The Colour And Texture Of Scotland - An Interview With Kevin Fleming
Spring is always a very exciting time for us here in the gallery. Part of that excitement comes from knowing we will soon be receiving a new selection of works by the incredible, renowned artist Kevin Fleming. Here we chat to Kevin about his practice, theory and inspirations, giving you an insight into the workings of this much sort after artist.
WHAT TRAINING HAVE YOU HAD IF ANY?
I am self-taught, but I am also taught by nature, by places, by light,by time, by Creation itself in all its different forms and expressions. I’ve educated myself on the technical side, through experimentation, improvisation and innovation, in other areas I simply use my natural instincts to get closer to nature, to open myself to its moods and magic moments, away from social expectations, and to invent my own world, my own discipline, my own expectations and fulfillment.
WHAT IS/ ARE YOUR INSPIRATION/ ARTISTIC INFLUENCES?
My inspirations are nature, places, light, the myriad of unique moments that nature/ this planet, this earth creates every second, minute, hour, day,year etc. The endless abundance of natural living creation and creativity. In terms of other artists, I admire Chagall for his playfulness, especially his willingness to be playful with colour as a way of expressing not only light,but emotion. I appreciate his efforts in opening up the use of colour to express emotions, as well as physical fact or appearance, weaving the two together into visual poetry.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC PRACTICE?
I use Palette knives with undiluted oils, thick saturated colour to mirror my saturated emotions, saturated life. Like Chagall I am into visual poetry, and my subject is Scotland, the land, it's moods, it's character, it's charm, magic, beauty, amazing moments. I love to travel, each new place is like meeting a new person, new moods, new ways of articulating a position or features, getting to know its relationships, cliff to water, beach to sun, hill to cloud. The air is different in different places, the clouds are different indifferent places, the sea/mountains influence clouds, mountains shape space,sculpt light, remote bothies participate in the scene. I take quick and very immediate impressions, something like a spark illuminating an entire arena,often I feel like that spark of perception in a whirl of delight, in a storm of scintillating energy.
WHY DO YOU DO WHAT YOU DO?
To live. It’s an expression of life, my life, my joys, emotions,feelings, amazement. Art is the truest and most immediate way for me to feel what I feel, to express the way I feel. It’s an opportunity for me to express my unique and singular emotions, connection to and interpretation of things;places, light, times of day and the feelings they produce. Life is a constantly changing kaleidoscope of perceptions, and art is the language I use to speak with existence, with nature, the great saturated product of creation.
There is a buzz and an amazing joy to creativity that is unique and exciting, like listening to music, it gets me into a euphoric state which is energised, enjoyable, fun, meaningful and free. It’s the one thing I can do which doesn’t depend on anyone else, isn’t compromised or modified by anyone else, therefore I paint to see myself, to be myself. Scotland allows me to do that, therefore its part of myself, and I am part of it.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE AN AUDIENCE TO TAKE FROM YOUR WORK?
Joy, connection, inspiration. I would like my audience to be inspired,to be surprised, to embrace nature and landscape and colour in different ways,to open up their own perception, to find new ways to connect with familiar or unfamiliar places and to indulge in and appreciate beauty for a while. I’d like my art to enliven spaces with joy, and a celebration of self-expression. I’d like my audience to also experience a dose of the euphoria and heightened perception I feel when doing the work.
DESCRIBE YOUR PRELIMINARY PROCESS
Travel, photos. I travel a lot, get out of the car/van a lot, I walk around a lot, spend quite a lot of time immersing myself quickly and deeply into the scene, like diving into a pool of colours, impressions, recording moments on camera. Then I work in my studio, with all the impressions I’ve collected, allow them to spark off new ideas, imagination, immerse myself in photos and memories, like swimming through time and experience, with fresh energy and new vitality