It is always good to have a bit of background knowledge about artists and their artwork, so we interviewed one of our invited artists Rod McIntosh.
His current work as a mark-maker lies within the tradition of drawing. With his body, the breath along with materials, and repetitive often-obsessive processes, focuses an attention to the present. Observing and recording the moment of creation within a continuum.
How do you prepare to make your pieces?
I have several creative and well being rituals that enable me to arrive at the studio in a ready and prepared state. These may ben seen as unrelated to the act of art making, but without them the work and my connection to it and the flow can be a struggle. I like to run, meditate and practice yoga developing an awareness to the breath and its embodiment. When in the studio I often arrive with laying out a table top of paper and committing to repeating an enso or other brush strokes, like warming up the muscles for a performance. Many of my artworks involve quite lengthy preparatory processes that too I see as part of the making and investing into the artwork.
Can you explain the process of your artwork?
My work are abstract ink paintings that through rehearsal and registering the brushstroke, body and breath to muscle memory I commit to capturing the action by the record of ink passing over and becoming locked within the paper. The repetition I consider is a process of ‘rehearsing for spontaneity’ or through the pursuit of perfection one achieves acceptance in a balance of intention, process and outcome.
What or who is your biggest inspiration in your practice?
I see inspiration in the mundane and extraordinary. Much of which brings my attention to the present, our connectedness and a quality of being within our bodies that seemingly slows time. This can be the sunlight cast over the wrapped bales of hay as I walk through the village, spotting a circle on a derelict wall created by loose hanging wires or by challenging myself physically and trekking up a mountain.
Artists I admire come from a vast pool as well from the abstract expressionists of post war America and Japan to contemporaries I show with. A hero of mine is Fabienne Verdier
What is the significance of the circle in your work?
Enso is the Zen Bhuddist practice of drawing a circle with a single or two part uninhibited brushstroke to express a moment in time. That for the artist is when their mind is free to simply let themselves create through the physical body. For me the enso is a manifestation of the moment. It is important to me to maintain as a meditative discipline. Cultivating mindfulness and living in the present. You can read a full interview with me about the circle and mindfulness here.
What has been your most memorable moment of your artistic career to date?
Quite recently, coming back from attending the vernissage/Private View to you and me of a show that I am in over there and realising that I was showing in Paris, returning to my studio in Kent to prepare for an art fair in London and one in Brussels within two weeks. Sitting still on a moving train reminded me of a goal I had set myself less than 2 years ago, which was to explore european and international opportunities.
What would consider the biggest hurdle for an artist nowadays?
One that is timeless but finding your authentic voice. Not compromising on why you need to make the art you do and having the confidence in that there will be people that connect with it. And then finding ways to get to them and them to find you.
Lastly – what is your biggest realistic or unrealistic artistic dream?
I still hold an ambition for a big solo show. I would love the opportunity to work with a space that would give me the opportunity to develop a body of work that is installed within and through a space.