Coll Hamilton shares some words with us this week. A very talented emerging artist with a distinct style that we love. He’s proven popular on Art Pistol and is one to watch!
Bio: My interest in story-telling and narratives are distilled in my paintings to creating moments that capture a place, a character or an expression, but most of all an atmosphere that could be part of a bigger story but which also stand alone as single images. I graduated from Glasgow School of Art and continue to live and work in Glasgow.
Art Pistol (AP): What’s the first thing you can remember painting?
Coll: Daleks – lots of them. I used to fill pages painting and drawing Daleks in lots of different colours – they are still my doodle of choice. I found a painting recently I did when I was about 5 of a Dalek exterminating Mr Happy. That’s probably some sort of metaphor.
AP: When did you first realise you were an artist?
Coll: I’m not sure. I was always interested in stories and creating my own stories – when I was growing up I sort of thought I might end up trying to be a writer and drawing had always been something I just did all the time and gradually the two passions for narrative and mark making kind of blended into one. I think if you are trying to be an artist you get into a mind-set where it’s difficult to switch off and everything you observe and experience feeds back into your work somehow but I don’t know if this happens because this is how you are made up or because you have spent so long doing it you have turned yourself into that. And if you ever achieve some level of success where you can support yourself through your art, can you then switch off between your work and your life or are they just intrinsically intertwined forever? Certainly a few years ago I found it very easy to switch off from the feeling I should be working and now I can’t. So I suppose there wasn’t a time that I can remember where I first realised I was an artist but over the last couple of years I think I have finally realised I am artist.
AP: How would you describe your art to someone that has never seen it before?
Coll: One of my friends recently described my painting as “figurative abstract” and I really like that description. I think the importance of storytelling in the images would be something that would hit anyone looking at them for the first time and I like the medium and the process of using them to come through in the images as well – so there is the narrative that I am describing on the surface and then there is the narrative described by the brushstrokes or pencil strokes or pastel smudges (I enjoy fingerprints in my work as well and tend not to always rub them out) that tell the story of the image’s creation – or at least hint at it.
AP: Is your work on any famous person’s wall?
Coll: I’ve got some work on the walls of people who aren’t famous yet but probably will be one day soon – I’ve given work to friends who are writers and a film-maker and other artists who I think will be very successful and famous.
AP: If you had the opportunity to change something in the art industry what would it be?
Coll: I don’t think I’ve got enough experience of the industry yet to know as I’m still just trying to break in.
AP: Do you have any other interests or talents that you’d like to share?
Coll: Well, I’m working on some graphic novel stuff at the moment so I’m certainly interested in writing and hope that I have some sort of talent for it. Time (and other people’s reaction to the work) will tell.
AP: Describe yourself in 3 words, one has to be a colour?
Coll: Orange (it’s just my favourite colour, I don’t fake tan), Happy, Sad
AP: Tell us your perfect scenario for painting.
Coll: In my flat (which serves as my studio just now), after having lots of coffee and a breakfast involving eggs, with either music or an Adam & Joe Podcast on my iPod, lots of bright sunshine and the whole day ahead of me to paint.
AP: If you weren’t an artist you’d be..?
Coll: The only job I’ve ever had is working in bookshops (still there part-time). So that, probably.
AP: Do you have any advice for artists just starting out?
Coll: I would say get used to rejection and knock-backs. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your own working (unless you can afford a studio) as I wasn’t prepared for this being such a solitary existence. And not to get the internet anywhere close to where you are trying to work as it is like a constant, constant, nagging, whispering distraction.
AP: And finally, what are you working on just now?
Coll: I’m working on two very large paintings, a few smaller ones and on a couple of graphic novel projects. And some Dalek doodles.