British artist Richie Culver and I first met at his Bayswater studio, with the gentle thud of techno music reminding me that he’d recently returned from a tough couple of years in Berlin. A few years later, we're still in West London, but at his Kensal Rise space alongside Tim Noble and Sue Webster. I was met at the door by a soft-spoken Yorkshireman with arms decorated with the names of past lovers and dead friends.
As ever, Louis' work caught my eye on Instagram. I was captivated by the intimacy, and decorative nature of his portraits of fellow artists, models and musicians as well as people brought in from the streets of Paris. Across his oeuvre, Louis uses plants and flowers to celebrate the characters of his subjects. His studio is filled with paintings as well as collections of books, herbal tea and dried flowers, which are organised by colour and texture. I spent the day there with the artist discussing his influences and processes.
Photographer Kate Bellm is based between Mexico and Mallorca where she lives off-grid in the mountains. We were introduced by Lucinda Bellm, founder of Lamb Arts, during her psychedelic Night Sky Rising exhibition. The space's walls were lined with hypnotic landscapes and empowering nudes entwined with Kate's keepsakes. Of course, her photographs are wildly beautiful, but it's her surreal manipulation of colour and texture that makes you feel as if you're walking in a dream.
Italian-Irish artist Romana Londi and I met during the group exhibition Skinscapes curated by Tatiana Cheneviere and Guilia Vandelli at Unit 1 Gallery Workshop. We gave a talk with artist Camilla Emson on the importance of touch, and I visited her studio in preparation for it. Initially my interest lay in the involvement of her practice with technology and the way in which she plays with your senses.
American artist Grear Patterson is based in the Bronx, New York. We first met at his solo exhibition True Romance at Marlborough Contemporary, where he attracted a broad spectrum of creatives and collectors from Mayfair to Hackney. Grear’s mixed-media works are known for their recurring motifs and exploring pop-culture. Despite being featured in publications like GQ and Vogue, there is no further evidence of Grear having a social media presence or even a website.
A studio visit with Faye in South London is a transcendental experience. The painter glided around her space, making herbal tea in the Japanese tea set she’d just brought from Tokyo. It felt like entering a Parisian salon with kimonos draped over a piano, and her unique collection of seashells and old postcards scattered everywhere. Quite simply, it was like walking in a dream.
Sang Woo Kim is an artist and model whose current body of work focuses on the challenges of identity as he balances the duality of his creative professions with the realities of being a Korean immigrant brought up in London. Although modelling for international brands such as Burberry, Diesel, DKNY and Dolce & Gabanna supported his studies at Goldsmiths, and Central St Martins, he's often found himself to be taken less seriously as an artist as a result.
David Uzochukwu is a self-taught, 18-year-old photographer based between Paris and Brussels. In recent years, he has progressed from self-portraiture to major collaborations shooting FKA Twigs for Nike as well as a series for Adobe Photoshop. Whilst shooting for publications such as Hunger Magazine, Dazed Digital, Wonderland Magazine and Vogue, David has always managed to preserve his creative integrity and strong narrative vision, especially across the fine art photography you’ll find in his portfolio.
The Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Erdos and I were introduced by the founders of The Chimney gallery when a visit to their Bushwick space led to a spontaneous studio visit. Before I saw any of his sculptures, videos, photography or mixed-media installations, I was blown away by the magical space within which Erdos works. His landscape photography was pasted to the windows, making you feel as if you were in a desert with his glass mountain standing triumphant.
The Brixton-based painter Milla Eastwood and I first met at the preview of her critically-acclaimed solo exhibition Drunk on Colour at The Dot Project in Chelsea. Although I have always favoured gestural, abstract paintings, I was yet to experience her energy and dynamic colour palette. She composes her expressive work in her expansive Brixton studio, and sometimes even ventures to botanical gardens and natural landscapes.
Born in Dallas, Texas the artist and Topless gallery founder Brent Birnbaum now lives in Rockaway Beach, New York. As described in an interview with MoMa PS1, “I make work to reengage the viewer with popular culture from a critical and unexpected perspective.” Moving between different mediums, his work has also been met with critical acclaim in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Paris Review and on Artnet.
I first encountered the German artist Maximilian Magnus’s large-scale paintings during Frieze Week at the exhibition What’s Up 2.0 curated by Lawrence Van Hagen. A few weeks later I arrived at the artist’s Berlin studio to see the beautiful space where his abstract-expressionistic paintings are created. Maximilian is known for being the young painter invited to live and work in Willem de Kooning’s East Hampton studio.
LA-based internet artist Petra Cortright and I were introduced by the Swedish gallerist Carl Kostyal during her recent solo exhibition Orange Blossom Princess Fucking Buttercup at his London space. I felt as if I had discovered a new medium as I felt the impact of seeing her evocative work in the flesh. In fact, I was blown away by her kaleidoscopic paintings made using digital software to blend figurative and abstract elements.
When he was growing up in Colorado, Alex Dodge decided that, “if you want to make beautiful things, you have to make them yourself,” and turned to the visual arts. A connoisseur of digital art, his process involves him creating a virtual fabric and letting it drape over objects to describe their form. Over the course of his artistic development, Alex continues to ask himself, “how do you make something with a complexity and immediacy.” In response, his paintings resemble living, breathing objects.
Austin Lee is an American artist known for his playful, airbrushed acrylics. Introduced by mutual friends from London, we met at his studio in Long Island City, Queens near to MoMa PS1 and the Noguchi Museum. Combining technology and art, Austin describes himself as “a computer nerd as well as an artist,” and the proof was in his digital preparatory sketches. Austin thinks of his somewhat hallucinogenic artwork as sharing an isolated moment, keeping it alive and making it timeless.
Raised in California, the multifaceted photographer and painter Chase Hall now lives in the East Village, New York. Before moving to Manhattan to be surrounded by fellow artists, he worked in LA as an assistant on fashion shoots and did some commercial photography. Known for his work’s optimism and carefree aesthetic, Chase is all about the process, and believes we ought to see more of the effort behind even the most spontaneous works of art.
Hayal Pozanti is a Turkish artist based in Queens, New York. Upon our first meeting, I arrived at what looked like an abandoned warehouse and climbed the stairs to find corridors of individual artist studios. Reflecting her personal aesthetic, Hayal’s work space was clean and white, but also punctuated by bold splashes of colour. As we looked out across Manhattan, she talked about her roots in Istanbul, and how it compares to New York.
As well as being the co-founder of the online art advisory Artvisor, the multifaceted Piero Tomassoni is also a lawyer by day. Based in London, the Italian native also works closely with international galleries, collectors, magazines and institutions on his work as an independent art critic and curator. Piero's innovative project Artvisor first launched in May and has evolved into a respected online international marketplace for contemporary art with a personal art advisory service.
Tahnee Lonsdale is an LA-based, British painter known for her bold, eye-catching canvases. We found each other on Instagram and later met at the Victoria Miro gallery in East London to see the Yayoi Kusama retrospective before following up with an interview at De Buck Gallery, New York where her exhibition Pipe Dreams and Rabbit Holes has been met with critical acclaim. I fell for Tahnee's work, because of the subdued pastel palettes, her innovate use of negative space and of course its raw energy.
Shaun is a multifaceted painter and curator who first found his feet exhibiting in a squat in Peckham, South London. An expert colourist and mark maker, he works by his own sense of spontaneity and intuition. Shaun doesn’t work with stories or ideas, but instead enters his studio and lets the painting direct itself. I was first exposed to his work in the Critic’s Choice pages of the Financial Times a few years back, so was thrilled when his gallerist and collaborator Hannah Barry introduced us.
Scarlett and I met at her studio in Fulham, London and she showed me her recent works, walking me through her process and the unexpected materials she uses as a mixed-media artist. With her work exhibited at the Sunny Side Up! show at Rook & Raven Gallery as well as Polymer at Fold Gallery this summer - following the Hyperion show during Frieze New York - it’s a big year for the young artist. She was even shortlisted for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2016
The British photographer Kurtiss Lloyd and I first met at the Nomadic Community Garden off Brick Lane, London. There we spent an afternoon talking and taking photographs of the street art. Finding his way to photography through an interest in dance, Kurtiss grew up in an English mining town without any artistic training. But he soon found his way into the fashion world, collaborating with brands like Dior, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood and Philip Tracey.
The conceptual artist Anna Fafaliou and I first met after a talk I gave on ‘artists of the digital generation,’ but ironically we had actually shared an Instagram flirtation before that. Just as her beautifully curated digital presence has attracted thousands of followers, her purist white installations and sculptures are continuing to make waves across the international art scene. Anna’s unique work explores the relationship between object, memory and space as well as the interplay
The British painter Tristan Pigott and I met after an art dealer jotted his name in my journal at a party. A few weeks later we met at Shoreditch House for pots of tea and discussed his interest in embracing technological developments as an artist. Tristan grew up in Brighton, but studied at Wimbledon Art School and then Camberwell Art School in London where he thrived on the freedom to develop his own personal style. Although you’d be more likely...
Lawrence Van Hagen is a curator and collector working between London and Paris. We met at Café Boulestin in Mayfair to hear about his much-anticipated exhibition What’s Up featuring fifty young contemporary artists. With a blend of both emerging and established artists, collectors will be exposed to mediums from painting to video art. The exhibition runs from the 14th-30th April between Soho Revue Gallery and the Union Club. Highlights include Jonas Wood...
Luke Waller and I met in February at the Soho Revue Gallery for a tour of his paintings on display there. We had been introduced by a photographer that we had both worked with and I was thrilled, because I had heard a lot about his work's photographic realism and strong narrative. As he composes each painting, Luke pulls together found elements from film, television and fashion photography to create a new image through a curatorial collage process.
The Paris-based curator and painter Amy Hilton and I met at her studio by Barbes-Rochechouart, which she shares with the painter Laurent Godard. On a wintry weekend in Paris we drank herbal tea as she explained how she uses paint to explore philosophy. When Amy focused chanced upon two halves of pure limestone in Il-de-Re she began experimenting with watercolours and awoke to find they had dried into a delicate composition. Her exquisite studies have evolved...
The British fashion photographer Will Milligan and I first met in the Lake District when we were visiting the painter Beatrice Hasell-McCosh who I was posing for. Since then we’ve collaborated on editorial shoots everywhere from art gallery basements to abandoned film sets. Since moving into fashion photography, Will has photographed Luke Waller, Hugo Hamper Potts and Hugh Harris from the Kooks as well as...
Anouska Beckwith is a British photographer living in Place des Vosges, Paris. We were first introduced by a fellow writer and I soon crossed the channel to interview her for Suitcase Magazine. As both a photographer and the founder of the all-female artists’ collective World Wide Women, she lives the bohemian dream surrounded by creatives in the City of Lights. Known especially for her nude photographs, and focus on the life, death and rebirth.