This month, to coincide with it's much anticipated autumn exhibition, ‘Abstract Expressionism’, The Conran Shop is partnering with the Royal Academy of Arts to transform our Marylebone store into a celebration of artistic creativity.
We're thrilled to have Jack Killick, an art graduate from the Royal Academy Schools, creating a mural that will sit as a backdrop to the main window’s room sets. We spoke to Jack about his plans for this exclusive in-store painting, his creative process and what he hopes viewers will take from his piece.
What does Abstract Expressionism mean to you?
I'm interested in the slippage between figurative and non-figurative forms that arise from working automatically and I see Abstract Expressionism as coming out of Surrealism – the emphasis being on subconscious creation. This very much speaks to the way I operate.
How have artists of the movement, like Pollock, Rothko and de Kooning, inspired you?
The first artist associated with the movement that really made an impression on me was Cy Twombly. A lot of the other artists' work when seen now, I think, has suffered from aestheticisation and commodification, whereas I still see the rawness and energy in Twombly; his work still seems difficult to me. Also, more recent artists who seem, for me, to be in some way working in response to the movement, like Raoul De Keyser or Rene Daniels, are of interest in that their work is living in the space between abstraction and figuration. Their work, though apparently abstract, is apparently obeying some kind of tangible spatial logic.
Your work seamlessly blends colour and shape, how did you decide on the design for this piece?
I tend not to 'design' as I think this usually yields uninteresting results. It's like trying to prepare for the weather without looking at the forecast - you are very likely to find yourself wearing an overcoat in the sunshine and being very uncomfortable. Instead I prepare. I have a very vague idea of how I might start the painting and then each subsequent action is an intuitive response to the last. It's sort of like going on a walk, not really knowing where you're going but that's not to say one doesn't have control over the decisions one makes, which route one follows.
How did you adapt your style to suit the Marylebone store space?
My style is not a particularly fixed thing so I usually prefer to let the space I'm using dictate it in some way. The space in the Marylebone store is very long, so I'm thinking of it in terms of something linear. A progression, left to right like writing or notation or rhythm; this is how I will approach it. Also, I would like it to be harmonious with the objects in the room, so it's style will in some way use the furniture as something to contrast with or respond to.
Where does your creative process start? How does it progress?
I always find myself returning to drawing as a way of getting ideas out quickly, so that might be the beginning of something new but I don't really see any beginning or end – it's more of a long progression. Motifs that appear in paintings occur, disappear and re-occur over time, but everything is a reaction or a response to what went before.
What do you hope the people who view this piece take away from it?
As is the way with a shop front, it will operate as a proposal or mock-up of a domestic space, so I hope that it may make people think about how they live with art, or perhaps that one might be able to live inside an artwork, adding to it with your furniture and possessions. Also, I would hope that it might demonstrate how a space can have an effect on one’s mood or take you on a journey.
Unfortunately London Design Festival 2016 is now over. However, you can find out more about The Conran Shop's events and LDF19 activities here.