In the run up to her new solo exhibition in Soho, I caught up with painter Abigail Box at a pizzeria near Charing Cross to discuss her art, how it’s changed in her latest works and the wider art world.
It’s often difficult to separate an artist from their work and this is why they are often the best salesperson for their work. This definitely rings true for Abigail, or Box as she’s often called by her friends, as you won’t find a more enthused artist. Her scattergun style of talking reflects a mind filled with creative energy and endless ideas.
TK: How would you describe you latest works?
AB: It’s very Escher-esque and the perspectives don’t always makes align with subjects such as the tigers and plants seeming to hover over the floor as if they aren’t in contact at all. It speaks of the world today where we spend all our time staring at 2D computer screens and how this alters our perspective when compared to the 3D world we live in. I was also inspired by ancient Egyptian art, which has no sense of perspective and everything appears flattened. This altered sense of perception is further enhanced by the floors not being entirely captured within the paintings
The paintings are a culmination of my work to date, including my recurring themes of plants as these create a sense of being both inside and outside, further bringing the surreal into my work. And of course, tigers!
TK: Why tigers?
AB: I actually started off with bears as they are seen as both ominous yet also trigger childhood nostalgia when people think of their teddy bears. But I’m also interested in patterns and that’s what drew me to tigers. They are both curious and seen as a sign of opulence, often appearing in music videos next to wealthy people. All of this gives them a sense of occasion and provides a deeper meaning than featuring an animal that isn’t associated with anything in modern day culture.
TK: You broke away from representational art for a few years and started painting abstract explosions. Would ever go back to that?
AB: I needed that break to refresh my mind and inspire some new works. I saw some pictures of beautiful explosions so decided to try something different – but my ideas in that area are by no means exhausted so I may go back to them in the future.
I think it’s important for an artist to have a regular break away from their usual work, just to refresh the mind and develop my style further. But I know people do love my tigers so it’s striking that right balance between rejuvenating my work and meeting the needs of my audience. I’m not devaluing my more representative works as I still love making them but it’s important to recognise the themes that my followers and collectors most identify with.
TK: What do you think of Saatchi Art (formerly Saatchi online)?
AB: It’s great in terms of profile, though it’s better for selling smaller pieces rather than the bigger works. But that’s understandable given the prices involved and considering that buyers would be purchasing work without having seen it in person. Yet it is a good source for getting people to want to see the art in person.
Abigail Box: Floored will be on at 39 Great Windmill street from June 14 to July 14.