Vol.117_George Rouy

George Rouy
from London, United Kingdom.

Interviewed by Yi Jihyun


When did you start painting? Do you remember the moment you decided to be an artist?

I have always been creative and gained positive energy from making things. I remember going to lots of big museums in London with my dad and feeling inspired by all the huge paintings by Tuner, Michelangelo etc. During the same time my nan had given me a really old oil set so I think that sparked my love for painting. That was the moment it clicked for me.


According to interviews, you consider right balance very important when you draw. I think right balance is about knowing when/where to stop. What kind of efforts can be made to develop that sense? How do you decide when to stop?

I think its all about instinct and discipline which I gained through just relentlessly making lots of paintings and drawings. Through experience I have learnt trust myself to make the right decisions within a painting. This intuition helps me judge the balance of a painting, which has a huge part to play in the whole feel of a work.


You usually draw acrylic painting. In Korean art scene, quite many people tend to think that if you are professional painter, you should draw oil painting. What about in London and what prompted you to use acrylic paint?

I think that idea has been gone for a while in London as the art school approach to painting is very open. There are loads of great British contemporary painters that don’t use oil and I’m not sure if there is such thing as a professional painter.

My thoughts are that oil is a beautiful medium and I indulge in a good oil painting. The surface and textures you gain cannot be created by any other medium. Originally I was painting in oil but decided I wanted a softer, chalky matte finish so moved to acrylic. There are other benefits like such as faster drying time and less toxic.

However, I do have dreams where I am painting really thick oil paintings, in the near future I will make a series of oil paintings but will cover a new territory’s that my acrylic paintings cant.


Can you describe your creative process? Do you sketch first?

I draw on the computer with a mouse. I find this restricts my movement and breaks drawing habits. I then project the line and start to map out the painting. I then work with one colour at a time to build the image.


What makes you keep drawing?

I always draw in-between painting, as it’s a quick way of getting ideas out. 


Do you think explanation is needed for a painting?

There has to be an awareness of the context in which I make my work. I think that awareness stretches to all aspects of my life. My positioning as an individual and to then how I place myself as an artist. I normally work on a large series at a time and respond to many aspects of my surrounding though that process. It accumulates from political, social or spiritual responses that are always personal and portrayed with ambiguity. Again its process I go through rather than a concept.

Going back to what I was saying earlier about: intuition I feel some aspects of my practice should be fuelled by my desire to maintain a creative flow but paired with awareness for context.

So I feel this same process should be applied to discovering how my work sits in the world. Its abit of both, some parts need put in to context and other left for the viewers own interpretation as ultimately once a painting is on a wall or image is buzzed around the internet I stands alone.


When does a work of art become important in your opinion? Do you need external confirmation, or is it something explicitly personal?

In my own practice I cant judge what’s is and isn’t important. I have personal attachment to certain paintings but that’s as far as it goes. I would say on a external point of view its always mixed however there is always that collective judgement of what work stand out and its normally inline with my opinion. Validity is a tricky one because I try to not let external confirmation fog my judgement. If I’m feeling excited about how a series is going it is normally the same for the viewer.


How do you think about art academia? Is there anything that sticks with you or you’ve thrown out a lot of advice of tutors as your practice has developed?

I would say I gained a maturity and critical discipline through the process of art school. This wasn’t taught however, more of a by-product of how the art school education is structured in London. A lot of questions get asked over the three years from tutors and your colleagues and apart from that I spend the rest of the time on my own reflecting. Going though this almost trained have a critical awareness challenging myself when making work now. 

One thing that has stuck with me is a teacher at school explained an abstract way to thinking about mixing paint. He said its like DNA and every colour particle has a place. So when mixing green with a small bit of pink will resonate with a blue with abit of the same pink and green. I’m not sure how true this is but its something I think about when mixing colour now, worked so far!


You’ve been showcasing your work as instagram. How do you find the platforms help in putting your works out there? And what’s your attitude towards social media?

Instagram has been a great tool in promoting my work and I cant really says anything bad about it. I love looking at other artist work on there and its great because when I log in all I can see is art posted in real time, its endless. Its interesting to see how styles, fashion responses come in waves and I really feel a lot of artist that promote themselves on Instgram are bouncing off each other in some crazy worldwide force.

What I would mention is that it’s important that it doesn’t become the end point. It’s too easy to post a work and never exhibit it, it should be an addition to your practice. The external confirmation such as the ‘like’ could also fog or influence how you judge the response to the work your making. Separation is key!

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