We interview artist Martin Wittfooth about his art, instagram and the upcoming show at UNIT London @Paintguide

Henrik Uldalen who runs @Paintguide, the successful instagram feed which he has meticulously curated over the past year (which promotes the work of emerging international artists) has this month teamed up with London gallery UNIT London to bring 60 of these artists (predominately painters) to a gallery setting.

Over the next few weeks FAD will be interviewing 6 of the artists from the exhibition the second artist in the series is Martin Wittfooth.

Martin Wittfooth, Loot Bag, 2013, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches
Martin Wittfooth, Loot Bag, 2013, oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

1 How has Instagram & social media in general impacted on your art practice?
Social media allows me to get news about my work (exhibition announcements, press releases, recent press etc.) out to a large number of people very efficiently. It has proved extremely useful in letting interested parties know what I’ve been up to, and has allowed me to live the way that I really want to – in solitude and nature, a couple of hours from New York City, whilst still having my work seen by a broad audience. It’s still fun to drop in on exhibition openings in the city every so often, but I don’t feel that I absolutely have to be there anymore.

2 Can you tell us about your work and what are the main ideas you try and express.
My work mainly focuses on the disconnection between our species and the rest of the living world. I think that this disconnection is the greatest challenge of our time; we need to recognise this detachment and try to work our way back towards creating a healthy balance. Unless there’s a real shift in our consciousness it seems as though we will move further away from that possibility. My work has most recently focused on shamanism, and the renaissance of shamanic practices around the world as a means to strike up new, yet ancient, conversations with nature, and to create a deeper understanding of a perceivable notion of spirituality, something psychedelic thinker Terence McKenna liked to call “the felt presence of direct experience.”

Martin Wittfooth, Mother's Milk, 2015, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 38 x 38 inches
Martin Wittfooth, Mother’s Milk, 2015, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 38 x 38 inches

3 How do you decide what your next artwork/project will be and how do you know when it is finished?
A new project will often be a new series of works destined for a solo exhibition. There will be a theme uniting the works, which I tend to research through my own reading; I also listen to podcasts and write, which helps to provide an underlying premise to follow. Individual paintings in each series tend to blossom as I paint, and as I work on one piece the idea for one or two more comes to light.

4 Does your art look best on Instagram or in a gallery?
Definitely in person, in a gallery. Seeing a work on Instagram is like seeing a proverbial movie poster or movie trailer; it’s a teaser. That’s my personal opinion though; there might be someone out there who prefers to see my work in shrunken form!

Martin Wittfooth, Nocturne, 2013, oil on linen, 72 x 48 inches
Martin Wittfooth, Nocturne, 2013, oil on linen, 72 x 48 inches

5 How has it been working with Henrik Uldalen and @Paintguide?
It has been terrific, and I’m very grateful for it. The page gets a significant amount of attention and serves as a very supportive platform for everyone Henrik invites to participate.

6 Which artists would you recommend us following on Instagram and why?
Meghan Howland (@meghanhowland): she’s an extremely talented painter who creates a great balance between loose and tight techniques and compositions. Her use of colour and light is very inspiring as well. Oh and she’s also my girlfriend (but that has nothing to do with why she made it on this list!)

Christian Rex van Minnen (@van_minnen): Has a very funny feed, the best hashtags of all time, and makes incredibly interesting paintings.

Aron Wiesenfeld (@aronwiesenfeld): One of my very favourite contemporary artists, and a really nice guy too.

Robin F Williams (@robinfrancescawilliams): Her paintings and psychedelic colours are fantastic!

Martin Wittfooth, Nocturne V, 2015, oil on canvas, 78 x 84 inches
Nocturne V, 2015, oil on canvas, 78 x 84 inches

PAINTGUIDE runs 27th November – 23rd December 2015 at UNIT LONDON | 147-149 Wardour Street, London W1F 8WD theunitldn.com

Martin Wittfooth, Incantation (central panel of a collaborative triptych with artist Jean Labourdette), 2014, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 75 x 69 inches
Martin Wittfooth, Incantation (central panel of a collaborative triptych with artist Jean Labourdette), 2014, oil and gold leaf on canvas, 75 x 69 inches

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018