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Artist Interview with Liam Fallon

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Artist
Artist Interview with Liam Fallon

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Please tell us a bit about yourself and your artwork?

I was born in Stoke On Trent but then moved away to Manchester where I stayed for nearly 9 years and then moved to London a few years ago. I think a lot of my identity in terms of my work and my personal identity was massively shaped by living in Manchester.

There were a lot of firsts there, but it was where I realized I wanted to be a sculptor. I moved there intending on being a painter and within the first week of university my entire plan shifted and haven’t painted anything since! I was reading a lot about queer culture as well as architecture and spatial architecture and from that, my practice began focusing extremely closely on that and has done ever since. Although the newer works that I’ve been making over the past 6 months have started to change a lot and more so focus on performative objects and objects that are imbued with a performative narrative.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How has your background shaped your artistic practice?

My dad is a builder, my uncle is a joiner, my grandad was a painter, and my grandma worked as a caster and sponger at Wedgewood in Stoke-on-Trent. Growing up surrounded by makers has undoubtedly influenced much of what I do. Nowadays, many artists are incorporating technology into their work. While this trend is exciting, it also creates a gap for those who want to maintain traditional making techniques.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How has your creative process changed over the years?

I would say that overtime its most definitely pinpointed a particular technique or a particular image that I’ve intended to convey. I was recently at a friend’s apartment who bought one my works about 4/5 years ago and it’s so strange to see them up close and to be able to inspect the way they were made- they seem worlds apart and admittedly I was a little embarrassed by it! Although I think it would be more worrying had there been no visible improvement. I also think that your creative process as an artist must change quite regularly if considering rate of production for shows.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How has your artwork evolved since you first started making art?

I was only discussing this a few weeks ago. The big change in my work is based around objects and our understanding to them. I was originally pairing objects together that would begin to dance together and tell a story- typically that of a love story. However, as time has gone on, I’ve become a lot more fascinated in the mundane and the overlooked and how, through various processes, they can become revalued and exalted and suddenly become this protagonist figure in an exhibition setting.

I think by doing this it becomes a process of re-defining objects and the rolls they take.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What inspired you to become an artist?

At school, art was something that I always had an affinity for as well as other creative subjects, languages too, but being from Stoke I was always pushed in the direction of doing something more academic that would guarantee myself a ‘normal’ job which was safe and would earn me money. It was much easier for me to express my opinion or belief about something through art than it was to verbally express it and I really wanted to just run with that. As an artist you can take something which is typically the most mundane of things through the eyes of someone else, but can shine a light on something which kind of opens up a world of possibilities and that is something that really inspired me.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Are there any particular artists or movements that have greatly influenced your work? In what way?

Yes definitely, although my inspiration for things comes from a slightly different place. Artists such as Robert Gober, Phillip King, Alex Da Corte, Cosima Von Bonin to name a few (and to name a few of the books currently staring at me on my desk...). However one of the biggest fascinations that I have is around sociology and spatial architecture. Things that question the way that space is created, how and who uses it and how we define and identify space and what those identifiers are and what they could be.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: How do you select your themes?

I think a lot of the themes in my work are inspired by my own experiences and the relationships that I have with them and what can come from that. I’m a strong believer in not forcing something and allowing something to come to you organically and when I do come across something which catches my eye then I have the tendency to obsess over it almost like cathexis. I found that word a few years ago which means the concentration of mental energy on one particular person, idea, or object (especially to an unhealthy degree).

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Can you tell us a bit about a few specific pieces you have created that you are particularly proud of?

Its actually one of the works that I just finished but I’m even more excited about the works that I’m about to make. I started a residency in January at the Florence Trust in Angel which is in a huge church that has been turned into studios and a gallery. I’m there for the next year and my plan is to just concentrate on shifting and refining things. I had to dig up my very limited GCSE maths again and start using Pi and circumference to work out how on earth to make a cast of a great big spiral which has worked and is currently sat in the corner of my studio.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What has been the most rewarding part of your career as a studio artist?

Well to be able to maintain it as a career for me is something I never expected to happen and so I never want to take that for granted. One of the things I love the most though is being able to show the work around the world and the relationships you make by doing so.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What is your favourite medium to work with? Please tell us a bit about how the medium influences or supports the ideas behind your work

The medium I work with frequently is jesmonite. It was a produced in the 80’s as an alternative to polyester resin which is toxic and very hard to work with. Jesmonite works very similar to plaster but has a plastic polymer in it which enables you to work relatively thinly on a large scale. It’s a really versatile material in terms of what I can use it for or how I use it but generally, it works amazingly in being able to imitate other materials. Due to the way that the moulds are made and then the post production with finishing the cast, I can manipulate it to a point where it appears as a brick wall or a piece of tree bark or a branch etc.

There's a certain level of visual trickery that I want to try to maintain.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What has been the most memorable artwork you have created? What makes this piece memorable?

I’ve made quite a few which I think are really memorable and that’s because they’ve all seemed like the starting points of something new. The departure from one place and the arrival to a new one. I had a group show in New York at Arsenal Contemporary last November which was curated by Oli Epp and Mollie Barnes and it was one of those works which for me opened a completely new door. I’ve been drawing and figuring things out pretty non stop since then.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What was the most challenging piece you have ever created? How much do you think the effort you put into creating a work is important vs the idea behind it?

I think the hardest thing that I’ve made was the work ‘Core Strength’. I was invited by Carl Kostyal to take part in his group show ‘Stockholm Sessions’ and I had recently read a book about architectonics and wanted to make this large wall sculpture that was made up of architectural tropes but was reminiscent of the human form. I had made this huge mould and was using a technique that building restorers use, and I was completely out of my comfort zone. Then to make it harder I had to figure out how to have a cast of my belly button in the surface, so it took a lot of thinking and a process in my mind of thinking and figuring it out backwards, almost going through the process of making it before it had been put together. From that point I think I realized that if you can visualize it and go through the process of making it in your head/on software or drawing it, then the chances are, it can be done.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Tell us about the particular materials or techniques you use to create your artwork and how they influence your work and practice?

Casting and mould making makes up the backbone of my practice and the way that I make sculptures. There are a lot of other things that get paired with them at times like sewing or welding but generally speaking, its casting. I love the way that mould making and casting can imitate a real object but in reality, its completely hollow and sometimes filled with foam or with timber. There is a false façade at play and a little bit of trickery. A lot of buildings are now made with pre fabricated concrete sections and I use a very similar technique to produce my own work and I love that there is this shared crossover between architecture and that of my own work.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: Are there any particular techniques or materials you would like to learn how to use in the future?

Typically, all of the works are pigmented throughout the process of casting the works which again, consists of a process of working backwards which can be quite confusing at times because you don’t see the finished colour placements until the end and when its all cast. I recently played around with a compressor and spray gun and it really added this synthetic/plastic feel to the surface which I loved. So this is something I’d like to play around with. I’m also about to collaborate with someone who produces prosthetics which is a completely new avenue of exploration for me. Since the works are cast and painted, the idea of the artists hand in the works at times is barely visible so I think the literality of having a prosthetic of the artists hand in some of the new things I’m working on is of interest to me.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What themes or topics are you exploring in your current artwork?

I’m currently reading and drawing a lot based on facadism. Facadism is an architectural trope in which facades of old buildings are preserved and the rest of the building is knocked down and cleared away and another building is built in its place but yet still maintains its façade. I’ve been thinking a lot about that and the way it translates to people and objects. Objects that we hide behind or imbue a sense of self into. Also how facadism links to this idea of a physical front and a back, something which is revealed and on the other side, remains hidden.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What do you think is the most important skill a studio artist should have?

I think tenacity is quite important because ultimately, if you don’t do the work its never going to get done. I also think its important as well to not really focus too much on what other people are doing around you which in todays world is very hard. Everything is so subjective, especially peoples progression and achievements so its important to not get too bogged down with that as it can be a real mood killer.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What do you think has been the biggest challenge in your creative career?

I honestly think that the move from university into being an artist was quite hard to figure out. I’d been at university for 3 years and had access to every workshop, every tool and every material, often for very cheap. Coming out of university I realized that I had hardly any tools and quickly had to figure out a way around that. Some friends and I rented out a big industrial unit and had a huge, shared studio in Manchester where we pooled money together and tools and eventually got a workshop together that had everything in it that we needed. I started off doing things in the artist led community and I think that comes with such a DIY mentality which I think is really important in order to maintain yourself and your practice in today’s art world.

ARTCOLLECTORNEWS: What advice would you give to aspiring studio artists?

I think to just keep going. The best piece of advice I got was that when you feel like you’re ready to just stop, push through it as that’s often when you get the eureka moments

Liam Fallon

Liam Fallon

Date
Jun 25, 2024
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