THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: Christopher Watt (Overflow)

Christopher’s work is meditated around the concept of escapism. The approach is an examination and response to the current cultural landscape: one where the idea of achieving transient freedom through hyper-individuality and bombardment of media has never been more ubiquitous. He has recently become more preoccupied with creating pieces which imply narrative – moments in a larger story that has been momentarily paused. His pieces borrow from the world-building tropes used in popular media (comic books, modern surrealist cinema, science fiction, video games, Instagram art, etc) as well as making various references to both high and low-brow contemporary and historical art. The embrace of different influences, styles, and techniques come together to form a visual language that is bold and sometimes arresting; one that demands the viewer fill in the blanks in a narrative, while perhaps simultaneously initiating feelings of dread and wonder in different measures.

Hi Chris! Can you tell us how you arrived at the theme of your exhibition?
We arrived at the theme after I contacted Ainsley and Paul about doing a show together. I’ve long been familiar with the work that both of them put out – so it wasn’t long before we landed at some common ground. After a few exchanges, what seemed to jump out was that we were all, in our own way responding to the noise of daily life.

The title ‘Overflow’ was initially a working title when we were writing the proposal but after a while, it seemed to fit what we trying to do together.

 Which artists inspire you? Are there non-artistic influences such as literature or music that impact your work?
I’ve always been an eclectic consumer of media, in all forms. Everything from books, TV shows, music and video games are idea fuel for whatever I’m working on. All of it feeds in somehow.

I didn’t have much exposure to fine art until I was in my mid-teens so my initial interest in drawing and painting was initiated by an interest in cartoons and comic books. To this day, artists like Moebius and Katsuhiro Otomo are big influences on me – but I’m also heavily inspired by painters like Daniel Richter, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst and many artists from history.

What’s your favourite piece in the exhibition? What emotions or reactions do you hope viewers experience when they see your artwork?
I’m not sure if I have a favourite but one that carries a lot of personal meaning is ‘Burrowed Time’. It’s kind of set the tone for everything I’ve made since. For a long time I was primarily focused on making abstract images and didn’t really dabble too much with displaying representational work. But the past couple of years has seen me go back to this, making lots of illustrations and practising drawing again. At some point last year I had the idea of combining the illustrative style with the abstract, with the surreal and with elements even of classical painting styles. I was surprised to find that this almost worked when I finished that piece.

What challenges did you experience during the creation of your work and how did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I face in getting things done these days, is time! I work a full-time, pretty active job that I need to pay rent – so when I have a deadline for a show it often means working around the clock and sacrificing some sleep and leisure activities. The fact that my work is becoming much more detailed doesn’t help in alleviating this problem. I do get a lot of satisfaction from it though.(paste answer here)

 Are there any upcoming events or additional information you would like the audience to know?
We don’t have any specific events coming up together as a group. We are however going to be doing more shows together, possibly in autumn, after we’ve had a bit of time to make more work and come up with a fresh proposal.

Individually, in the near future – I have a piece in a show at the Alchemy Experiment from the 2nd of May and I’m also working on a comic book which is hopefully going to be ready for the end of May.

Overflow’ runs at Six Foot Gallery until Tuesday 23rd April. You can see more of Chris’s work on his Instagram @auldbreezey

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