England kits and Manchester United kits, a painting of myself showing a sort of tribute to a Peter Blake painting, a green canvas with football boots on it, a painting of myself holding a football and a football, on a plinth with the words “god is dead, football is your new religion” upon it. My aim for my work is to get a reaction out of my audience and get people to really think about what the hell I’m conveying. I like to keep it autonomous and allow the public to have their own opinion-I won’t force the meaning upon them.
Football unifies people the world over and I feel that art does that too. There are many similarities between the two for me. Grass roots football is no different to an art student at school, college or university and the galleries you show your work in is the same to the leagues in professional football with the big names and big buyers being the premiership.
As a young artist, have you found it difficult to establish your own style?
I think it’s hard for any young artist to find their own style whilst they are at university. You’re constantly being told to research and go to galleries to see what’s new, current, and modern in contemporary art and I think there is only so much information that you should and can take from what you’re seeing otherwise your instincts will be to work in a way which you know the outcome will be successful because it looks like what you saw last week in London. I’ve been guilty of that myself in the past and now coming to the end of my second year, I’ve found that I’m beginning to finally develop my own style. I was never one that wanted to do LOADS of research to inform my work however now I’ve found it’s about being selective with what you’re researching and selective with how you use it to inform your work…then your style will develop from what you yourself add to your research.
What are your thoughts on the British Art scene of today?
The British art scene today is ever growing under a pile of YBA comparison. Which isn’t as bad as it may sound. Yes the YBA’s were and still are the top draw in this countries top art galleries but they haven’t been young for twenty years. Yet what they did paved the way for art students like me to make the work I want to make. I think the British art scene is in a predicament of wanting to move away from the past and look to the future but the mainstream exposure for the future isn’t there. I’m a BIG fan of Sarah Maple right now. She’s going to be and SHOULD be our next biggest export however lazy comparisons of her being the heir to Tracey Emin’s thrown can hold her back instead of skyrocketing her, she’s brilliant. It’s a predicament because staging MASSIVE retrospectives generate LOADS of money and create a massive buzz about British art…but we should be making a fuss about the new young British artists that are making the noise now.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
In the future I am going to finish my degree and possibly go on to do an MA…I’m more likely to do the MA and gather as much experience as I possibly can for when I finally leave. I have conflicting thoughts about wanting to teach or be a tutor with people that want to do art or just try it and go for it and be an artist. My work will keep growing as I do too, as corny as that sounds, but I’m going to keep on developing this body of work. One of the things I’ve learnt is that an artists artwork has to be a continuous line of enquiry rather than looking at it as “I’ve done one thing this semester and now I’m going to switch and look at some ing completely different” it has to flow and it has to be real. The best in anything whether its art, music, film…anything has to be real for it to be the best.
Rory’s unique style and infectious passion for his art make him definitely one to watch in the future. I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did. To see more of Rory then get in touch: