Jack Gwyer was commissioned to create murals for the new Piccadilly store that were inspired by the anatomē elixir oils and the physical space itself.
You study linguistics, what inspired you to be an artist?
I guess my studies inspired me to explore artist discourse, as at first it felt separate from normal language use and an escape from my academic life. But I quickly learned that to really understand your work you need to understand its purpose. For me, it was really about finding that voice in my work and I’m still not completely there now, but I am fine with that as I recognise, like all things producing something that communicates for itself takes time. Linguistics motivated me to actually explore my works purpose as a form of communication, as I want it to eventually be understood without myself there to define it.
How would you define your work?
I do a lot of writing about my work, and a lot of my paintings are based on moments in my life that I have summarised through biographical or poetic notes. Again I want my work to speak for itself, as a sort of visual diary that shows brief episodes into my life – some dramatic, others pleasurable, but mostly mundane. Its not about making something that anyone else can strip back and cling onto, I just want my work to be relatable and real. Right now, I would say that it’s essentially a visual diary but through a completely abstract lens.
Murals, is this a first, what inspired what you have achieved at anatome?
Yes, definitely a first. First time painting walls altogether. What I am most happy with, is how each design really parallels the natural calm of the space. Especially with how the pieces relate to a different oil and area within the interior. For me, this project was about creating pieces that work in harmony with the serenity of Anatome, and to provide the public with an escape from the rush of Piccadilly.
Can you tell us about the process of making your work?
Its all quite hands on, I usually start with acrylic and then rub layers of oil in to produce different variations of texture and colour. I like the idea of each form sitting in a space of vastness, providing a concrete presence within the canvas. Combinations of form and texture are used to represent feelings of individual experience, showing how life is lived through the visual combination of presence and void, form and space. Its often about having an individual experience such as a thought, dream, or view that I want to recreate. So a lot of the time its about documenting those important moments to be painted later.
Which artists inspire you?
I really like Rothko, Otis Jones, Sean Scully, Landon Metz. I don’t have a particular favourite that I would separate from them but I do think Rothko created an energy that is different to most.
Your work is visually connecting but given you studied linguistics what literature do you enjoy reading?
Mainly modernist literature: Kafka, Albert Camus, George Orwell, Ezra Pound. Huge admirer of the thinking of Pierre Bourdieu. But I would say that Olga Tokarczuk Flights is by far the best book I have read this year.
What is your favourite art gallery in London and why?
Recently, it would have to be Adel Assanti. I really loved Oren Pinhassi’s installation and the ambiguity of his sculptural works.
So anatomē is about wellbeing, describe how you start your day?
Usually very slowly, I am not the best at waking up. But a shower and coffee usually sorts me out.
When are you most energised in the day?
Straight after a morning coffee.
How do you relax?
Socialising, reading and writing.
What place did you last visit that inspired you?
Naoshima Island in Japan. It was a real once in a lifetime experience, not only to visit the art island but to see such seminal works in a setting that is truly like no-other.
What physical space or room do you feel most at ease in?
Never be afraid to take a risk
Coffee or tea?
What music inspires you?
Often quite moody down-beat stuff really: Aphex Twin, Lebanon Hanover, The Stone Roses also a big fan of Boy Harsher.
Silence or noise?
What inspires you?
Life, colour, people that I love, and modern ways of thinking.
Visit Jacks website