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The Art Five, Issue 13, with Artist Dominic Beattie

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

Dominic Beattie installing his works in 'Mass', a group exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, London

DB: I very much enjoy making things, it is the only task I’ve ever been able to routinely do with any success. Sometimes I wish I was able to create more practical, useful things than aesthetic objects, but currently my vocation is artist and I’m very driven to make stuff. I was motivated when there wasn’t an audience and I’m equally motivated now that I have opportunities to show. It’s a purpose and I feel lucky that I knew my purpose early and was able to focus.

Installation view, Mass, left: Dominic Beattie 'Window Painting 1', right: 'Window painting 2', 2021, sculpture: Laura White

DB: Pattern and colour have relatively recently become the main focus of my painting output.

I have a very exploratory practice, I like to establish a body of work and then quickly move onto something else, sometimes I wonder if the jumps are jarring to a viewer, but to me it all makes sequential sense. Pattern was definitely a recurring theme and when I stopped caring about the negative connotations of art being decorative, I began to embrace it more.

Pattern is a good vehicle for me to explore colour and form, it’s very freeing and I’m able to generate it in a spontaneous way. Inspiration used to come from textiles, ceramics, architecture, but now I tend to improvise the works or sometimes refer to previous things I’ve made.

Detail, 'Window Painting 1', 2021 Spray paint on board, 204 x 279 cm

DB: I found the loss of liberties we take for granted very concerning. Life seemed hard enough before the psychological dread of the last year, in retrospect pre-pandemic life seems completely care free.

I’m lucky enough to have a studio local to my house. I was there almost every day, inside the studio life seemed normal. I just did what I always do.

Dominic Beattie, works in progress

DB: Just my friends I guess, and people I show with. Tim Ellis, Simon Callery, Alice Wilson, Ben Cohen, Selma Parlour, Olivia Bax, Ralph Anderson, Alec Kronacker, Neil Zakiewicz, Will Cruickshank, Stephen Jaques, James Hardy, Olly Fathers, Mali Morris. People obsessively doing their own unique thing.

Installation view, Mass, Saatchi Gallery. Far left: Alice Wilson, centre: Laura White, right: Dominic Beattie

DB: You have to make something every day, it’s the way you hone your craft.

If you’re not academic, don’t worry. Massive importance is placed upon theory in university, in the real world I can’t think of one example when someone cared about what my concepts were or what books I’ve read. People want to see something fresh and interesting, so you need to carve out your own territory.

Financially it’s very hard to make money as an artist because you are making luxury items that no one needs. It’s not impossible though, you need to persist and you need decent productive people around you, so you can help each other find opportunities.

Don’t be a snob, don’t turn down opportunities early in your career because you think you are beyond them, they can lead to other better prospects and they can broaden your social circle.

Dominic Beattie, 'Window Painting 2', 2021 Spray paint on board, 204 x 279 cm

Thank you to Dominic Beattie for participating in The Art Five, Issue 13.

Current Exhibition: Mass, at Saatchi Gallery, 17 June - 23 July 2021

Dominic Beattie, Will Cruickshank, Alice Wilson, Laura White, Neil Zakiewicz

Mass refers to the physicality and largeness of things or a clustering of materials. Buildings are considered to have mass in the cityscape and mass products pump from factories to the population masses. The five artists in this exhibition enjoy the mass of materials, to produce urban and modern art forms.

In the religious sense of the word, a Mass is the transformation of worldly matter into the divine. Taking ordinary materials, such as builders merchant's timber, MDF, aerosol paint, rubber, and through a reconfiguration, the artists aspire beyond ordinary standards of scale, towards the cosmic realm. Sculptures that reach for the sky and paintings allude to heavenly bodies and stained glass windows. more info

About Dominic Beattie

Dominic Beattie (b.1981) lives and works in London and is an abstract painter/sculptor and furniture designer. He studied BA Fine Art Painting Camberwell College of Art, UAL. His work is based upon Modernist principles, specifically ideas of innovation and experimentation with abstraction, and an emphasis on materials, techniques and processes. Beattie has exhibited at The Saatchi Gallery, The Royal Academy, JGM Gallery and Fold Gallery. In 2015 he won the UK/Raine prize for painting. In 2018 he curated the exhibition ‘Harder Edge’ (A Multigenerational Survey of Recent Abstraction) featuring 17 artists at The H Club, Covent Garden, and later toured to the Saatchi Gallery. In 2019 he co curated ‘HABITAT: artist furniture or things that might be confused as furniture’ at JGM Gallery. He has had solo exhibitions at JGM Gallery and FOLD, UK.

All images courtesy of The Artist.

The Art Five © 2021.

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