THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: Chris Watt

Chris’s current body of work meditates around and is a response to the concept of escapism and its role in contemporary life. The piece he’s exhibiting with us in MulticulturAlba, There & Everywhere, tells part of an important story about what it is to be working class and Scottish in our time. Chris says, “It’s not the happiest portrait I’ve ever made but it’s one which does reflect a lot of my environment and an aspect of that identity; from living in inner city Glasgow, to using my own kitchen to set the scene, to having a slumped figure who is wired (maybe with the help of technology or chemicals) onto a different plane.” This piece, like Chris’s other current work, is partially inspired by science fiction, and tries to capture some measure of the fantastical or sublime, set against under (or over) currents of dread.

How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
‘Escapism’ is something that is far more ubiquitous in our culture than even 10 years ago. Smartphones are mostly to blame but it’s the accessibility of media in all forms. We’re very divided because of it. It’s an important part of life to maintain mental balance but we’re all too comfortable escaping into our echo chambers while things are getting worse. We need to try to pay attention, even if it’s not pretty.

How has your practice changed over time?
For a long time I was quite focused on making color field paintings. It helped me get to know the mediums and how to use colour through its experimental nature. I’ve kinda went back to my roots though – taking what I’ve learned about contemporary painting and applying it to works which are more narrative driven.

How do you overcome creative blocks?
Usually if I have the TV or a podcast on in the background and start doodling, something will eventually start to happen.

Which artists inspire you? Are there non-artistic influences such as literature or music that impact your work?
I like weird fiction, sci-fi, surrealist cinema and comic books. I think that’s pretty evident when looking at my paintings.

What do you do to keep motivated and interested in your work?
Often going for a long walk or going to see a movie will subconsciously bring new ideas for compositions to me. I often get the most inspired when I’m doing something mundane, completely unrelated to my practice.

How do you know when a piece is complete?
When I get past the point of being sick of looking at it, plus another few hours.

See Chris’ work at our first Open Call of the year, MulticulturAlba, running at Six Foot Gallery until Thursday 14th March 2023. You can also find him on Instagram @auldbreezey

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