I had a cup of tea with our good friend and artist, Word To Mother in his garden and found out why this guy is going to be one of the best British artists that you have to know about. His style is so warm to look at that you canft help but feel attached to the characters in his paintings. Each piece, often painted on wood, looks like it took years to evolve as his unique layering skills meld to one another effortlessly. Ifm a huge fan and hopefully after reading this, you will be too.
- For those of us who donft already know you, please tell us a little bit about yourself.
WTM: My name is Word To Mother and I draw everyday. I live in East London where I work on my personal art. I started writing graffiti when I was younger and that was when my drawing really came into fruition.
I went through the traditional route of going to art school and studying illustration and this amalgamation of all my loves is basically where Ifm at today. My work could be described as social observations, contorted characters, typography and texture, all combined to try and make something beautiful out of things that may have already existed.
- What have been some of your influences and inspirations over the years?
WTM: As far as names of particular artists; they are infinite. I love looking at line work and seeing stuff done by draughtsmen as well as artistsf sketches. However, within the environment around me, influences on me are colours, textures, rust and decay. I love things that are worn away and have previously lived.
In terms of typography, old advertising really inspires me and I also get a lot of influences from nature and the people I see. Ifm always trying to document life around me and I feel that each art piece I do is almost like a snapshot in time of what is happening and going on around me.
- You recently had a show at the Stolen Space Gallery. Can you describe to us what it was all about?
WTM: My show was called gTil The Hot Runs Coldh. The reason for this particular name is that when I try to create a body of work, I want to use a title that will be cohesive and one that brings all the work together. I donft want to use a title thatfs too specific or literal.
Eventually in life, all good things come to an end and I wanted to show that I would still be here; painting until the end, even if people arenft interested in my art anymore.
- All of the pieces in the show had so much depth, in terms of their textures and layers. How do you go about creating such detailed and beautiful pieces?
WTM: It depends, as a lot of things I paint on are beautiful already. So, I might take weeks or even months, with the stuff sitting in my room and I will examine them and think that maybe I shouldnft cover up that part up or I should re-paint this part. So sometimes, it can just be about getting the simplest line form or purest translation out of a sketch and allow the background to play a larger role in the overall piece.
On the more cluster-based paintings, where I have to replicate the texture, it is usually done on newer wood where I have to create the aged look myself. I will use rollers, tags, spraypaint and tea to try and get that weathered effect. As long as I have a few paintings on rotation, I can do little bits at a time.
- Are you painting or bombing anymore on the street?
WTM: I wouldnft say that Ifm actively bombing. What you see on the street, catching tags is purely a form of indulgence. At any one time, I might feel the need to go out and paint in the street, but I donft feel the pressure to have to maintain any form of street cred or reputation. Also, I wouldnft be able to execute my usual style on the street at the speed that is needed when you are painting illegally.
- What are your views on the current UK Graffiti and Street Art scenes? ?
WTM: The graffiti scene is really good right now. There are a lot of good guys creating great work including ATG crew in East London and RT and DDS elsewhere. With regards to the Street Art scene, I think that the people who were doing it originally, doing it for the purest reasons and havenft just jumped on it for the money are great and they should continue to do it. You can always tell on the street the difference between art that is considered or just fickle.
- In the past you have done work for State Of Play magazine and Fixed magazine and many illustrations for other publications. Is this a career path you see yourself following in the future?
All the recent illustrations I have done for publications werenft actually commissioned work but were more like favors for friends; no money ever exchanged hands for those drawings. It was more about believing in a project and helping out those who were involved in it.
- Any future projects that you are allowed to tell us about?
WTM: I have a group show coming up with Upper Playground in San Francisco and I also have a group show at Stolen Space on the 17th July with artists like Shepard Fairey and Andrew McAttee. I want to try and do some larger works and possibly try to incorporate 3D elements into my work. My theory is to never sit still and try everything. I have only touched the surface of what can be achieved with painting and I want to experiment a lot more in the future.