Duncan was born in Chertsey, Surrey England in 1980, he now resides in London. His animation work has been screened at SIGGRAPH in the United Sates and his MA animation work was exhibited in a group show at the ICA London in 2004.
Duncan now divides his time as a producer working at one of the worlds leading Visual Effects companies, and in his studio as a painter. His studio is based in East London, working on a mixture of personal work and private commissions.
G: Tell us about what do you do?
I am a painter and my work explores the abstraction of landscapes and organic forms into large colour field paintings. My work is both abstract and gestural, a series of simple expressions with the aim of creating emotion and feeling through use of colour. I look to create compositions that have a harmony with both colour and mood, but have an aspect of instability between the forms. The compositions are created so the strong flashes of juxtaposed colour unfold and develop as the various elements interact, creating an overall balance of form.
G: Why do you do it?
As well as painting I work in advertising as a visual effects producer for commercials. I cycle to and from Soho from the east London each day. I think I only got into making high-end visual effects for commercials because I studied at art school and although it’s a job in a creative industry, there is always the need to fit both the companies and clients brief on all projects. There is nothing quite like having you own creative goals and ambitions and the only way for me to realised these is for me to do my own projects and creating my own work. Essentially I am creating my own brief for my own self practice; this is my real driving factor.
G: What does inspire you?
My inspiration comes from many sources – they all feed into a common theme in my work of colour, form, harmony and mood. Before I specialised in painting as a fine artist I have specialised in digital light and sound installations. Primarily focussing on the notions of obsession and repetition, I continued with these themes whilst studying animation. Repetition has always interested me as an artist. The idea and process behind doing the same thing, again and again, but each time viewing it in a different way and with a new perspective. My latest work I have executed the same style of painting over 100 times, repeating the same technique and theme in a similar way. It’s more of an experiment than anything else, a repetition of or sketch paintings. I’m pursuing the ideal that a few of them will come out perfectly and will capture the ideal I have generated behind them. It’s a practice which I very much enjoy.
G: What was your most successful project so far or what project did you enjoy the most so far?
I always feel my latest piece of work is my best! (Full stop)
G: Tell us about your upcoming exhibition?
My latest exhibition is entitled ‘The India Series’, it is inspired by a set of photographs I took in South West India in the spring of 2011. The subject of the work is figurative and explores both the subjects interaction with its landscape and the powerful colours represented in. The series of works have explored a more figurative theme than I usually work on; the focus of my works is not only on the body, but also its relationship with its surrounding landscape. The strong colours are inspired the colours of SW India, and the colour theme runs in parallel with the theme of how the colours of the figure interacts with the colours of the landscape. I have chosen a selection of works from a large series of paintings which I feel best capture my creative ideal behind the series.
G: What are the main challenges maintaining your business and how are you overcoming them?
I have always sold my work on a commission basis, but as I have built more interest in my work I have started selling it via my website and on more popular fine art web based resources.
The biggest challenge I currently face is finding a new studio. My previous studio was right in the middle of the Shoreditch triangle along New Inn Street. A great location, but it was small and the lighting conditions for painting were less than perfect. The studio spaces in the Shoreditch area are either affordable but too small, or are enormous and in a much higher price bracket. The best way for me currently is to club together funds with other artist friends and I am planning on renting a studio space with a group of 3 friends in the spring of 2012.
G: What would you say has been your most memorable experience in you career?
I recently created a large composition for a new client in London. I feel it was one of my best paintings to date and their reaction to it was really special. He and his wife were expecting a baby and the subject of the work was about their family to be. Their reaction to me presenting them the painting was priceless, you can tell pretty quickly if someone likes your work and it’s even more obvious if they love it! It is one of my largest pieces at over 8” x 5”. They recently moved out the Middle East and liked the painting enough to have it shipped out there with them.
G: Why do you choose Shoreditch for your exhibition?
I have lived and worked in Shoreditch for over 5-years now and I have regularly been to all the bars and cafes in Hoxton Square in this time. Through this I had gotten to know the Ruby’s cafe owner Lino through a friend that had also exhibited his work there. It is such a great location to have your work shown and with the historical relevance of Hoxton Square area with the YBA’s in the 90’s and the White Cube being a stone’s throw away its simply could not be a better location in the area.
G: How would you describe the art scene in Shoreditch/East London?
The area is becoming so much more commercial and many friends and artists I know have moved out of the area, north to Dalston, Stokie and further east to London Fields and Hackney. Saying that the mass exposure of your work that you can have in Shoreditch is something that I believe in.
G: What are your favorite places in Shoreditch?
I love Shoreditch in the summer, although green space is at a premium in the area, there is always such a great buzz in the late evenings in the summertime. But, my favourite place to go has to be DreamBags – Jaguar Shoes, the bar staff mix great drinks and the small exhibitions that they keep putting on are brilliant. I wish more of the bars in the areas took their lead; they really capture the essence of the area.
G: What does the future has in store for Shoreditch?
Working in advertising I hear talk of more and more ad big agencies and big creative/corporate companies moving to Shoreditch and around Spitalfields from both the West End and more traditional locations in the City. There are major redevelopment plans for around Bishopsgate goods yard, which is just by the new Box Park development. Which is probably as exciting as it is scary!
The area is getting more densely populated and there are now so many bars, clubs, restaurants and special events to choose from. I prefer the night life in Shoreditch from Sundays to Wednesdays when its not quite so busy and you see a familiar face or two.
Blog: on website http://www.duncangaman.co.uk/#/blog/