MEET ARTIST OSHE
We are delighted to announce we are working with UK artist OSHE.
Oshe, aka Stu Watkin, was influenced by his daily exposure to the poster advertising Liverpool Overhead Railway which adorned the kitchen wall of his childhood home. The noise, dirt and pace of the railway were subdued by limited but vibrant colours. Emotions of ‘being there’ seemed quite possible. The Mersey was even a beautiful, rich, Mediterranean blue – what was this Utopia? There had to be more to it!
A collection of exclusive cityscapes are available. In addition, OSHE can offer you commissions in any colour, style, or mood to suit your taste or decor.
We caught up with Oshe to see what was going on with life and art.
H: Where does your interest in art come from?
OSHE: My Dad was the one who could draw, but it was Mum who used to take me to art galleries as a child. I fondly remember The Lady Lever Art Gallery in Merseyside being a great day out on many occasions and the fact that what seemed like a perfectly normal diet of drawing was where it all began.
H: What are you working on next?
OSHE: I am working on a series of images that use the absolute minimum of colour and shapes but still create a three-dimensional result. It's almost stripping back the already stripped back.
For private clients I have commissions in progress, I'm recreating everything from family homes, holiday destinations and office buildings to wedding venues. These commissions I really love doing, it gives the client the opportunity to place significant memories associated with time and place on their walls.
H: Fingers crossed, we are emerging from the Covid pandemic, how did it all affect you in work and life?
OSHE: Just before ‘it’ all kicked off, I prepared a canvas stamped with a design incorporating this quote.
‘As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.’ by American philosopher and poet Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). I’ve always used it as a strapline to my work and find the words provide a short narrative to my style. Thoreau was looking to discover life’s actual essential needs.
So it seemed so spot-on for how I felt at the time (and still do) - loved ones, health and food were my only priorities which proves how straightforward life really can be. Though these are followed by nature and the arts (in all classification’s), I honestly believe that simplification is indeed the answer.
Filled with renewed creative vigour, I started designing album covers - go figure! The upshot of C-19 is that I guess that people have had more time to browse online, so I’ve was swamped with work, stamping, signing, packing and shipping. Ironically all of my work reflects the emptiness of views that would habitually be heaving with movement - museums especially. Art becomes life becomes art.
H: What was your first ever experience of ‘art’?
OSHE: I remember, with wonder, a sculpture park in Spain near Barcelona we visited whilst on holiday in the mid-seventies. The organic, brightly coloured forms seemed so massive and free-spirited and didn’t follow any rules. I was five years old and very impressed. It probably helped that we were encouraged to climb and
lounge, to become ‘part’ of the park.
H: Outside of art what makes you the happiest?
OSHE: My family, friends, nature, the sun on my back (ideally whilst swimming), music and good uncomplicated food.
H. Which current art world trends are you following?
OSHE: There is so much out there, and I’m a bit like, ‘I love this, it’s my favourite thing in the world ever... Ooh, look, that nice. It’s my favourite thing in the world ever!’, so it would be difficult for me to say. But, on the other hand, I’m a great fan of balance, so I love the renaissance of effortless organic shapes and colours. Large format - bang!
H: Tell us about your process.
OSHE: I create shapes of colours to build the image, how many (or how few) are needed for the viewer to complete the picture in their mind is the objective, knowing when to stop adding (or leaving out) things which is the fun part. Because of my work's stillness, clients often comment that my art offers more of a sense of place than time.
H: What would be your dream commission?
OSHE: Interpret the structures of Mexican architect Luis Barragan in a series of no less than 20 pieces.
The work would involve much research and sitting in the sun waiting to see where the shadows fall, and his work is such a beautiful mix of form and colour.
H: How do you deal with creative block?
OSHE: Weather dependent - I will either take a magnifying glass into the garden and look at some nature up real close or grab a random handful of Lego and try to make something with all the pieces. Both work as an easy, uncomplicated reset button for me.
H: If you could make a list of your favourite contemporary artists, who would you
OSHE: Really tricky to nail down but these are certainly my top four:
David Hockney, for obvious reasons.
H: Do you have a creative hero? & Who are your biggest influences?
OSHE: I grew up with Toulouse Lautrec's Aristide Bruant on the wall, and it stuck with me along with the Beggarstaff Bothers who's work was so significantly ahead of its time. At the other end of the scale is the work of Alphonse Mucha exhibition - the level of detail is stunning. I was very fortunate to see Alphonse Mucha: 'In Quest of Beauty' at Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery in 2017, which was like a dream, as I've loved his work since my teens. Such technical accuracy alongside human form and beauty close up - it blows my mind.
H: How would your friends describe you?
OSHE: Obsessed with observing everything through cameras and magnifying glasses, he constantly appreciates colour, shape, and designs in nature (and banging on about it). Always creative and inventive, he is a craftsman digitally and with his bare hands! He has a great eye (and one that doesn’t work) for balance, design and he's pretty chatty too!
H: Any secrets you want to get off your chest?
OSHE: It was me who put all the melted crayons behind the big radiator, Mrs Strong. There, it's done now. I can sleep better! I feel lighter already.
If you are interested in commissioning a bespoke artwork from OSHE please get in touch here.