Meet the Others: Allan Watson
The Game Changers. The Rule Breakers. The Innovators. Discover some of the fantastic emerging talent showcasing their work at The Other Art Fair.
The Other Art Fair London exhibitor Allan Watson is influenced by both the old masters of the past and the vibrancy of the pop art culture. His work tries to create something contemporary and often with a humorous twist.
Tell us about who you are and what you do. What is your background?
I am a London based self-taught artist working mainly with digital and screen-printing techniques. My work often includes darkly humorous elements that draw directly from my Scottish routes.
My journey to becoming an artist is a bit of an unconventional one having turned down a place at a top UK art school to pursue a career in the corporate world. With a successful career behind me I have now returned to my original passion but continue to split my time been corporate and art worlds as this gives me the freedom to explore what I want to do and draw inspiration from multiple sources.
If you could describe your work in 3 words, what would they be?
Irreverent – Cathartic – Humorous
How did you first get interested in your mediums and what draws you to them specifically?
I have always liked combining traditional with contemporary. There is something about the juxtaposition between the two that can enhance each other in a subtle and less obvious way, which I try to bring into my work.
Although the focal point of my work are the words and phrases, I want to present them in softer and more approachable format. I ultimately want to make the viewer smile and I think using distressed gold leaf on top of a very traditional and formal image offsets perfectly with the more irreverent text.
Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork finished?
My work generally starts as a reaction to something I have heard. A common phrase or saying, something in the news, or more often than not while sitting in a never-ending business meeting. I am always scribbling down thoughts and ideas whenever they pop into my head to develop further once I am back in my workspace.
I particularly like twisting common phrases to give them a new meaning or to use them in an unconventional way. The scale, positioning and flow of the text has a big impact on the overall look of the work, as well as how it fits with the background image, and will normally work through several iterations before landing on a final version.
Has being in isolation affected your artwork practice in any way?
The temporary closure of galleries and cancellation of fairs has obviously limited the ability to interact with potential collectors and other artists. On a more positive note however it has forced me to become a lot more resourceful such as setting up a mini studio at home and working out how to screen print on my kitchen floor.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
Applying gold leaf is not an exact science, at least not the way I do it, which means each print has a degree of variation. A fellow printmaker once described this simply as ‘hand of the artist’ and that the variation made each one unique. As a life-long perfectionist this was completely liberating, and I now love all the little unplanned flecks of gold and marks that give each print its own character.
Shop artwork by Allan and other trailblazing artists at The Other Art Fair’s Online Studios.
Introducing The Other Art Fair Online Studios, a new online platform offering art lovers around the world access to over 800 Fair artists. The Online Studios will keep our community feeling inspired, engaged, and continue to spread joy through art.