Interview with Andrew Litten

  • Andrew Litten, Liminal Stage, 2018, mixed media on paper, 70 x 100cm Andrew Litten, Liminal Stage, 2018, mixed media on paper, 70 x 100cm
  • This Review is dedicated to allowing our artists space to talk about what's inspiring them, the state of their practice, what they're up to, and so forth. I'll embed links and pictures relating what they talk about in each article.

    First up is Andrew Litten. I have described him before as a figurative painter of raw intensity, going on to say that he is a very good artist making fucking weird art.  What is he up to, listening to, thinking about? Let's see what he has to say.

     

    From the Artist's Mouth: Andrew Litten

     

    What have I been doing? You probably want to know about the art stuff first, so the main significant event is I am beginning to plan a solo exhibition with JD Malat. Obviously, this is extremely exciting for me and a big personal achievement. The show will be early next year.

     

    I have a title for the exhibition already, along with a strong sense of the contextualisation I want to achieve but need to run all this all past the gallery. There are bound to be lots of twist and turns in selecting work and developing new pieces. I have some paintings finished and ready to go but I really need to focus the content of the work I'm developing in my studio.

     

    Liminal Stage is a large new painting I have begun. JD Malat have a version of this on paper in the gallery now. The subject is one I really like; it sets up an identity play between two male figures of different generations. There is a switch between the figures - a pressure - which has yet to play out as I resolve this big new version. I'll see how it goes! I am wanting to represent a pressure exerted on the identity of the two figures. This has brought to my mind the kind of identity disturbance that I love seeing in David Lynch's films. Lynch is a master of portraying blurred identity and identity breakdown. He does this so powerfully with threat and anticipation. On the subject of David Lynch, I love the way he talks about his films.

     

  • Andrew Litten, Regenerate, 2020, oil on canvas, 220 x 170cm /220 x 120cm /220 x 170cm Andrew Litten, Regenerate, 2020, oil on canvas, 220 x 170cm /220 x 120cm /220 x 170cm
  • By next year, I want to try and finish a life size sculpture for this forthcoming exhibition. I suspect I will end up putting myself under pressure with this. I have it in my mind very clearly. I have begun. The materials are working so far but there is a lot to resolve.

     

    The continuing resurgence of Covid and the impact on society has brought new life to my last solo exhibition Concerning The Fragile which took place earlier this year at Anima Mundi in Cornwall.  These thoughts will be key to this new exhibition I am planning with JD Malat. I would like my big triptych ‘Regenerate’ to be included.

     

    I’m finding that the change in social interactions and fracturing of routines is surprisingly challenging for me. I am very routine driven. I normally don’t bother reading signs and have got away with this for decades. It’s a superficial problem, I know, but it is a problem as I constantly find myself pissing people off when I’m just minding my own business. One of my biggest comforts is my garden, and I am lucky to have this. The garden makes me feel good. I feel a good person when I’m gardening.

     

    I have been listening to an increasing number of podcasts. One I have returned to various times is part of Elizabeth Day’s How To Fail series with guest Alain De Botton. I highly recommend this, and I found it extremely moving and comforting. It prompted me to re-read his book The Consolations of Philosophy which I am halfway through.

     

    I was recently asked to mentor students at the Newly Art School in Cornwall. My friend and very good painter Jesse Leroy Smith is the course leader. This was new to me but exciting. As a largely self-taught artist it was odd to be teaching. In the end I felt it was ultimately more about connecting with people through their work and this approach was really rewarding.

     

    So, that’s what he’s up to! Links are embedded and picture descriptions are below.

     

    Pictures:

    Andrew Litten, Liminal Stage, 2018, mixed media on paper, 70 x 100cm

    Andrew Litten, Regenerate, 2020, oil on canvas, 220 x 170cm/220 x 120cm/220 x 170cm