06 Jul Artist of the month: Chris Horner
What is your art practice and what themes are you exploring and why?
My artwork explores the relationship between artist and material where I transform readymade, pre used objects into new painted sculptural artworks. I like to restore life back into an object which was once wanted and appreciated. I get most excited when I can start to see something happening, shapes and forms morphing into one another, as if the surface carries a sense of movement.I incorporate a range of subjects into my practice which display a connection to the processes and techniques I use within my making. This includes playing with elements of chance and deliberately setting up modes of risk taking, challenging my creativity by testing my levels of endurance, working with known and unknown factors, which share a link to the familiar and the unfamiliar, and producing works through devised systems and operations, which emerge from rules, rituals, and a strong state of being obsessed.
I enjoy working with so many themes in such an eclectic way because it enables me to see differently all the time. A gap consistently appears in my work due to the alignment between intention, process and technique becoming disabled. It is this gap which makes the outcome more interesting, as a constant break up between intention and process forms a magical moment. This is when I am in a state of the known and unknown, controlled and uncontrolled. I believe my Art is an expression or an application of human creative skill and imagination, which enables the viewer to experience the world differently. I not only like to challenge myself, I like to distort the mind of the viewer where the work can send them into a sensory uncanny materiality experience.
Which artists and movements historically have influenced you?
There are many artists and art movements which have influenced me, but if I am thinking about my current position within my practice I would have to say Ding Yi, Franz West and Pia Fries as important artists and a mix between Abstract expressionism and ‘Concrete Art’ as significant art movements.
I would like to talk briefly about the Chinese artist Ding Yi because he creates colourful geometric works which are made through exacting processes. In my work I try to formulate and construct materials and surfaces through a similar process, as I create systems in order to express this collision between materials, elements and surface.The reason for using a system is toidentify this change I apply paint in order to acknowledge this state of transformation, this is produced over countless hours as I obsessively reconstruct this new form. The paint acts as a record or a document, I find myself archiving this new product which is built from sculptural, painterly and drawing methods and techniques.
How important do you think it is that ArtCan is able to offer opportunities for exhibiting outside of the formal gallery structure?
I think this is very important because it enables artists to experiment and think about their work differently. The many opportunities ArtCan generate is highly impressive, it gives hope to emerging artists because there are events to apply for. I really like how this is formed on the ArtCan website and ArtCan social media platforms it makes it really appealing and fun to be part of. Installing an art network is crucial and this is something ArtCan also does very well, it was this which caught my attention and I immediately wanted to get involved. I very much enjoy working with other artists, art organizers / organisations because conversation starts to take shape. For me conversation can open doorways into new exciting avenues, whether this is a development in one’s own practice or creating a project which consists of artists and organisers curating together.
Do you have to balance your art practice with a day job or other work? If so, do you feel this is just the way an artist has to survive these days?
Yes I do balance my art practice with another job and yes I believe that artists need other jobs as a financial supporter to still be active in this current climate. I am very lucky because the job which I work in fuels my expansions within my art practice. When I have free time away from my art studio I often find myself supporting my Dad in the building trade, so many materials and elements which I use in my work comes from the building site. I experiment with building materials like; cement, plaster, building sand, strong liquidizes etc, with art supplies; glosses, acrylics, oils, turpentine’s, etc. I don’t see myself as a builder and an artist, I see myself as someone who is submerged between the two. I was very fortunate to attend an artist talk at the Tate Modern in December 2017 by one of my favourite artistscalled Tehching Hsieh, his talk resonated with me greatly as he spoke about ‘Art Time’ and ‘Life Time’ not being separate. You should live for your art and I feel I make this happen by composing both my ‘Art Life’ and Building Life’ together.
What would be your advice for artists starting out in their careers?
The best advice I would give an artist who has just started out would be, be true to yourself and your work. Do not play to the gallery! Do what makes you happy and productively engaged. However one rule I always say to myself is, if I start to get to comfortable with a process, technique or development within a work change it up, put a spanner in the works, test yourself, make the work new again where your constantly keeping yourself on your toes.
What are your aims for 2019/2020 as an artist?
My aim for 2019/2020 is to hopefully get into as many exhibitions and work on as many projects as possible. I have recently applied for a couple of art opportunities, I am waiting to find out if I have some of my artworks featured in an art magazine, and also waiting to hear if I have some of my artworks displayed in an exhibition in London. I am also looking forward to applying for as many open calls and opportunities with ArtCan.