Interview with Steven Porter

Exploring organic forms with a tonal dexterity: An Interview with London based artist Steven Porter.

Steven Porters organic forms have a tonal dexterity which allows the drawings to capture light through translucent forms. Check out what he has to say below, he tells us how drawing is the first stop for his visual ideas and how his geometric and organic forms develop.

SG: Is there a specific theme or concept you keep in all of your work or does it change with each series?

SP: I think form, colour and light are continuous themes in my work they allow me to discover original abstract forms. I work between geometric shapes and more fluid organic shapes, exploring their possibilities. Although these themes appear contradictory I actually approach them in the same way, I find it difficult to not see them as one because they both help me contrive new forms, with shape, colour and light. My intuitive decision making does not change from series to series, but the restrictions I place on myself do, for example I have recently made monochrome blue drawings compared with my wide use of colour in other series.  

SG: Why is defining your work as drawing important?

SP: Drawing is a language and the first stop for my visual ideas. I have always been fascinated how we use drawing to experiment, plan and discover new things, architects use it to formulate space that does not yet exist. I draw to find, to create and to bring into being visual forms that would otherwise not exists. It's because it allows me to contrive whatever I want and in that moment of discovery I admire it so. My drawing sketches the unknown.

SG: Where do you draw your inspirations from?

SP: I am influenced by what I see, read and do. That sounds simplistic as we all are influenced by these things but it's my reaction and use of this information that make my drawings, for example I see geometric and organic forms in architecture and nature and I bring these parts together in a visual collage or diary. My  forms develop through the making process. Drawing from memory. 

SG: Can you tell us your biggest influences in art and how they have affected your work? Are there any current artists who you really admire?

SP: Henri Mattise has influenced the way I look at objects and abstract them, he reacted to the world with shape and colour, another influence is Richard Dibenkorn who captured form and light in Ocean Park, California. his journey through figuration to abstraction helped me to see the world as shape and colour. In terms of current artists I look at Ian Mckeever's works on paper, Anish Kapoor's drawings and Donald Sultan's prints. Recently I visited the Souzou: Outsider Art from Japan exhibition and enjoyed its wonderful drawings exploring many themes and achieving incredible detail, serenity and sincerity. 

SG: Describe your studio/work space.

SP: Clean, white walls with lots of sketch books, paper and endless ink bottles as well as a big working/drawing table (also white). I have a wide range of brushes standing in vessels. In one corner there is bright yellow print, framed in white whilst the rest is of the walls are bare. I work on very white paper which is always worked on flat and  I mix my inks on white ikea plates. I only want the colour in my studio to be in the drawing I am currently making. The studio is lit by 8 white LED down lights so I can work at night. I tend to stand when I draw.


SG: Tell us about the materials and techniques of your latest work. Is there a specific process and set up for creating your work?

SP: I use Dr Ph Martins concentrated water colour which is mixed with water or set on a water field so it naturally disperses within a drawn shape. I use dripping, pouring and a wide range painting brushes to draw. I always use a different brush for each colour to keep the vibrancy. 

SG:Are you a part of any artists groups or organisations that have been beneficial (to your work in general or career as an artist)?

SP: I would recommend being a member of the RA, Tate and The Hayward galleries s this allows me to visit the same show several times as looking at art has always inspired me to make work.

To view Steven Porter's work click here