If you watched ITV's behind-the-scenes documentary, The Savoy, (available on ITVX), you may have spotted the work of our very own Stuart McAlpine Miller adorning the walls of London's most iconic hotel. We caught up with the Scottish artist to find out what he'd been up to during the COVID-19 pandemic, including his Lost Lives//Split Personalities collection (which you can explore virtually here).
How has your experience of the COVID-19 crisis been?
Lockdown came to us all rather suddenly. The life we all knew was suddenly upturned and reduced to something that we didn’t recognise. Fortunately, I was able to spend four months with my close family, which would never have happened under normal circumstances. It was also a time to reflect and try to make sense of everything up until this point. Simple things had greater meaning, and family time sparked interesting ideas through discussion. In all, it has been a time that will never be forgotten.
Have you been able to use your time in a creative way?
I’ve had time to reflect without the immediate pressure to physically produce works. It’s been an opportunity to consider ideas in relation to the current events and circumstances in which we all found ourselves. My ideas tend to have a greater impact after the event, when I have had chance to digest and understand the impact of the situation.
Do you think this time will affect your art?
It has definitely made me reflect on the nature of my work. My paintings have always suggested social commentary, and now, more than ever, society has altered its natural path in a way that
might never return to where we left off. This exercise in habit-forming and the changes in how we now exist will contribute to new ideas and works.
How does this link to your current collection?
These works have similar undertones that suggest changes in human behaviour. As we learn to adapt to new situations, we take on a different persona as a coping mechanism. Lost Lives//Split Personalities reveals the alter ego and the complexity of the human mind. Lockdown and the COVID-19 virus have revealed another side to our nature, and it’s one that can deal with whatever situation may arise.
What effect do you think this time will have on the wider artistic and creative community?
Life has a way of throwing a curveball at the most unexpected of times. For creatives, this situation should provide a great opportunity to thrive and develop interesting and exciting ideas. Without challenge, we can easily rest on our laurels, but with it we can reach a far greater and more rewarding future.
02/01/2020Inspired by the groundbreaking collection from Pop Art pioneer James Francis Gill, we're exploring the genre, which launched the careers of artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
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