Photography / Editorial / Print

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 11

"I wanted to start with a really simple concept. Bringing it back to a celebration of paint" says Chris Moon, an artist who we caught up with at his second solo show, 'Reverie' at Londonnewcastle gallery in October. Moon is a self-taught artist and he tells us he "wasn't surrounded by art as a kid. It was the only thing I knew. I used to draw images from magazines, life drawing and it came naturally. From that process I started using paint and went on from there." There was a point in his journey where he didn't show any work for several years and destroyed a lot of work. "I guess I was trying to find my own style and I found it through that process. I never lost the belief and that was important to keep me going." Now though, he tells us he can't live without painting, it is a "conversation I have with he canvas", he says and in some ways the paint is a companion. A self-confessed daydreamer, the paintings "started as a pluck", he tells us, "some of which have a story to tell. It is more about the paint than the emotion for me." He goes on to tell us more about his thoughts behind his work, likening it to "opening up a box of your old photos. I take some out. I have traditionally shied away from painting from photographs, but what I realise now and through this process is that you start with a digital image, recreate that in paint and then it becomes mine. I own that image and from there it is a battle between the head and the hand, me and the canvas."

Some of the imagery is haunting whilst others are bursting with colour and life. The series entitled 'fight or flight' suggests a call to battle, warding of a foe or guarding an inner emotion, whilst some of the packed figurative scenes, with their lighter colours and tones suggest a calmness, serenity and peace of mind.  'Lost in a Space' shows sinewy figures in a vast landscape, in one, a forlorn figure is depicted at the bottom of a rainbow, hunched and bereft of colour, in others, depicted at the precipice of a building, looking to a horizon or even the ground perhaps. There are personal and emotionally charged paintings, such as that of his mother, using a washed-out 70s photo of her just her sitting in a field which he says he used to "reinvent the idea of my mother"

Much has been said of his painting style and Moon tells us he "draws inspiration from many artists, but really I pick a section of work, as if you select a song from an album. There's a nod to Hockney, Bacon and Michael Andrews. There is a crossing of paths. With any journey you are going to meet a lot of people on the way and some will inspire, some you'll forget."

The paintings in 'Reverie' show a nostalgia for memories, encounters and places from the painters past or they could be of images that may surface in a dream or of everyday stimuli.  The sources, he tells us are varied "from old travel photos to sunbathers on London fields to brief moments to imaginary alien environments." He invites us to view that dream or thought, with the brushstrokes giving just enough detail for us to fill in the canvas with our own mental imagery and imagine what the painter may be viewing. Moon tells us that he is depicting a new story with the paint laid down, a reinvention of images. It is that invention we are seeing and in doing so, "making the ordinary, extraordinary".

Interview and Portraits: Nardip Singh

Painting images supplied by Lisa Baker Copyright © Chris Moon
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