Greg Farndon lures you in with blunt honesty, witty instinct and brutal charm. His work has a pulse. It is alive in some simple pure way. You can tell by looking at Greg’s art that he is not trying to play a role or fill a niche, he is just being himself. If you like it, fine! If you don’t, go find another planet to live on because there is something here that is needed and yet cannot be fully defined. Greg understands restraint and his images have just as much or as little needed to make a scarring impression. Sometimes things just are what they are and when you see them, you stop, admire, compliment and move on with the knowledge that you are happy about what just happened. More grease to your elbows Greg!
“Until recently, I’d always been uncomfortable with comparisons to other artists work, but ‘Surreal Basquiat-esque’ is …”
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.
I was born in the county of Warwickshire in the UK. I was very observant as a kid, always finding money in the street or interesting objects that people had dropped. I lived in the countryside, so I’d spend hours by myself, walking across fields thinking, figuring out answers to questions I’d pose myself. I guess that’s early training for being an artist. Observing and Questioning!
I listened to a lot of music growing up, which I would also attribute to helping me becoming an artist. I remember, a variety of sounds would always be drifting from my older sisters bedroom, which I think helped me be more open to new sounds as I got older. I would often sneak my little transistor radio to bed with me, listening to a host of music by torch light, under the sheets.
At the age of about five, I remember being in a library & coming across a small, monochrome picture of the Picasso sculpture ‘Tête De Taureau’ (Bull’s Head) 1942. I didn’t know who’d made it or why it was in that book, but I instantly knew what it was & perhaps more importantly what it wasn’t. I fully understood the playful idea that was taking place & knew that was what I wanted to do!
I currently live in Leeds, a wonderful city in the North of England, with my partner & exceptional artist, Rebecca Appleby. I’m new to the area and still getting my bearings, but the people are warm & there’s a great art scene here.
How do you describe your form of art?
I think of it as instinctive, using what’s to hand & what surrounds me in my every day, be it objects or spoken words. I don’t follow trends! What’s the point? I try to make my work about what I know, then that way, I’d hope it to hold a strong element of truth & integrity. I don’t like the notion of specific labeling of what I do. I’ll let others make their own minds up.
How has art saved your life?
Other people’s art (in all its guises) has profoundly impacted upon my life, but as yet, not saved it.
Your art tends to have a surreal Basquiat–ish sense of expression and the color in some of your work is quite arresting – what tools do you use for the creation of your work and how did you create your personal art style?
Until recently, I’d always been uncomfortable with comparisons to other artists work, but ‘Surreal Basquiat-esque’ is a great compliment. Thank you. Since my early teens, I would use words as part of my work. I liked the idea of lists as titles, something playful & different with a sense of the familiar for the viewer. I’ve often toyed with the notion of words mixed with imagery & now it’s a combination that’s appearing more frequently in my work. I also enjoy creating eclectic titles for my pieces. I see the title as a plinth that should allow the weight of any work to comfortably sit upon & support. ‘Untitled’ really doesn’t cut it for me!!
I don’t have any special tools to help make my work, but I do try to have a lot of stimulus around when I’m making! I like having music on or listening to BBC6 Music (an amazing station that I’d urge people to tune in to) Especially Mary Anne Hobbs show on a weekend. Perhaps a film on in the background. Definitely some magazines, books and the Internet. It’s surprising what can trigger an idea, so having a variety of sources & notebooks to hand is essential.
As for personal art style, I think the more I’ve drawn from personal experience, the more individual my work has become. So I guess my style is highly personal, but relatable.
Out of all the five senses (sound, sight, touch, smell and taste), which do you think is the most important and why?
I couldn’t possibly separate them or imagine life without one.
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
I can’t think of a negative critique I’ve had, but I’m certain they’re not far away! My favorite compliment arrived via a number of students from different schools that were shown my work as part of a set curriculum project about identity. They found my website & emailed me, expressing that my work had really inspired them & made them question what art could be. That’s always humbling, receiving a positive emotional response.
Does art come to play with the way you dress? What clothing item do you find absolutely crucial for every man to get right?
Making your work definitely impacts upon what you wear. I don’t own many clothes & I’ve never considered myself stylish, but I’ve always made sure I have a good pair of boots. Last year I invested in my first pair of Blundstones. Easily the most comfortable footwear I’ve owned. As for the one piece of clothing crucial for every man to get right- The one you buy for your partner!
What is your personal life philosophy?
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
If I could choose anyone, it would be with my partner.
What is your favorite movie of all time and why?
I don’t think I could pin point an ultimate favorite, but I’d recommend ‘Wings Of Desire’ by Wim Wenders. ‘The Intouchables’ by Olivier Nakache & Eric Toledano ‘The Ghost & Mrs. Muir’ 1947 version & ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ Jim Jarmusch
How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?
gregfarndon.com is probably the best place online to view my work & Twitter is a good way to say hi.
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