Inside the Studio

Wayne Mok

Favorite material to work with?
Oil and acrylic paints- their materiality extends beyond the simple fact of physical matter. The process of their applications can impact the content and meaning of the work.

What themes do you pursue?
I work in short series of paintings and though stylistically different, there is an underlying theme of desire and longing. My work is inspired by the motivation to create objects that reflect a certain truth, harmony or beauty, with evocation of the work of others being a part of my desire to possess. This craving for pleasure and possession is, for me, as much about spiritual interest as it is about human nature, with the struggle to square desire with fulfillment, both physical and spiritual, being at the core of artistic endeavor, faith and philosophy.

How many years as an artist?
Around 10 years. My first degree was in Mathematics and Statistics and I worked in finance for a few years before pursuing art as a career.

Where is your studio?
In a building of studio spaces in central London. Painting can be a solitary pursuit so it is good to be surrounded by other artists and creatives.

Art school or self-taught?
I studied at the California College of Arts, which is a wonderful school, as well as the San Francisco Art Institute.

Prefer to work with music or in silence?
In silence. I think I wouldn’t hear the music even if it was on.

What’s around the corner from your place?
A second car dealership and a huge recycling plant.

Where can we find you outside the studio?
In a dance studio- I started ballroom dancing a few years ago and now I’m hooked!
Rumba and Tango…

If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you do?
I would have liked to be a dancer.

What do you collect?
Artist monographs and catalogues. Learning about other people’s work is a great motivator for my own. I also have a huge library of disco songs from the 70’s– their emotive sense of lust, love and longing, often melancholic but still upbeat enough to simultaneously dance and cry to, is inspiring.

Favorite contemporary artist?
There are so many that I admire but I will pick Amy Sillman and Cecily Brown.

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?
Two Pianos by Joan Mitchell.

Use anything other than paint?
I have experimented with some collage elements in my paintings- found photos and used paper palettes.

Is painting dead?
This is like asking “Is Art dead?” The answer is “No”.

Favorite brush?
An Ikea paintbrush.