Author: Calypso Newman
Published: 17 Nov 2021
Darren John is a contemporary artist who has created an incredible acrylic painting, Open 01, for our 50 x £50 auction. Using primary colours, his paintings are joyful expressions that encourage viewers to approach their surroundings through a more playful and curious lens. We wanted to catch up with Darren about Open 01 and his artistic insight on the 50 x £50 auction.
1. How would you describe your art in one sentence?
Painted portals to encourage folks to live a more playful and curious life.
2. We would love to know the process behind making Open 01?
My contribution to the last 50 x 50 was very process led, much like the paintings I was making at the time. Pastel led, really textural and packed with lovely organic tones.
I wanted to make this years edition like a smaller, looser version of the works I’ve been making recently. These recent paintings revisit another series of mine just with a lighter and more open spaced approach. It gives the paintings a little extra breathing room without breaking the playful mechanism that encourages people who look to work their own way around the shapes, colours and textures.
3. For the 50 x £50 we sent you a canvas of 34 x 30cm, how have you found working on this scale?
I’ve actually always made paintings across a variety of different sizes. I think it’s really important for work that’s produced and made available for sale, to be available across different price points.
To only make giant studio paintings with hefty price-tags distances everyday people from being able to own and engage with art. For me this kind of elitism is *thumbs down raspberry fart sound*.
4. What other artists' works have most caught your eye in the auction?
Ohh so many - Olly Fathers has pulled out a really great one. My good friend Matt Dosa has again made a super generous and beautiful contribution. David Shillinglaw always has a big space in my heart and his 50 x 50 piece confirms why. There’s not a weak artwork among the lot to be honest, I just wanted to give a shout out to my homies haha
5. As an established artist what advice would you give to artists at the start of their career ?
If you’re not utterly consumed by making your art, making it a career can consume you. It’s totally possible to make a career as a working artist, though statistically it’s likely you’ll do other things to supplement what you want to do. Get comfortable with this, get organised and prioritise the pleasure!
6. You have some exciting projects at the moment, what are they and how can readers stay up to date with what you are up to?
The past 9 months or so I’ve been spent much of my time leading my artist team at Absolutely Studio. We help bring painted projects to life and this year we’ve been painting some brilliant and large artworks for some fantastic artists. We’re like celebrated ghost artists in a way. Inside, outside, on walls and on floors - it’s been a blast!
You can find some of those productions here: @absolutely_studio
And you can always reach me here: @darrenjohn :o)
Thank you so much Darren John.
Darren John’s work Open 01 is in the 50 x £50, you can view the artwork here.