COSMIC POWER AND MATHEMATICAL FORMULAS IN CLIVE CROFT'S WORK
I visited Clive in his studio in Lambeth sometime ago, we chatted about his journey as an artist, his workflow and complex ideas behind his vibrant paintings! I am now happy to share Clive's story with you!
How did you start your career as an artist?
Well, that was a long time ago. I went to the art school, and then I just became an artist. (Giggle)
You mentioned that you are from Australia. When did you move to London?
I moved to London a long time ago, around 30 years ago. I was a well-known artist in Australia and I had a career there. The reason I moved was because I won a scholarship at The Slade.
After I finished the postgraduate course, I stayed and started my own business. It was successful, however, at some point, the whole thing crashed very badly. I lost a lot, it was horrible …
I created this drawing based on formula developed by mathematician Prof. D.T. Papageorgiou. By its physical nature the painting is a projection into 2-dimensional space of a tangle of trajectories that are initially covering 3-dimensional space. The 3-dimensional tangle is itself a projection from a higher dimension - nature is full of examples where the initial dynamics are in infinite dimensions. A ball of trajectories in 3 dimensions (e.g. the trail of a randomly flying fly in a sphere) becomes an overlaying of trajectories in a lower dimension - the canvas. What is the signature of such a motion and how can we project it further in order to extract its dynamical essence? The painting’s title underpins such an exploration.
Have you always had a passion for art?
I was good at it, so I did it.
How did you find out that you were good at it?
Growing up I thought art was quite cool. To be an artist was the coolest thing you could do and I wanted to be a cool kid. So I became an artist.
When I was studying, I obviously, started to look into art history and different movements. From there I developed my own understanding of art. I was trying to establish my self as an artist and develop my own views.
I work with acrylics. It is much easier. I won't be able to do in oil. It would have been bonkers
You have a very particular style. How would you describe it?
Well … don’t know really. It evolved. It was a natural progression. I am not making intellectual decisions, I go with the flow.
Some time ago I went to a lecture about the dynamic instabilities. The lecturer is a good friend of mine, who is a mathematician. After the lecture, we decided to work together. The concept was that he'd create a formula, and I will translate it on to the canvas.
You use a lot of colour. How do you develop your palette?
It is a bit random. I pick a colour, apply it to the canvas and go from there.
Would you ever consider working in monochrome?
I have in the past. My new work is very colourful and vibrant. My earlier works were more subtle.
My new paintings are inspired by fractals. They are vibrant because we are talking about energy and the universe. I move in that direction naturally. I am very interested in the universe. I often think about what makes it work and where are we in the universe? Or what is behind it? I want to know all these things! I love it!
How do you start a canvas?
I always have a rough idea. Normally I just start straight on the canvas and develop it from there.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Other people are very keen to tell me what my work is similar to. I try not to be like any other artist, almost on purpose, I don’t look at other artists work. I am trying to be original, but it is funny because sometimes you see someone’s work and think: “Sh*t –someone did the same thing!”
I think it is hard to invent something new these days. Last century was the perfect time for it. Artists experimented and invented new movements. It was very interesting.
Let’s talking about your studio space…
Studio space is very important. It is good to go to work; at home you constantly have destruction. At the moment we have a lot of good energy around here, and it is nice to work in the studio. However, this can change, as people come and go. The community we have here is really nice.
Your studio is very organised...
Really! I didn’t think so but thank you.
What is your perfect working environment?
I like to have some sort of organization. I can’t work in a mess.
What is your typical day in the studio like?
I get in around 10ish. I faff in the morning a lot! At lunchtime, I go to the gym and then paint in the afternoon.