Style: Organic & Abstract
Favorite Quotes: “Beware of artists, they mix with all classes of society and are therefore most dangerous” – Queen Victoria
“Art is the most intense mode of individualism the world has known” - Oscar Wilde
“If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything” – Public Enemy
Favorite Books: American Gods – Neil Gaiman, The Quest – Wilbur Smith, Wonders of the Solar System / Universe – Brian Cox
Favorite Movies: The Lord of the Rings - The Return of the King, Shawshank Redemption, Labyrinth
Where It All Started © Lynn Gibson
This is the first painting I will be using to create a sculpture from; it’s also the primary image I use for promoting my artwork.
I’m an artist based around Glasgow working primarily with encaustics (low heat wax), I first came across encaustic art at college back in 2000 and was instantly hooked – over the years I experimented with different mediums but eventually realized all I was trying to achieve was the look, colour and texture of the wax, so inevitably I ended up back at encaustics and now I’m hooked all over again. When it comes to working with wax experimentation is the key, it can take on a life of its own sometimes so you need to get to know it.
Please tell us about your first experience creating.
I was always painting and drawing as a kid, art class was one of the only things about school I actually enjoyed. But the first time actually creating something? Would have been just after the first time I saw Starry Night by Van Gogh, it was at high school in art class, I must have been about 13 / 14 or something and the image just stuck in my head. It made me want to experiment more with painting and try new things rather than just blind copy a bowl of fruit or the usual cliché still life set up. I’ve loved that painting ever since.
Untitled © Lynn Gibson
An example of what happens when I’m in experimentation mode, this was created by dripping hot wax into cold water and then built up and up - I also added in some ink and salt to the water to give more depth and texture.
What music do you like to have playing while creating art?
David Bowie and Led Zeppelin are always on the player, Bowie has been a massive influence for me, I just love his whole presence as an artist. Incubus usually make an appearance too, I tend to stick to the same artists – I did try some Henry Rollins once, and afterwards I looked at my work and it was just: black, is all I can use to describe it, the wax was engrained into the card because I had applied so much pressure from the hotplate, so from that I’d say music definitely has an influence on my work & me.
If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?
I work as an Architectural Technologist in an Architect’s Practice in Glasgow; the job differs depending on the scale of the project, on smaller developments you act as the project Architect, being responsible for the design from conception through to completion. Then on large scale developments you form part of the whole design team to bring the Architects vision to reality. It can be demanding at times, but I think I like that. Also it’s the whole process which I enjoy, with Architecture you have to be millimeter precise when it comes to the drawings and each one has so much detail and thought put into it, you really get a buzz when you see the drawings come to life on site.
What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?
My life it seems has always went from one extreme to another, a bit all or nothing, the blank white card with a burst of vivid colour and strange shapes convey what I feel my life is like.
Movement – Part 3 © Lynn Gibson
One of a four part piece.
Process of Creation
I’ll explain a bit about the encaustic process first - the wax works are created using a hotplate or mini iron and pre-mixed pigmented bee’s wax (other types of wax tend to crack and flake), the wax is then melted onto the hotplate and then you use the hotplate to paint with.
I go in either with a fixed idea of what I want to achieve, say for an exhibition or a piece for a particular person or purely just to experiment to see what comes out at the end. I’ll pick certain paintings and set them up around me, get some music on (or sometimes I like to put on a dvd, Ziggy Stardust in concert or Brian Cox usually) then start painting. I melt the wax onto the hotplate then apply while still molten to the card, canvas – whatever. Sometimes it only takes one application of the iron and I don’t want to touch it after that, or if I want to build on the piece I have small cards at my side and go back and forth with the hotplate from the main piece to the cards until I feel it’s the right moment to apply to the main piece and build it up like that. Once I’m finished I like to look through the cards I’ve used at my side and see what I can find.
The main reason I paint is because it makes me feel better as a person inside, you know when you just have to say something, you have to get those words from your head out into the world, and you instantly feel better inside for it, that’s what art’s like for me. Only rather than speaking I paint – it keeps me sane!
White – Virginia Gallery, Glasgow
BRAW – Offshore, Glasgow
Show Us Your Arts – Veneer, Glasgow
Stand up for Love – Mackintosh’s Lighthouse, Glasgow
Stand © Lynn Gibson
This painting was created as part of the ‘Stand up for Love’ exhibition at Mackintosh’s Lighthouse in aid of marriage quality in Scotland – the title says it all really.
Have you sold many of your artworks?
I’ve sold around 60ish works through markets and craft fairs in Glasgow plus a few more through commissions from friends and an exhibition. It was March 2012 that I first tried the market, I had been thinking about it for a while, even just for the exposure (getting people to see your work is half the battle). The end goal was to have my work exhibited in a gallery, which happened 9 months later. But even if none of this had worked, I would still be painting away silently in my spare room.
How do you promote your art on the internet?
The first thing I did was set up a business page on Facebook, it’s quick, easy and most importantly free! There are hundreds if not thousands of pages on Facebook dedicated to promoting art and they are happy to share, like and comment on your work, you can get thousands of visitors every month if you put in a little work. Another site I use is the Artistic Blog who will take on new artists and give them a feature page again all for free, I also joined the Scotland’s Artists website.
Architecture obviously features quite heavily, the first time I saw Casa Batllo by Gaudi, I got that same buzz when I first saw Starry Night, I could look at that building all day, it is a work of art, one that you can walk around inside, it’s brilliant.
Another major influence is nature & science; anything organic looking has my attention immediately - anything which looks almost biological, like it’s been grown. I love that whole style, people like H.R. Giger, Zaha Hadid, Thomas Heatherwick - I look up to. Science just fascinates me; one thing I hope to see in my lifetime is Betelgeuse go supernova, that would be pretty amazing.
An Italian photographer called Edo Zollo, I went to a recent exhibition of his called ‘Stand Tall, Get Snapped’ at the Virginia Gallery in Glasgow. He spent a year travelling around the UK photographing and talking to 30 people living with HIV, the 30 faces of the 30 people were set up around the room each with a quote from them about their diagnosis, going from 3 months diagnosed up to 27 years diagnosed. I can honestly say it was one of the most inspirational exhibitions I have ever seen.
Tell us something interesting in your life.
Growing up we never had any money, so holidays were to Butlins (a holiday park type place for anyone who doesn’t know), caravan parks, that type of thing - I didn’t even own a passport or go on a plane till I was 19. Anyway when I was 20, me and the guy I was with at the time decided to take a roadtrip through Europe, no planning at all, just got a car, passports, map, stuffed a bag full of clothes and took off. We went from France to the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain... It was pretty mind blowing, especially for me since two years before I’d never set foot out of Britain. I also got to visit the Van Gogh museum & Gaudi’s work for real – I was like a kid in a sweet shop! Next month I’m leaving for a round the world trip and one stop on the way is Tokyo, a city I’ve always wanted to visit, to say I’m excited is an understatement.
Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?
Yes a few moments... mostly involving some kind of alcoholic drink and a house party at 4am. Honestly after 3am just go home! I also managed to go to a music festival once and not actually see any live music, it was over a whole weekend - how I achieved that is a mystery even to me.
If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?
It’s too easy an answer to say ‘no because then I wouldn’t have done this’ or ‘it wouldn’t have led me here’, maybe I would have gone and seen some actual bands at that festival.
What plans do you have for the future of your art?
I would love to take some of the paintings that I already have (I’ve got a few in mind) - and create a sculpture of those paintings, they look almost 3D on the flat surface it would be fun to see them in actual 3D land. The wax is too brittle once off a surface so I need to experiment with materials, I need to achieve that matt flat surface along with the bright colours. Also to keep exhibiting, try and get a solo exhibition going and also one outside of Glasgow – those are the next steps.
Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?
An easy way to get some exposure is to do markets and craft fairs, you can get hundreds of people viewing your work in one day, it was through the craft fairs that I got in contact with a gallery and landed my first exhibition, you just need that one person to walk by. Also hand out something like business cards and spend time talking to people about your work. I must admit it is pretty scary the first few times, some people feel the need to judge you personally as well as your work (which is always lovely). I’ve been told I have a strange mind and had some really funny looks from people saying “Melted wax?”, but overall I was pleasantly surprised at how nice people can be - and supportive. Perfect strangers would come over and say the nicest things; I actually started writing them down and posting them on my Facebook page at the end of the day so I wouldn’t forget.