Abstract Critical

In the studio with… Vincent Hawkins

Continuing our series ‘In the studio with…’ Vincent Hawkins shows us around his studio, looking at his recent paintings on cardboard and oval-shaped supports.

  1. jon saunders said…

    just so insightful , amazing and true. This is why I like art why I want to create myself. unpretentious , funny at times yet profound and beautiful.

  2. Rick Cimball said…

    As one who has pursued art for many years with a few distractions along the way. I find Vincent Hawkins approach to his art refreshing and inspirational. Allowing yourself to be less precious about art is very noble indeed. I look forward to seeing more of his free spirited works.

  3. Terry Greene said…

    The vdeo conveys just what a jolly nice fella Vincent is and provides many insights into his beautifully achieved work.

  4. Ian David Baker said…

    very interesting interview, I’d like to see more of the drawings developed further. I love nosing around other people’s studios too. I was also drawn to the nice colourful scarf too.
    On the Guardian website there is a good short about Sean Scully.
    Ian

  5. Martin De Sey said…

    Fascinating interview Vince – great to see you pursuing your work with such vigour and yet also with such FUN! Who said that art of any worth can only be arrived at by a process of self-torture? Keep on keeping on – the process is as important as the ‘finished’ piece, sometimes more so.

  6. stuart said…

    great interview.
    it seems at 15:04 that a Munchian reflex signals the inner artist’s desire to engage with his work and stop the chat…
    i really get the giggle factor Vince – it’s been a topic of a few conversations of late – that moment when the work becomes ‘other’ to the artist; its complete, birthed, whatever and you can start to really appreciate it. i feel a sort of dislocation and enjoyment that is somehow not connected to the fact that i created the work. that’s Art, baby!
    cheers,
    stuart

    • john holland said…

      I’ve just watched the film without any sound (due to a hopeless computer), and most of it is two talking heads- not many long shots of individual works. This gives the impression, unfairly maybe, that the paintings are not serious enough to be given the time and space to study them in detail, as Sam suggests.
      After a little while, we know what the artist and the interviewer look like, and so I think most of the film could be devoted to the work itself while we listen to them talk.

      • Penny said…

        Thanks for your comment John. Within these films we try to show artists’ working practice as well as the work. They have proved to be really popular. When we are just talking about the work then we could of course just produce an audio file over some images which is not really what we are trying to achieve in this instance but will take your idea on board. Are there any artists that you would like to see on film or audio+images on the site?

  7. wilma vissers said…

    hello vincent
    i really liked the intervieuw and i have to think about the giggle factor a lot. i have something similar in my art.
    i liked the down to earth approach of what you said and showed. only the images stopped half way through but the sound played on
    have a good day
    wilma

  8. melanie miller said…

    Very interesting, to be able to look into a mirror and see whats in someone else’s mind.

  9. Melanie Sowell said…

    I am in complete awe of you. And so very proud. Well done, you! So excited to see your work in the Big Apple in June!!!

  10. Seamus Green said…

    I completely disagree Sam, I don’t think there is anything ‘bumbling and fumbling’ about Vincent’s work, I think this interview reflects the opposite. It is clear in his work that he is mining his way through a path of enquiry that he obviously has belief in. I don’t think there is anything more urgent than the way in which he makes his work, by thrashing out these moments (refering to the small oval works) he creates images that continuously challenges his own output – almost as if he is chasing something that is always formed one step ahead of his conscious decisions. In that sense they feel pure, weighty, honest and insightful – free from frills or make-up. I think he hits the nail on the head so many times in his works, but he also fails many times as well, surely this can’t be ‘bumbling and fumbling’, it is more of a very rich natural searching for that moment when everything clicks – isn’t that what every great painter does?

    PS I don’t think at any point in the interview or in his work does he claim that his practice has to measure up to some preordained standard that makes it valid or worthwhile – that is what makes it so refreshing

    • Sam Cornish said…

      Hi Seamus, Thanks for responding to my slightly bad-tempered comment. I suppose there is quite a lot of subjectivism here but I really don’t see the moments when he hits it on the head or it clicks into place – though I would be interested to see where you think they come (I’m trying to make that not too much like a challenge).

      I agree that it can be a good thing for art to avoid pre-established standards; or at least it seems like a good thing for art to make its own standards (but in reverse good art can keep to past standards; bad art can ignore the past, and is often bad because of that). Perhaps the problem is that I don’t see him making his own standards. This is sort of what I meant by ‘bumbling and fumbling’ – to me there seems a lot of seeking but very little finding (you, it would seem, disagree). And even that his seeking seems based on never really finding, so that there is nothing for the seeking to push against, so it just continues on its merry way (this is something of what I meant by urgency but I also felt his line and his blobs were themselves not urgent, a kind of vague filling up of the canvas or cardboard).

      All those ovals on the wall seem examples of ‘creativity’, but isolate one and what do you get? It seems to me not very much – the one picked up off the floor seems pretty much the same as those that had survived. The same goes for those ‘off the frame’ cardboard pieces. It is interesting that though they were spoken about as moving beyond the frame they gained (at least a little) visual strength when they were ‘framed’ by the camera-man as still-shots.

      I probably could go on, but perhaps best to leave it over to you for now…

      • Seamus Green said…

        Hi Sam, I’ll try to start by responding to where I think Vincent hits it on the head or clicks into place – in quite simple terms I’m really interested in the way it feels like he has these tools (certain lines, similar forms, a definite palate) which are always prevalent within the work but why does one image strike a chord yet another doesn’t – for me it is a deeper feeling than I can articulate in words, but I feel the ones that hit home are the works that I look at and think I should of made that – every decision I would of made, every mark and colour is just as I would of used. Something resonates for me in his approach to paintings, I thought it was really interesting that his paintings feel much more like drawings, but his drawings on paper were actually more controlled, as if he is precious with them – they felt governed by decisions. It tends to be the opposite way round and I think his paintings flourish for this reason, he approaches them with a sense of searching without constraint, freedom and of course a very playful nature. I loved how he described starting with ‘doubt and uncertainty’ but I also think they finish in that state, I see his works as by-products of this journey that he (for me) is clearly engaging in and so when I look at his work I get a sense of looking at a brief glimpse of his creative deposits before he moves onto the next.

        I think every painter is searching but I don’t think they are searching to find anything any thing in particular, so I guess in response to your thoughts about him not getting to a conclusion I would have to say well yes, but who does get to a conclusion? What is so refreshing about his work is it doesn’t feel like he is at all worried about a commercial venture or pleasing a gallerist because that style is selling, his practice seems pure from these concerns and that makes it very exciting to see this raw output.

        Finally I just want to say that something you said in a previous discussion on abcrit, I think it was on the lines of maybe painting might develop through a break down of boundaries where the painter feels no differentiation between standards, traditions,abstraction, figuration etc (correct me if I’m wrong and you didnt mean this) I do think Vincent may not be a revolutionary maker of new standards but I do certainly feel like he reacts against concerns that he has with abstract painting and in his own way breaks from them.

        It is good to talk about these things and I do agree with some of the views you’ve put across, but as you’ve pointed out there is a lot of subjectivity.

  11. Sam Cornish said…

    I agree this was a very well conducted interview, and Vincent himself seems to be a very nice guy, and speaks well about his work. The problem as I see it is the complete lack of challenge in the work itself, in which experiment in abstraction becomes a kind of bumbling and fumbling around. This is perhaps encouraging to some practitioners, but, though the many BTL commentators here would seem to disagree, I can’t bring myself to see bumbling and fumbling as positive qualities. To me this seems closer to a kind of free-form approach to craft, something without any real urgency. As with much contemporary abstraction visual strength or resolution (which does not have to involve over-powering might) is replaced by giving the work a kind of personality by leaving everything a bit on the wonk. See for instance Angela de la Cruz.

    • Katrin Mäurich said…

      Sam, Seamus, I wonder what you both mean by “urgency”. Are you looking for the artist’s urgent enquiry to actually manifest itself in the work? In an expressionist sense?
      Personally I think that Mr Hawkins’ sensitive and playful approach of “touch and see” seems to open up some very interesting avenues which he is then able to explore expertly, relying on skills gained through many years of experience and practice (or call it intuition if you prefer) – it’s a flexible strategy of setting things up and keeping them moving until something useful emerges that can be developed. And sometimes it’s about holding still and waiting, seeing. Bit like hunting…

      • Sam Cornish said…

        I suspect that Seamus and I mean very different things by urgency. (and Seamus is just responding to my use of it). Perhaps it is an unfortunate choice of word – I don’t think I am looking for expressionism, at least not consciously so, though admittedly many of the painters I like are expressionist. I suppose I am just saying (but maybe this is not saying very much) that for me there never seems to be any compelling resolution, no bit looks like it couldn’t just be moved a little bit here or a little bit there, everything is muted or scuffed up (and maybe this is a kind of expressionism, but simply a meek kind), so that each line, mark etc can just vaguely sit in its place.

        Perhaps definite is a better word than urgent here. It seems to me that in this case the conditions of flexibility, touching and seeing, etc. are based upon never really coming to any particular conclusion. The avenues remain open but, for me, none look particularly worth going down. Here I would disagree with Seamus, to me it seems like you can have experiment and resolution, that good painters do come to conclusions, and that in some sense it is this conclusion, even if temporary, that makes paintings compelling.

        It’s possible this is all circular and I’m not saying anything more useful than I just don’t like it – I’m really not sure…

      • Seamus Green said…

        I suppose it is wrong for me to say that there are no conclusions in painting because of course there are, however I think I meant there is a difference between a viewers conclusions and a painters. In regards to a painter’s conclusions maybe it might feel like a dead-end in their practice, a place where success can be complacently repeated until it dies. I find one of the most compelling parts of painting to be the painters struggle to keep pushing on. Sorry that’s my 2 pence worth, I’ve enjoyed reading everyones responses and it is interesting to see your uncertainties about the work Sam.

  12. F.Brickhouse said…

    What an exciting studio, I kept wanting to rewind and see a work glimpsed in the corner of the frame.

  13. Ann Knickerbocker said…

    I really enjoyed watching this … interviewer and painter so closely caught up in the work… it’s a very HAPPY interview, love that the “giggle factor” means a work is finished… lovely insights, great questions, great work. Thank you!

  14. gary evans said…

    what a generous and insightful artist, thanks another great feature

  15. Ravenna Taylor said…

    What a wonderful interview — the quality of thought in both the questions and the answers makes for an experience as stimulating as the work under discussion! Thank you.

  16. Margaret Murphy-Reed said…

    I so admire the ARTiculate charmed honesty of Hawkins’ discussion of his work and method of discovery. Enchanted by the “giggle factor”.

  17. Untitled said…

    Great work real good to see inside the artists space and thoughts.

  18. Paul Behnke said…

    Great painting! And such articulate and insightful comments.
    Thanks Vincent and Abstract Critical!

  19. David T Miler said…

    Congratulations Vincent! As always, you are da Man!

  20. Keith Murdoch said…

    A really nice interview. Nothing gives a deeper insight into an artist’s practice than seeing him/her in their studio. Vincent’s dedication to his vision coupled with his humility, is inspiring and motivational.

  21. adam orla-bukowski said…

    absolutely inspiring! thank you for sharing such great work, and wonderful conversation! the work truly is deep, whimsical, and so approachable in all the various mediums.

  22. Inga said…

    brilliant – best artist interview ever! Thanks Vincent for your generous insights into your work and the wider world of abstraction.

  23. julie torres said…

    Wonderful, Vincent!!! Great to hear you discuss your work and so rewarding to see so much of it! Such a good interview. Congrats!

  24. Eve Campbell said…

    Vincent, thank you for sharing your studio and some of the work that is new and being able to see older pieces I recognise now. There is so much that you are able to pull out of simple marks and lines, and you keep it fresh and simple. Its great to hear you talk about your work. I love the giggle factor too. good luck with showing your work this year – !

  25. Douglas Florian said…

    Quite intriguing!

  26. Rosalyn Schwartz said…

    …wonderful, beautiful, fragile, charming, rococo-esque, delectable, ethereal, “giggle-y,” plentiful, slyly absorbing, poetic, sad, i want one. Thanks Vincent and abstractcritical.com for providing such, dare I say, pleasure.

  27. katrin maeurch said…

    thanks very much for this series – so insightful, so generous. hope to be able to see Vincent Hawkins’ paintings in an exhibition soon.

  28. Seamus Green said…

    Such a rich, playful and honest engagement in painting. I really admire Vincents work!