Could you present yourself and your artistic singularity?
Most of my childhood holidays were spent exploring the wastelands, and edgelands of a small coastal town stretching beyond the promenade, beach and golf course into a wilderness landscape. Love of that landscape – abandoned containers, gasometers and concrete detritus – forms the language of much of my recent work.
In The Road Trip Series I have set out to investigate how and why we travel the landscape: through cities and suburbs; retail parks and parking lots; edgelands and endless motorways. These paintings represent snapshots of journeys across such landscapes by car, bicycle or bus; journeys that criss-cross the land and our daily lives, which we absorb, acknowledge or ignore.
In your work you focus on our environmental footprint – how do you do this, what do you want to tell the viewer?
I think you’ll find that all artists with a strong practice are reflecing something of their contemporary culture, their worlds. The work does not have to be overtly political or figurative to reach out to people, to touch them and to raise important questions. Take for example Edgelands, a group exhibition I recently curated, where the work of contemporary artists was bound up with understanding the wastelands and edgelands that surround us. Whether we are city dwellers or rural inhabitants it is important that we engage with and make known how we are understanding our landscape and how much of it is forgotten, ignored and laid to waste.
You use oil paint for your works: has your style and technique changed throughout your artistic career?
My earliest childhood memories are of scribbling into an unused baby book. At the top of each pink page were cherubs drawn in a grey ink and below, where little locks of hair and photographs of baby’s first steps should have been recorded, I copied and copied these beautiful cherubs. I don’t know where the book is now; it would be fun to find it.
I work largely in oils on canvas altough for quick work and shifting through ideas I often turn to drawing and collage work.
Over the past 15 years I have found that my work has moved from being purely abstract (The Compass Series) to grappling with some form of figuration. I think nowadays (The Road Trip Series) it rests somewhere on the axis of figuration and abstraction and seesaws back and forth depending on my mood and the particular series that I am working on.
How would you describe the recent British artistic scene?
As I live in London I think most people know what is going on in the capital city. Many argue that more should be happening in the provinces but whilst the money making is weighted in the south, and particularly in London, then the provinces will always lose out. There is no doubt, however, that there is a lot of great art happening in publicly-funded gallery and museum spaces up and down the country and whilst the UK government had cut back on arts funding I find there is a real buzz and energy amongst artists to make things happen.
What have been the highlights of your artistic career?
Obviously it was very exciting to be commissioned by the Cultural Olympiad to create giant hoardings for Weymouth Railway Station for the 2012 Olympics and I am so pleased that Dorchester Hospital has chosen to site them now at the entrance to the hospital. More recently, to have been part of a China touring exhibition, 80 British Masters, throughout 2017 was a real privilege.
Day Bowman on Singulart: https://www.singulart.com/en/artist/day-bowman-414