THE ARTIST OF PEN, INK AND ACRYLIC ON PAPER
The today Arts Chat is with Jeremy Clayton, an artist from the Usa who has been in touch for many years with the Shangai art scene.
Hi Jeremy, thank you for taking part in our Arts Chat.
Thank you, it is a pleasure.
Tell us something about you and your art. How long have you been making art?
When I was very young, I would draw all the time. It was my favorite thing to do and during my school days, my teachers would reward my good work with setting aside time for me to draw. I drew cartoons and loved making strips of work that illustrated a story of some sort. Going into my middle and high school years, I stopped drawing and Art classes to focus on more “academic” subjects.
It was in my 20’s that I rediscovered my passion for making Art. In University, I started taking Art classes and originally concentrated on wood and metal sculpture, ceramics, and functional pottery. I was intimidated be the 2D subjects such as painting and drawing, so I took only a few basic drawing and painting classes.
However, while a gallery owner and full time ceramic artist in Shanghai, China (2000-2005), I started experimenting and working with painting and drawing again and immediately responded to the colors I could achieve, and also the immediate results versus working on large sculptural works.
Until 2010, I was still making sculptural ceramics and drawings and paintings
while living and teaching in Vietnam, Kuwait, and Bahrain. It has only been in
the past few years that I have concentrated solely on drawing/painting, but it
will be my focus from now on as I find that I am able to express myself and my
ideas using the materials I now use.
About your work, what genre best describes it and how has it been evolving since you began?
I believe that I am a contemporary expressionist simply because my subject matter deals with how I feel and what I see in the contemporary societal existence. I use bright colors and text to express my message in much of my work. I believe that color is an experience as it tends to evoke strong responses in people.
Tell us more about your experience as an artist in London/UK? Differences or
for/versus the American Art market?
I have not had much experience with the American Art scene. Most of my experience was in Shanghai during the early boom years and it was a very complex art scene. Organized Art exhibitions were somewhat rare for foreigners (and Chinese artists) in 2000, but became more and more common as the market grew. I find the London art scene much more sophisticated and inclusive as the Chinese Art market is very much about promoting Chinese artists. Many people respected my work in China, but it was difficult to find exhibitions because people were much more interested in collecting Chinese artists and galleries were more keen to promote them. I love the Art market in England. I think it is always looking to expand and promote new ideas/concepts. I feel very at home here.
What is your creative process?
My creative process usually starts with an article in a newspaper or magazine,
or possibly a conversation with someone who has interesting views on a subject I
am interested, such as politics or technology. I am not one to make extensive
sketches. I write down ideas in sentence form, sometimes with a small thumbnail
sketch if I have a specific idea in mind. I am an intuitive creator and know
that my original idea will inevitably morph into something else once I start
drawing and revising. I drop in color as I see fit and tend to go with flow and
trust my instinct.
Is there a medium or technique that you would like to try in the future?
I am always playing around with small variations of my current materials and
techniques. I am thinking about incorporating more collage type components to
my work and am experimenting when I have time.
Do you have a favourite artist or painting?
I really enjoy a lot of street art because of the way it uses design qualities
to express ideas in many instances. I like the way it uses line and bold colors
and many times has a humorous quality to it. I also really enjoy Egon Schiele
and Gustav Klimt because of the drawing style and the design elements in their
If you could change anything about the art world, what would it be?
I think it would be nice to see new names pop up when the “important/influential” artist of the time are being written about or discussed.
I have noticed that over the years, it is the same artists that keep grabbing headlines or honors long after they have been recognized for their achievements.
There is so much going on in the Art world, and society as a whole, that I think some of that focus could be redirected to some new artists instead of continuing to propagate artists that have proven to be a “safe bet” for investors/collectors and the media for many years.
Thank you so much Jeremy. We are very glad to have you here on the exhibition at the Meliá White House. We wish you all the best.