Visual Flux interview for 'Flowers: The Solace of Humanity' @ Sampa Coffee Gallery, London.

An interview with London based artist, designer and blogger Melody Grossman for the exhibition, 'Flower: The Solace of Humanity' at Sampa Coffee Gallery which opened in August 2016. 


How long have you been creating art?

I've been making images as long as I can remember. Only recently have I considered myself an artist and the things I make as art. I guess its a confidence thing. Even at art school I was second guessing myself and always had that worry of is this good enough to be art? Over the last couple of years I've cared less and gained confidence.


How has your style changed over the years?

Massively. I've always explored new techniques and media and each experiment has led to something quite visually different. I take inspiration from everywhere and am influence by a lot of different artists from old masters like turner to modern graphic artists like Leif Podhajsky. Thats probably symptomatic of the internet age and the atemporality of it all. Everything is free to everyone which makes me want to bring together all these ideas and techniques throughout time. The constants in my work, I feel, have been using image making tools chaotically and the idea that relinquishing control to you medium can bring about serendipitous happenings.


What is your favourite medium to work with?

That's definitely a hard question as each medium is like a different language and can express ideas totally differently. Paint can create worlds of infinite possibility whereas print can create infinite multiples and digital is just so wonderfully quick. I think paint has to win just because its physically lovely stuff.


What made you decide to move from painting and screenprinting to the recent digital works?

It wasn't a conscious decision but more dictated by my circumstance. Art school was a wonderful bubble where you have easy access to amazing spaces and equipment. As soon as you leave thats gone and I realised it would be very hard and expensive to keep making big paintings and series of prints. Luckily I had a Mac and a few image editing programs and just decided to play around with them.


What inspires you in everyday life?

Almost everything. I feel like I'm still a child and get very easily distracted by the world. Inspiration will always come in the most unexpected places. Though if I go looking for it it's usually in nature or history, more specifically greenhouses and ruins.


Talk us through your thought/creation process.

Its quite instinctual. I try and separate the acts of making and reflection. Making is something that needs to happen. The need builds up and then I take image that i'm naturally drawn to and being playing with them, editing and distorting. I like transforming images by putting them through processes as if trying to distill something from them, like an alchemical process. Then i'll just let it sit and come back to it and reflect on the image and become more critical and see what needs changing or editing. A lot of what happens is subconscious though, I'm just trying to give substance to those moments of feeling.


Which artist is most influential to your work?

Most recently Leif Podhajsky has had a big influence, especially on this flowers series of works. His worked helped me a lot when starting to make work digitally and helped me see some of the possibilities of digital.


Have any films or music had strong influences on your work?

Not consciously or directly. Big fan of any films by Lynch Kubrick or Almodovar. Musics all about mood the two will reflect one another. I can only listen to certain types of music depending on my mood. I can work whatever mood I'm in.


If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world, which would it be?

Maybe the Guggenheim in Venice? That space is like a dream house. Though I really like the ex industrial spaces like the Truman Brewery that degree shows are always housed in.


Which is the best exhibition you’ve ever seen?

I've seen lots of really good exhibitions recently. Botticelli Reimagined at the V&A was sumptuous and really refreshing way of looking at classical painting. There was an exhibition of Giacometti's portraits at the NPG really which blew me away. I also have really vivid memories of exploring huge Richard Serra's The Matter of Time in the Bilboa Guggenheim when I was younger, that really stayed with me. Alibis: Sigmar Polke 1963–2010 at the Tate a couple of years ago may top them all though just because I feel an affinity with his work.


If you could live and have a studio anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Too many choices, maybe I'll become a nomad. I would love to travel more.


What’s your favourite brain food for creating work?

Cheese? Making work is pretty much the only thing that will make me forget to eat. Coffee is always good fuel.

And finally, what is your favourite coffee shop?

Sampa, of course! Or anywhere that serves Cà phê đá (Vietnamese iced coffee).

Mike Thebridge