Tabish Khan talks to David Wightman, a painter known for his colourful landscapes made from collaged wallpaper shortly before he debuts new work at The Other Art Fair, 23 – 26 April.
Your use of wallpaper and vibrant colour combinations is striking – where did this fascination with colour and texture come from?
I grew up in a house completely decorated with textured wallpaper and began to incorporate it into my work soon after I moved to London from Greater Manchester. The textured wallpaper I use is a reference to my own background and also serves to illustrate the textures and contours of the fictional landscapes I paint. Colour has been a long obsession of mine too. My early work was geometrically abstract and served as a great training ground for my experiments with colour now. I greatly admire the work of colourists like Josef Albers and Bridget Riley and want to bring this energy and vibrancy to a different genre: landscape.
The Royal College of Art is known for trying to break down artists and re-build them. As a graduate of the RCA how did you cope with this approach?
I was accepted onto the Painting MA at the Royal College of Art when I was just 21 years old. My work was in flux and I found it very difficult to find my feet at such a young age. It was only after I graduated and had a few years away from an art college environment that I felt all of the critical debate bore fruit.
Your work is featured on dresses by the Swiss fashion brand Akris. How did this come about and what do you think about the cross-over of art with fashion?
Akris and I worked on a collection of items inspired by one of my paintings. It was a hugely rewarding experience to be part of a different creative world. All of my paintings are about colour, texture, line, and form – all important aspects within fashion. It was also very exciting to bump into people wearing my work on the street in London!
You’ve shown in the Other Art Fair and are showing again (23 – 26 April) – what do you enjoy about it and who would you recommend it to?
Taking part in the Other Art Fair is a great experience. Meeting clients and art lovers face-to-face in such a friendly and encouraging environment is refreshing. I would recommend the fair to anyone interested in buying art directly from artists. You can learn so much about different artists and how they work. This makes it the perfect place to start or add to a growing art collection.