Inspired by travel and dreamlike landscapes, Gareth Bunting shares his thoughts on winning this year's Signature Art Prize category for Drawing & Printmaking with his piece 'The Golden Circle', and where his travels will take him for his next dose of inspiration.
How does it feel to have won the Signature Art Prize for your category?
Fantastic it’s a great feeling. I was surprised to win because the other artists’ works were so brilliant. It’s a privilege to win such a great prize.
How do you feel the prize benefits up and coming artists?
It is often difficult for up and coming artists to get their work out there. The prize has given me the chance to reach an audience with my artwork. The gala was a great chance to network and talk to artists and make friends, and to discuss my work with people. The prize money will also go a long way and help me create more artwork, by partially funding an artist residency.
Why did you pick your entry piece? How do you feel it best showcases your abilities?
‘The Golden Circle’, I think is one of my favourite pieces. It was a kind of breakthrough piece for me because I found a certain style of drawing and a lot of strong ideas while creating it. I have made other pieces since then and continue the idea of using the landscape itself to tell a story of the things existing on it, by how they relate to one another along different lines. Each new piece follows on from the other as they reference each other in narrative. I still look back at ‘The Golden Circle’ and find new direction. It’s like the first chapter of my own world I have created so I wanted people to see that first.
How would you describe your signature style?
I would say my signature style comes from mixing the real with the unreal. My work often documents a period of time and connects with a place. I think that by working from a few photographs, sketches and memory, and allowing my imagination to interfere when memory fails, I can depict a very honest view of how a place exists in my mind. I also think that my dry brush technique and achieving a high level of detail by smudging the ink, and the dreamlike landscapes themselves are important to my signature style.
The Golden Circle By Gareth Bunting
Ink on Paper
150 x 295 x 0 cm
What's your process when you go about creating your work?
A big aspect of my work is the theme of travel. Before I created ‘The Golden Circle’, I went on a road trip around Iceland, took photographs, sketched a lot, and in a way mapped out areas in my mind as I travelled. I was very inspired by such an extreme and magical place and I tried to let my imagination run wild. When I start a piece I will have a very rough idea of what I want the image to look like. I will start at the beginning of the journey and begin to connect characters and objects along pathways. I see these lines as similar to panels from comic books in that they lead the eye of the viewer around the piece. I play with scale and distort the perspective of the landscape. A lot of time is spent actually just looking at the drawing, and working out how to compose it in a way that is accurate to how the place seemed to me at the time.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I primarily use ink and a small brush. It’s a simple and traditional medium but I find I can get a lot out of it. I like the boldness and the level of detail I can get with it. I draw using a kind of dry brush technique which means that I go through a lot of brushes, but I get a lot of contrast between the delicate light marks and the bold blackness of the ink. I also paint. I enjoy working in sketchbooks and I make a lot of digital drawings, which are entirely drawn from my imagination. They give me ideas, which feed into my ink drawings and compliment my practice on the whole.
What do you plan to do now?
Keep exhibiting and making work. At the moment I am working on a new series of smaller drawings, which focus on memory and place. Last summer I did two artists residency programs in Peru and Mexico, which greatly benefitted my work. A recurring theme in my practice is questioning what it means for me to be a western male artist in different parts of the world. So over the summer I will be travelling again. I am doing an artists residency in Vietnam, which should be a big source of inspiration and material for more large drawings and other pieces.
Gareth's award-winning sculpture will be on show at the Signature Art Prize exhibition from 30th March - 18th April.