Dalston Superstore and ARTHOLE LONDON are thrilled to present ‘If I Paint You Enough Will You Stay’, the debut exhibition of London-based painter Matt Dickson. We sat down to find out about what inspires his beautiful, melancholy work.
Who are you and what medium do you work in?
I’m Matt Dickson and I am a painter.
Who was the first artist who mesmerised you when you were young and what work specifically caught your eye?
I remember seeing Warhol portraits in an art book when I was young and thinking they were the greatest thing I’d ever seen. I always preferred the ones of Elizabeth Taylor to the Marilyn. All the black hair and dark features, then all this bright colour. So quick and simple to take in. I think about that a lot when I’m working. I’d like my portraits to be that instant.
What training have you received in your chosen medium, if any?
Well I didn’t go to uni and I had always regretted that. I think maybe I would have more of a sense of what I’m doing, but I’m kind of over it now. I like that I’m developing my skills as a painter while I’m making stuff that feels really important to me. My style has grown a lot in the last two years. I try and paint every day, even if it doesn’t amount to anything, just as an exercise.
What’s your favourite piece of your work in exhibition with ArtHole?
I’m proud of ‘Dreaming.’ I like the shapes in it. I really love ‘Bathroom Selfie 2″. That’s one that I always come back to if ever I’m a bit lost or uninspired. It’s literally a picture of myself crying on the bathroom floor. It turned out exactly how I wanted it to in my head.
What would you change about the current art world?
I don’t really know anything of the art world. This is a very small operation. I’m just painting in my bedroom. This is all really new to me. I’m sure I’m about to come across a thousand hurdles but you can’t just relax all day and reap rewards. I’m willing to work hard.
What do you aspire to?
I just want to keep painting and make more work that’s important to me. Now that I’m starting to show my work in public spaces, people are reacting to it and I’m having to think about who it’s for and what the work is saying to people. I don’t want to let that influence what I paint. It’s not really for anyone else. It’s a way for me to work through things and understand myself and the people in my life better. I make paintings for the man I love so that he feels loved.
I’d also like to continue to explore self portraits. It’s where we’re at right now as a culture. Creating these micro versions of ourselves and our lives that fit onto this tiny screen. I’m interested in what that does to your self and who you think you are. I get more out of painting myself than posting a selfie. Although I’m not sure which one is more narcissistic?
What music do you make your art to?
I always have Jasmine Sullivan’s ‘Reality Show’ album on repeat. It’s good for feeling heartbroken or pissed to. Oh and her song ‘In Love With Another Man‘, I’ll play that 40 times in a row, singing at the top of my lungs while I paint. I need dramatic pop songs about love when I work. It’s more singing than painting most of the time to be honest.
Describe your working process for us?
I usually start with a title or just bits of writing. Then images in my head will form from that.
I use a lot of photos from my phone as well. I recreate a lot of photographs. Adding or lifting the colour up. Then with your own hand you can manipulate the image and make it something else. It’s the same with the title. For me it’s half the painting.
What was the last thing that moved you to tears?
I’ve been riding around on my bike listening to the Bjork album Vulnicura just sobbing. It rips my soul apart. Having emotional meltdowns at the traffic lights.
Catch Matt Dickson’s If I Paint You Enough Will You Stay at Dalston Superstore until early December.