Flint Features: Internationally renowned artist, Andrew Salgado

Posted by Edward Tweddle on

This week we talk to painter Andrew Salgado, about Bowie and his fear of the West-Side

Canadian born painter Andrew Salgado is widely regarded as one of the world’s leading figurative painters. Over the past decade he has developed a distinctive style;  using abstract textured compositions in thick vivid oils his large scale portraits excite and emote.

Andrew has successfully sold-out 11 exhibitions internationally. His show earlier this year, at the Canadian High Commission in Trafalgar Square, was aptly named 'Ten'. At 34, Salgado was the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition in this space. 

Flint sat down with Andrew to find out more about his process. 



10 years of artistic practise, what motivates you?

Honestly I feel very fortunate to be working toward my passion, each day. That's quite a 'sound bite' response but it's true, despite the cliché. I also have changed from this method of thinking when I was younger where I felt inspiration needed to come from some divine fount. In reality, it's not like that, so as a practising artist I have to look to the little things. It's become a lot less autobiographical, and I find that in itself a sign of my maturation as a man and also as an artist.

For instance, my forthcoming body of work is called Dirty Linen and it literally pulls inspiration from the characteristics of the linen that the works are painted on. This is a far cry from someone who made his entire professional history from inspiration from my experience as a hate-crime victim (in 2008), and most recently did a show called 'The Snake' (Beers London, 2016) that was based on the Orlando massacre and touched on xenophobia and transphobia. I feel like I've done that. I don't want to be so aggressively thematically driven.

Now I'm like, 'sweet colour. Let's see where this takes me' haha. Maybe not so ambivalent. The meanings are there, they're just coded. My show this summer 'A Room With a View of the Ocean', (Lauba, Croatia, 2017) was based on a really horrific personal event... but nobody knows that. It's for me. It's internal. Now I'm a lot more codified. I think that proves for stronger work. I want to let the simple elements and raw materials speak for themselves.  

How would you describe your relationship with your chosen medium?

It's perverse and passionate. And playful. Materials are everything. Without them I'm just a dude with a half-baked idea. 

Why East London?

I moved to London almost a decade ago and have lived in East London for 6 years. I did a stint in Berlin in 2010 so maybe it reminds me of that. West London gives me the heeby-jeebies. I feel like over here we celebrate unpredictability and play. The people, the neighbourhoods, the attitudes, the art... West London is institutionalised. And you definitely feel the East/West divide. I get scared West of Marble Arch. haha. I'm being only as facetious as I am actually serious. I love the laissez-faire vibe here and I've made it my home. I also show with BEERS LONDON gallery (www.beerslondon.com) and they're in EC1, at the bottle-neck to East London. It's home. 


As young designers we set out to develop a product and story that people would feel a connection to. Is this the case with you, or is your work introspective? Has it been circling around a particular theme; does your recent use of colour reflect this?

Can't it be both introspective and driven by / for external influences? I spoke earlier about the thematics, and yes, that's always there, and I think colour is, for me, the primary way to illustrate this. I was speaking with a friend yesterday who was showing me his black and white paintings, but I said to him, 'realistically, I'm a colourist' I can't hide that. I've learned to embrace my shortcomings and make them my strengths. As creatives, that's what we learn to do, isn't it?

I think I'm quite selfish, though. Unlike design or fashion, ultimately, my work is for me. I think it's the same with writers. We have to make work that reflects our true intention and idea, otherwise, we're punting a product. It's why I don't share my work while it's in progress. It might sound a bit touchy-feely artsy-fartsy, but I have to do the work that is important to me, otherwise I'm just making paintings to please people.

I no longer do commissions. Do I want to paint your cat? No. So there's an arrogance that accompanies that - I guess... but it's more about making a whole, true, perfect product. My colours now are so vibrant. There's a lot of patterning. It's funny because these works are part of a one-two punch for Cape Town (first the Cape Town Art Fair in Feb, then the gallery show at Christopher Moller Cape Town in March), and I'm following this really loud punchy body of work with what will (I hope) be a quiet, understated show. I've been building up to pull back.

So yes, there's always consideration of the viewer, quite thoroughly, but it has to be my true vision. I sound like I've completely contradicted myself. I supposed it's hard to explain. 

It was necessary for us to be adaptive during the design process. Do you have a firm idea of the finished piece at the beginning of each project? 

I have a vague idea, but I have to be flexible. I became a stronger artist when I stopped trying to strong-arm my 'idea' of a piece and actually just let the piece take me on a journey. That's where the true eureka moments come into play... When something unexpected happens that changes the entire trajectory of the work, the show, or my entire practice. 

Is your approach chaotic or methodical?

Actually I've thought of this quite a bit because I think in my mind's eye I'm totally scatterbrained and chaotic. However I think when it comes down to working, people have called me quite zen, methodical, and calm. The inner forces are at a rave but the exterior facade has to execute things with care. I think I'm actually quite resolute in here. 

Do you work on more than one painting at a time?

Yeah I like to start a whole show and then, sort of, back track. I like to plan things out. The work looks like such a mad panic, but it's actually all very considered and contemplative. I edit and change and re-approach a lot. 

It was important to define our target audience from the outset. Do you have a specific audience in mind that you tailor each exhibition, or painting to?

Well 'where' I'm showing each body of work comes into consideration, sure. I'm a showman. I like to create a presentation that will surprise and inspire and bring a smile to someone's face. Yes, all these factors come into play.   


Sound and Vision, 2016


Which contemporary artists or designers do you admire?

I just asked Daniel Lismore this morning if I could paint him. That's full blown art-meets-life-meets-art. I love the audacity of someone like Alexander McQueen, for instance. David Bowie. That type of whole - and holistic - approach really seduces me.

I'm always looking at artists, present and past. Lately it's been Rousseau, Matisse, Gauguin, and contemporary painters like Sanya Kantarovsky, Zachary Armstrong, Tal R, Kerry James Marshall, Laura Owens... a bunch of people you've never heard of. People always show me painters who do these big floating heads like I used to paint and I couldn't be less interested in that, to be totally honest, haha. I love the idea of growth and change and metamorphosis. 

What other mediums are you hoping to incorporate into future work, should we expect something very different?

I still want to install a working clock into a painting. And I have an obsession with German fat lava (Scheurich) vases. I'm working on textiles now. Who knows. I don't like the label painter... that's just one thing and I have lots more to say. 


Forthcoming solo exhibitions include Dirty Linen (& The Nihilist's Alphabet) with Christoher Moller Gallery for Cape Town Art Fair (Feb 2018), followed by Somewhere In Between at Christopher Moller Gallery, Cape Town (March 2018); Dill Pickle Chips, Angell Gallery, Toronto (October 2018); and finally a return to both NYC and London in 2019. Andrew is represented by BEERS LONDON gallery.  

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Flint Features: CecilBoyd

Posted by Edward Tweddle on

Flint Watches are proud to present 'Flint Features'. A fresh content series exploring the work of artists & designers in the capital.
In our first feature, we caught up with Hubert Cecil of CecilBoyd to discuss their latest exhibition 'Phantasmagoria'. The mixed media painting and photography series, comprising the collaboration of William Boyd & Hubert Cecil. The pair combine this with some smart lighting effects, to produce a unique series centred around the exploration of identity. 
The series depicts a range of young female artists, designers, models, actors and entrepreneurs including Elliot Sailors, India James, Bella Yentob, Sibylla Phipps, Joanna Vanderpuije and  Idina Moncrieffe.
How did you and Will meet?
We were aware of each other and on hugging terms at parties when I was newly in London fresh(ish) from university in Manchester when he asked me to photograph some of his paintings for his website before they went to clients. I had recently taken some tasteful black and white shots which he liked and we began our friendship based on mutual creative respect. Over the following days and weeks we spent a lot of time talking and exchanging ideas. That fell into trying some of them out.
Can you explain the CecilBoyd process?
We start talking about the picture we want to make by discussing our subject and the aesthetic we want to cultivate. We then talk about the kind of pattern or scene that Will is going to paint with some sketching and references involved. He paints it and we set a date for the shoot, making sure all the heads involved can make it. Most of them have been where i live in W12 with a couple of exceptions.
Whats your background?
Art history and photography mainly. I have been a photographer for a few years and did some assisting and archiving for Alex Bramall and Mario Testino respectively.
Where did you cut your teeth?
At Manchester, I satisfied a passing interest in my degree and otherwise was taking shots of my friends at play in a variety of settings. I would say I used those three years as an opportunity to get my eye in. 
How do you achieve the technique?
Its a double exposure thing, to reveal more would be indiscreet.
How long did it take to construct each piece?
The series overall took 2 years and 7 months from inception to completion. That length of time was punctuated by periods of inaction because Will or I had gone somewhere literally or figuratively. The individual pieces varied, one or two of the paintings were done overnight or in a handful of days. Others were more involved and took more layering, detailing and the like.
Which piece did you enjoy creating the most and which posed the greatest challenge?
That's a difficult question to answer because each picture required the same degree of emotional investment. We had one or two that we couldn't include because one or two of the many elements involved didn't come through and it let the whole image down. As a result each one holds an equal status in my mind. Having said that, 'Follow Me' required some thought and rehashing with new models and new ideas because we discovered the reflective element in the white paint interferes with how the light distributes itself. 
How did you achieve the digital element to the exhibition?
Each light-box has an integrated circuit board which controls the movement of the lights. For upcoming work we are thinking of maximising the potential of the tech side of things.
Have you thought about creating an interactive live experience around such installations in the future?
Yes, more on that later..
As you have employed two different media, what other collaborations do you admire by artists historically?
I like Gilbert and George.
What art/photography do you most identify with?
I love the epic scale and allegorical themes of Jacques-Louis David's neo classical history painting but I am receptive to all creative works as some testament or other to the immense variety possible in the human soul.
Phantasmagoria is on at the Chelsea Arts Club until the 24th October. 
All images © CecilBoyd
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Ambur & the Aravalli

Posted by Edward Tweddle on

It was very important for us to source quality materials for our first range. Above all, we want to be proud of the products we are selling. 

Our research spanned over a two year period leading up the launch in August. We spoke to numerous people, all giving insights into where we could source the best materials, while maintaining an affordable price for our customers.

Picking the marble was naturally an important task, due to its prominence in our design. Due to its rich green colouring, we chose to source the marble from Udaipur, Rajasthan. 

India is home to some of the worlds most ancient artistic practises. This selection of native crafts include fabric colouration, embroidery and stonework. However, what inspired us most at Flint, was the marble inlay work rooted in Rajasthan. This intricate practise consists of creating elaborate engravings on marble stone, typically in the form of floral designs and geometric patterns. These days the preserved traditional art is only mastered by a select few. 

It seemed fitting to source the stone from an area renowned for its beautiful marble work. Something we have strived to emulate in our first range.


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#1 Post

Posted by Edward Tweddle on

With the launch of our first range under way, we’re excited to kick off our blog.
We’ll be posting details of our journey so far, product updates and stuff of interest.
We’ll be sharing experiences and design that has caught our eye, with a focus on materials & texture. Whilst experimenting and developing our ideas for future products.
We’d love to hear from you too, so please share comments & your opinions.
Thank you to everyone who’s been involved with Flint Watches so far.

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