10 QUESTIONS WITH VINCENT KAMP AHEAD OF HIS MAYFAIR SHOW 'THE LONG GAME'
Heavily influenced by films and TV, particularly the crime and gangster genres, Vincent Kamp has learnt as much about composition and lighting from cinematographers as he did from the old masters. His arresting and mesmerising portraits always evoke emotion and intrigue about the backstory and future of the characters. We caught up with him ahead of his November exhibition ‘The Long Game’ at Mayfair gallery Clarendon Fine Art.
1.) What brought you into the world of art?
I've always been into art. My parents used to drag me around museums and castles, that kinda stuff. I've been drawing since I could hold a pencil.
2.) Can you tell us a little about your upcoming show at Clarendon Fine Art in Mayfair?
I like to tell stories with my paintings, but for this show I'm taking it a step further. Each painting will form part of a larger narrative, a kind of storyboard in oil paintings. I also wanted to create a more immersive show at the gallery. I want people to feel like they could step into the paintings, to be part of that underground world, so why not have all the characters from the paintings step out into our world. They'll all be there on opening night wearing the same outfits as in the paintings. It should be interesting.
3.) Your paintings are incredibly intricate and realistic. How long have you spent preparing the thirty paintings going into The Long Game exhibition?
The idea came to me about a year ago, but I didn't start preparing until January. I then did the photo shoot in February and have been painting it all since then.
4.) Artists often complain that the art-making process is isolating. Do you find this to be true for you?
Ah, Artists like to whine don't they? Sure, you have to do the painting on your own, but I don't find it isolating at all. I have to go out there and find inspiration for new stories and new characters. I'm often out and about taking pictures and meeting people. I love my work, so I'm very careful not to complain about it.
5.) We've caught previews of gambling, tattooed mobsters and gun-wielding barmaids. What draws you to the underground world of urban subculture?
I think our lives are so sterile and safe these days, so I guess I'm attracted to a bit of danger and uncertainty. I think perhaps we all are to a certain extent, as you can see from the box office numbers for those kinds of films.
6.) What music or podcasts do you listen to when you paint?
I try to listen to music that informs the painting. I was listening to a lot of jazz when painting the jazz series of Reuben James and his band. I've been listening to Tarantino inspired soundtracks for this last series. I don't listen to spoken word whilst painting as it totally takes me out of the world I'm trying to create. I'll often have conversations with the characters I'm painting. You'd think I was a lunatic if you snuck up on me in the studio.
7.) Are there any artists (past or present) who you ardently admire?
I really like Mitch Griffiths, Gabe Leonard, and Jeremy Mann, but probably get more from film makers like Fincher and Villeneuve or cinematographers like Deakins.
8.) What inspires you?
Film and TV. I love stories.
9.) When you're not busy painting, where can you be found in London?
I'm all over the place. I'm shooting at the Ritz Casino tomorrow, then filming at Mahiki next week. Meeting my awesome publicist, Greg Day at Groucho or having a coffee with a mate at Soho Grind.
10.) We are really looking forward to seeing your Mayfair show. How do you feel about the public seeing a collection you've injected so much time, love and energy into?
Of course I'm nervous but I can't wait to share it with everyone. I really hope they enjoy seeing it as much as I have enjoyed putting it all together.