One Magazine’s Jake Tucker meets Exmouth’s internationally sold and exhibited artist Cass Stoddart to talk New York City, creative styles and festival inspiration
Q: What’s your first memory of drawing?
My first real memory of drawing was at primary school. Our class were set an advertising project and I created a number of colourful ink drawings with a family brushing their teeth, all with big smiles and gleaming teeth. I remember feeling excited by the ability to create characters, from my own imagination.
Q: Where did you study?
I am actually self-taught but I do remember being taught a shade and light technique by my school art teacher Mr Snow. He explained that natural light can influence the tone and shape of the objects/scene in your composition and that technique is still used in my practice today.
Q: How would you describe your style?
Eclectic. Drawing was my first passion, but over time my style has evolved. Pen and ink drawing still play a big role in my practice but I am currently experimenting, practising & researching abstract drawings with some interesting results so far.
Q: Does your artistic style reflect your personality?
My constant creative experimentation with different mediums and techniques match my energetic and creative personality. I enjoy using alternative implements to produce my images; paint scrapers, razor blades, wood, even turkey basters!
Q:You produce your paintings from a standing-above position with your canvas on the floor. This is something I’ve not seen before – why do you opt for this method?
This method came by accident really, when I first started experimenting with paints my only real space was my small garden shed. So I started dripping and slashing paints from a 360 degree position. I loved the results, the freedom of my own movement and space really enables me to express myself in a physical and mental way.
Q: Your work sees you travel all around the world. Where has been your favourite city or location to visit?
Without a doubt it’s New York, I went with my older brother for a break just before Christmas in the mid nineties. We were both blown away by the vibrancy, energy and friendliness of the New Yorkers. New York has been, and still is, a huge creative influence on me – I still paint New York skylines from memory after that trip.
Q: You’ve been invited back to New York to exhibit at the Caelum Gallery as part of the New York Art Week in February 2017. Tell us more!
I received an invitation to take part by a curator of New York art week. They had seen my work on Twitter and of course I jumped at the opportunity. The theme is really open, with all styles on show from photography to large installation art. I haven’t decided exactly what my works will be, but have decided on using large canvases approximately 150x100cm as my substrate to really showcase my vibrant, action art painting style.
Q: Where do you draw your main source of inspiration?
I am fortunate enough to have grown up in Devon, living at first near Dartmoor and now in ‘sunny Exmouth.’ My mother was forever taking me and my brother on walks over Dartmoor, around local fields and along river banks. Devon really is in my blood so with all that nature on my doorstep my drawings and paintings are heavily influenced by my natural surroundings and environment.
Q: I love your festival drawing as it fills me with fond memories of Glastonbury (which I, among many, sadly missed out on tickets for this year!) – do you ever combine your style of art with other mediums such as music or literature?
Thanks, I really enjoyed drawing that festival scene. Music is a great pleasure of mine, and I have produced a number of music concert/festival scenes, drawing detailed audiences and there vast array of gestures and movements. Concerning literature, my more comical drawings are certainly influenced by the poems and writing of Dylan Thomas, his amazing descriptive style has for me produced some strange and wonderful images in my mind, which I try to reproduce on paper in my own unique way.
Q: What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Artistically I think selling my work all over the world is a huge achievement. The thrill of having my original works hanging in people’s homes from Beijing to Brazil is why I keep creating something new every day.
You can see more of Cass’s work online at www.cassstoddart.co.uk