Tuesday, 4 October 2011

LSD Magazine Interviews Ian Phenna (Issue 7)

Lashing a passionately poignant prism of portraiture to the end of his spray can and letting fly with the visual poetry of textured metaphor, Ian Phenna is coughing up some seriously sublime slices of figurative art. As the line between ‘street’ and ‘fine’ dissolves into a radical synthesis, aspects of the can and stylistic starting points born onto brick dance through an ethereal mirror of human emotion where lonliness and alienation meet mishief and a wry twinkle and settle in for paint drenched piss up. Playing with texture and mediums, some of Ian’s most fascinating work lifts the cult of letters out of graffiti and abstracts them into layers of elusive, indefinable feeling...

Did you initially start out writing and develop into wider forms of painting, or did you have an ‘finer’ art background?

I started drawing and painting when I was very young and never had any formal training but was a vandal before actually thinking about ‘art’

How did portraiture become the major focus of your work?

I’ve always been naturally compelled to draw and paint people around me...

What are you looking for in a face?

Contrast, expression, gaze, I dont really know...some faces come directly from my imagination 

How do you weave emotion and the abstract into a portrait?

One «tag» or symbol starts the process..then I find and lose an image repeatedly with tags until the process stops,I think this way of working adds an emotive edge.

Should realism ever be an end in itself ?

Why not? For each their own... I can paint realism, it just doesn’t really engage me...I prefer the unpredictable way of working 

What is it about seminal musical figures like Bob Marley, Sid Vicious and Jimi Hendrix that speaks to your spray can?

They are just good subjects to paint...


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