How did you arrive at the theme of your exhibition?
I read an article by an anthropologist called David E. Jones who speculates that Dragons from myth, are a collection of our primal ancestors’ biggest fears. Eagles, snakes, big cats, monitor lizards and fire were major threats, and these were frankensteined together to make a winged, clawed fire fire-breathing serpent that could be used as a metaphor for the ultimate challenge to overcome. Whether this is accurate or not I don’t know, but it inspired me to think of what today’s Dragons would look like using the same metric. What are the things holding us all back from a healthy and peaceful life?
Can you walk us through your creative process?
My work is very deliberately cryptic, almost everything in these pictures is there for a reason. This means a lot of planning which I know, to some, might take the fun out of their practice but I find it helps me get the most out of the idea without relying on the first thing that comes to mind. The process is as follows –
· Find a concept that’s inspiring
· Read and research
· Break it down into the main ideas (however many pictures you would like),
· Write down in detail what I want to say in each picture
· Figure out how to symbolise those ideas in the simplest and most cohesive way
· Sketch more with colour
What’s the next project and are you keeping the same style or switching it up?
My dad got me a chisel set at Christmas which I’m keen to use, so the next project will hopefully have some carved sculptural pieces. Unless I’m hopeless at it of course which is a real possibility.
In regards to the next project, I would like to tell a story. Stories as we all know are very powerful and I would love to tell one about hope, resilience, and strength, something uplifting and thoughtful that is realistic and not toxic.
What emotions or reactions do you hope viewers experience when looking at your artwork?
I’m always aiming to provoke some deep thought about the issues I cover. My last exhibition The Salamander was a personal story about supporting someone I love through depression; this unexpectedly provoked a strong emotional response from people and myself to be honest. It inspired me to continue making work that meant something deep. If my work makes people stop and think, look at something from a new perspective, or try and work out the meaning then I’m happy.
What advice would you give to artists who are just starting out?
There are many more artists who are much better equipped to give advice however, here’s a bunch of things I’ve learned so far (mostly the hard way).
· Find a process, reason, or method that makes you want to get up and do the work, whether that’s painting freely without a set intention or meticulously planning, find the thing that inspires and excites you.
· Use sketchbooks like a writer would use a notepad.
· Draw lots and lots and allow it to be bad.
· Get used to charging the right amount for your work, even when it’s counterintuitive for most of us (check out the artists union page for average rates).
· Talk to people.
· Learn to take criticism.· Try new things and don’t pigeonhole yourself. If you’re creative there is no reason to stick to one thing only.
Find out more about Gordy’s work at his socials:
Modern Dragons runs at Six Foot Gallery until 9th February 2024.