Iain Stronach is the artist behind the logo featuring on oh so many Family Cat t-shirts in the 90’s.
Geoff Loop asked some probing questions about life, art and green sheds.
Geoff: Where did you originate from Iain?
Iain: I was born in 1959 and raised in North East Scotland in 1959, a small village called of Dyce that’s now part of Aberdeen City. I went to Dyce Primary school and then onto Bankhead Academy.
Geoff: And when did you discover art?
Iain: At the age of 14. I was given my first oil painting set and started painting portraits of family members, before moving onto landscapes and collage after being banished from the house for leaving oily fingerprints everywhere.
Geoff: Did you have any particular mentors from your school, or college perhaps?
Iain: A friend of the family, who was a graphic designer, initially encouraged me to stick with it and I won a place at Grays School of Art where I studied from 1977 to ’82.
Geoff: Who were your artistic inspirations at the time?
Iain: The same ones as now really; Picasso, Kippenberger, Duchamp, Cobra Group, Arbus, Keifer.
Geoff: What contemporaries do you admire?
Iain: Richter, Hirst (for his bravura not his painting), Chris Offili, Mark Dion.
Geoff: Do you theorise about your work or just ‘draw’ from feeling?
Iain: There is a fine line between theorising and overcomplicating the message, when artspeak becomes artwank!
Geoff: Where do you think most of your inspiration comes from in respect of starting a new piece or project?
Iain: From found photographs and postcards reinterpreted, titles come from snapshots of songs and novels.
Geoff: How important would you say your art is in your life?
Iain: Well it’s certainly an escape from the daily grind of being a desk jockey; I’ d be much more of a grumpier cynic than I already am without it.
Every Thursday and at the weekends I lock myself away in the Green Shed at the end of the garden, near the edge of the wood, and concentrate. My work doesn’t support me financially but I couldn’t do without it.
Geoff: What are you working on at the moment?
Iain: A series entitled ‘Matinee Idols, heartthrobs and monsters’, small paintings of heads from film stills and found photos.
Geoff: Do you have a style?
Iain: Realistic abstractionist! I like to think of myself as a representational abstractionist looking the wrong way down a one-way street!
Geoff: And how do you get there?
Iain: I tend to fill up sketchbooks with drawings from reference material, old photographs, postcards etc. and then start painting through a number of stages and changes. The end result can be radically different from the original idea/drawings mind! I work mainly in oils.
Geoff: Do you have a favourite piece of art?
Iain: Picasso’s Guernica, Velazquez’s Las Meninas
Geoff: Do you have a favourite gallery or museum?
Iain: The Prado in Madrid.
Geoff: Moving on to music, how important do you think art is to the music industry?
Iain: It’s important to create a visual representation of the product and use original work, but some things that look good on an LP sleeve can look diminished on a CD. Bon Ivor’s most recent album uses an artist’s work well but with mainstream artists it (artwork) seems to be sidelined. I guess this is the result of marketing trends and cultural obsession with celebrity.
As music becomes more focussed on spotify/downloads etc any stress on the artwork is taken away from the sleeve and more emphasis is placed upon the musician/artist’s physical appearance.
Geoff: Who are your favourite bands/musicians?
Iain: Bonnie Prince Billie, Avett Brothers, Spiritualised, XX
Music is important to me, many of my ideas come from music with lyrics sometimes becoming titles of my work.
Iain Stronach’s credits include:
Summer Exhibition Royal Academy, London 2012
Eighth Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2011
Seventh Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2010
Sixth Open Exhibition New Maynard Gallery 2009
Public House The Establishment Exhibition Space 2002
Raspberry Ripple The Establishment Exhibition Space 2001
Coach and Horses The Establishment Exhibition Space 2001
Galeria Sen Madrid 1987
You can see examples of Iain’s work in our Art Gallery here.
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