How did your artistic journey start?
I’ve been painting and drawing since I was a kid. My great uncle did watercolours
of landscapes, so I would borrow a lot of his art supplies. I still have his painting
storage box today. But if I had to pinpoint a moment when art first sparked
interest for me it would be the Edvard Munch printmaking exhibition in
Edinburgh from 2012. That was the first time artwork really moved me. It
challenged me to look inward and see how art could be a tool to process the
world around you.
How did you arrive at the theme of your work?
I wanted to create an artwork that looked at where hate may come from. I had the
idea of painting a figure with tubes going into their body, injecting them with a
discomforting liquid. However, I felt it was missing something and left the idea for
several months. After having some space from the idea, I created a furry green
spider monster with Guy Fieri glasses, who would be responsible for injecting the
pink figure with spikes. This new character helped me strengthen the theme of
how ideas bred in discomfort can often lead to hate.
Can you walk us through your creative process?
I try to do a sketch a day, which I mostly stick to, although life gets in the way
sometimes! Through doing these low-pressure daily drawings, I find it can bring
up ideas that I can develop later. I also find inspiration from dreams and believe
automatic drawing is incredibly fruitful for capturing new ideas.
Depending on the subject of my idea, I might research a specific topic or look at
other artists who have created work surrounding the subject in question.
When I do have an idea ready to develop, I usually do a mix of quick figure and
composition studies, making notes of what I like about it or what I want to
change. When I get a rough layout that I like, I’ll then ballpark what size I want to
paint it in before playing with the composition, and then it’s on to the final work!
How has your practice changed over time?
I think the older I get the more humorous my artwork gets. Not in an explicitly
comedic way, but in the sense that I’m less worried about always making
something that takes itself seriously. I respect my ideas and trust that whoever is
looking at the work will look beyond what is literally in front of them.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
Take a break, get out of my head and do something different, whether it’s
watching a new film, reading a book, looking at fresh art, going for a swim or
simply spending time with the people I care about.
Who influences you? Which other artists work do you love?
My general inspirations are my partner, watching old horror films, listening to
music and finding new creators that are making something weird and genuine.
My current inspirations are:
- Ben Ditto (Creative Director)
- Logan Sylve (Painter)
- Emma Stern (Painter)
- Mary Anne Hobbs Radio 6 Show
- James Hogarth Prints (Printmaker)
- Nina Simone (Music)
- Late 60s/70s Elvis (Music & Fashion)
- Hideo Kojima (Video Games)
- Gorillaz (Music & Art)
- Religious Iconography
- David Lynch (Films)
- Carly Ray Jepsen (Music)
- Caroline Polacheck (Music)
- Underground Comix
- Old-timey cartoons
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
Learn to take on challenges and risks, work out a good way to store your work and
always have fun when you’re making art!
Is there anything else you would like people to know about your work or your experiences as an artist?
Trust the process and always be true to yourself.
You can see more of Conor’s work on Instagram @conormcconville_art
Our Winter Show, Warm Voices, runs at Six Foot Gallery until 9 January 2024.