THE SIX FOOT GALLERY INTERVIEW: David Bridgeman (Print Unleashed)

David Bridgeman (b.1959) was born in Oxford, England. His artworks tell stories, evoke memories and instil a sense of place. He uses a variety of media: painting, drawing, construction, sculpture, printmaking and video. The stories are fictional and formed from an event, an object or experience. They are influenced by various elements from early childhood and teenage years to life-changing experiences such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which plagued the artist’s life for multiple years. The works often bridge the gap between the Caribbean and his country of birth, linked to a relationship with a life on a Caribbean island that was only ever intended to last two years. 

He divides his time between his studio in Grand Cayman and Edinburgh, Scotland where he is completing a Masters in fine art practice at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland.

David’s work is on show as part of Print Unleashed, which runs at Six Foot Gallery until July 18th 2024.

Hi David! How did you arrive at the theme of your work? 
I have used my home city of Oxford, England as inspiration for many projects in the past. I was born and grew up in the city centre and I draw much inspiration from its history and surrounding countryside. I have wanted to explore the popular pub garden game called Aunt Sally. It’s a game peculiar to Oxford and neighbouring counties. I wanted to explore the nature of the game and its history. On investigating the game further, I discovered that the white wooden doll, Aunt Sally, holds a dark and misogynistic past and it is this story that I am developing.

Can you walk us through your creative process? 
I love making things, so I normally begin with small constructions made from collected materials in the studio. I have a habit of hoarding interesting waste materials, attracted by their colour, shape and texture. This then usually leads to making drawings of these objects and so the creative process continues from there.

How do you know when a piece is complete?
I have had many conversations with fellow artists about this. It’s a hard thing to explain. I hardly ever feel that something is complete. I often move on to something new before I get to make that decision. I find that time is often the best way to judge a piece of work. Allowing it to sit for a good period of time is often the way that I can determine if it can be left alone or worked upon further.

How do you overcome creative blocks? 
I can’t say that I am ever stuck for ideas. What I do find is that some days are a real struggle to make anything creative. My mood swings fluctuate so I have to make the most of the uptake in energy levels. What I have learnt to do is to push through the down periods. I might have to set my sights lower that day and aim to just make one drawing, anything really, just to keep the process flowing. At worst, it might even just be a day of tidying and organising materials. It is important to push through.

Which artists inspire you? Are there non-artistic influences such as literature or music that impact your work? 
Literature, music and language all inform my creative process. I have been playing the classical guitar since I was a teenager. I work through the grading system, not because I want to perform to anyone other than myself. I do it because it’s hard and I feel as though I can make progress, albeit slowly.  It’s a lifetime’s work. The main artists I return to time and time again are Richard Tuttle and Amy Sillman. Tuttle because of his ephemeral, permanent and impermanent constructions and Sillman because of her constant work to reframe the image. Jessica Stockholder is another favourite due to her ability to make a connection between 2D and 3D work in one image.

Will your next project be a continuation of your current style or are you experimenting with something different? Can you share a glimpse of your next project? 
As a storyteller, the work I am making is really only in its infancy. I have plans to explore the story further, making the artwork more inclusive and interactive with the viewer. 

David is represented by Black Pony Gallery | @david.bridgeman

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