Jack Carberry-Todd Interview
By Samuel Johns
“I create because I have to. I’m an artist: it’s the only thing I find necessary. When I create and it’s going well, there is nothing better – obviously on the reverse of that when it’s going badly it consumes your whole life.”
Residing in studio F-18 at Ocean Studios is an artist who focuses on that which we cannot focus on. Jack Carberry-Todd takes us into a hazed and disjointed aesthetic where shape, language and manmade structure are misshapen by light and texture. This is the natural world overcoming the brutality of industrialisation and the mark of man.
I was fortunate enough to chat to Jack Carberry-Todd about his work, what motivates him and where he feels his work lies within contemporary art.
Can you talk us through your creative process and how you make decisions whilst working?
There is always a certain and deliberate idea behind my work, according to each painting. Although I let the paint have its own say, I allow it to be thinned down and use layers of washers and glazes. When this happens, you get an almost beautiful uncertainty. It’s important to let it set and develop – it can happen over time, or happen instantly. Other areas can be overworked and become cloying and clammy. As my paintings are delicate and thin this means the paintings are destroyed.
What are your motivations behind your work?
My motivation is the same as my inspiration to the work – say for example you’re on a cliff or on the moorland, and the weather is doing things to your body, it’s more than sight, its inspiration. It’s enthralling. So the motivation becomes the same as the inspiration, I’m motivated by inspiration. Which ultimately is atmosphere.
Study for Rannoch (left) The Flood / (right) Before the Meet
Detail of Warmoesstraat Study
How do you see your position in contemporary art?
I see my work as post romantic, by the sense that I’m thinking about the natural world, the spirituality and all inspiring world. Noting the vastness and overcoming of man and industrialisation, and how that is affecting the world. Of course, I’m already aware of the established industrial state of the world and how it has consumed, which means I’m living it, commenting on it as it’s happening, which could be something different from two hundred years ago. I’m present in the new world in a sense.
There is a stark difference between the collection Red Light and the rest of your work, do you agree and if so what was the thinking behind this?
The Red Light paintings are different from the rest of my collections, in colour that is obvious. However there is a heavy structure behind the Red Light paintings: it’s bold. They are paintings of cities, where it’s more heavily developed. It’s not concentrating on a particular room or stage, it’s a ferocious, industrious city. The bolder lines and more intense paint is called for, it maybe doesn’t have as much subtlety as the other work but I think it makes it powerful.
Lastly, why do you create?
I create because I have to. I’m an artist: it’s the only thing I find necessary. When I create and it’s going well, there is nothing better – obviously on the reverse of that when it’s going badly it consumes your whole life, your persona and emotions, which can completely come to the forefront. That said, when it’s going well, that’s it, your encapsulated in the work, you’re part of it and that’s just magic. Either way the work becomes resolutions of times and moments, end products of the good and bad. Which for me is important.
You can find more of Jack’s work on his website www.jackcarberrytodd.com. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for future projects from this young, promising artist.