Interview With Artist Duncan Wright


Today's interview is with Duncan Wright, he is British artist currently living near Düsseldorf, Germany. We have conducted an interview with him to revolve around his inspiration, purpose, and passion behind his art.


His latest series „These Foolish Things“, was inspired by a random set of found imagery, objects and text collected over the summer of 2015.

£770. Oil painting on wood.  Restless silence by Duncan Wright

£770. Oil painting on wood.
Restless silence by Duncan Wright

SG: Where do you get your inspiration from? 

 DW: Found images, postcards, newspapers, inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere! However, I tend not to have any “Eureka” moments as ideas for work but instead I have always generated sketchbooks and journals and instead concepts slowly distill through the process of drawing and research. I think it is an old adage for artists that “primary ideas come about through secondary thinking” and I strongly advocate this as an effective process…if I invest time mulling over themes and the corresponding imagery that interests me eventually ideas become more fully formed. I also tend to work in cycles, in that, themes remerge after an extended period to be reimagined and reworked.


Mutton Cove III by Duncan Wright

Mutton Cove III by Duncan Wright

SG: What are you working on at the moment?

 DW: As well as continuing to develop the body of work that I have been working on for the last couple of years, “These Foolish Things," I am also developing in parallel a series of seascapes. I consider them "vessels for contemplation". These open vistas are devoid of extraneous detail, seabirds, boats and evidence of any coast line are deliberately omitted so that the viewer has space to implant their own memories. These works are painted with a slight blurring and haziness that perhaps reference a faded photograph or cutting and therefore hopefully suggest a distant memory or recollection. The views are taken from a place called Mutton Cove, Portland across Lyme Bay in Dorset, UK, my childhood home. 


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

 DW: All of my work, since I left the Royal College of Art, is really a continuum — self perpetuating, each piece of work informing the next — a slow evolution. Sometimes, superficially at least, a body work might appear different from the last but I’m still really fascinated by the same themes; childhood recollections, personal mythologies and trying to capture a sense of nostalgia.


SG: If you could own one work of art what would it be?

 DW: Jacopo Tintoretto’s “The Origin of the Milky Way” as a student I visited this painting almost weekly at the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square… feels like an old friend. For me Tintoretto was a “Renaissance maverick” his economy and fluidity of mark-making and his radical use of perspective is unparalleled! I’ve also always been intrigued by the severe cropping in this work, only later to discover that the work was actually cut in two….the bottom portion hangs in the Uffizi in Florence!


SG: What do you want your viewers to take away from your work?

 DW: I’m not necessarily interested in making visually beautiful objects for the sake of doing so, naturally I want viewers to find my work visually engaging but hopefully also, I guess, I would like my work to trigger a sense of self-reflection or introspection within the viewer. Hopefully my work is a mirror for their own lives and memories.


SG: What advice would you give somebody who has just started their artistic career?

 DW: Don’t compromise! It is easy to fall into the trap of making work that you think is commercial, technically easy or a pastiche of another artists. However, if you want your practise to have real integrity and longevity it is important, essential even, to ensure that you “plough your own furrow” by developing themes and ideas that are original and idiosyncratic. I believe this will only comes about through thoroughly interrogating a subject, so whatever your methodology, keep a sketchbook, ask yourself challenging questions and take risks!


Browse Duncan Wright's Work >>