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Max Middlewood
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Oil paint and acrylic paint on fabric


Tell us about yourself.

I’m Max, 23 years old, living in Bristol currently.  I am always painting, sometimes in a studio setting, but mostly in the bedroom of wherever I’m living.  The spaces vary but I always make it work, as it is the only thing I truly love and believe in.


Where did your passion for art begin?

I developed an interest in art when I was suffering from a physical illness, which tore apart my entire life and also my family and relationships, but discovering painting was the one thing that kept a sense of purpose and meaning in my life. A lot of my physical symptoms have gone into remission now, but I still use my art to navigate my shifting mental state and portray my perception of reality through my work.  I knew, once I started to develop my own style, that painting would always be the only real way I could communicate my innermost feelings and thoughts with the outside world, as living with a personality disorder, it is almost impossible to express it with words, without coming into harsh judgement or conflict.  Art is the only form of self-therapy and expression that works for me.


How would you describe your work to someone?

My work is extremely personal, and I often describe it as a constant diary entry.  It is a physical manifestation of my thoughts, interactions, memories and feelings.  I tend to use bold colours, combined with text and images to portray the intensity of thought processes and emotions.  My work is a way of trying to connect, what I see as some of the coexisting planes which make up our subjective realities, some of which are the physical, the mental and the dream realm.  Themes in my work include: addiction, mental/physical illness, magic, sex, meaning, identity, ideology, suffering, love, hatred, daily habits, sensory pleasures, mythology, futility of life, self-destruction etc.

I want my art to encapsulate absolutely everything that I experience as a human being.  I want no stone unturned, being a completely open book & creating a whole living, breathing universe within my art.

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What are you currently working on?

I am just painting constantly, playing around with different compositions, textures and canvases.  I am also on the lookout for open calls, exhibitions etc., as a way of trying to push my ever-growing heaps of paintings into the public space and connect with other artists and creatives out there.


Oil paint, acrylic paint and acrylic marker on fabric


When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise? 

Sometimes I plan it roughly and then improvise a lot of it, however sometimes it is completely planned.  This is always in my head however, as I rarely ever sketch or draw anything at all.  My art must come straight from the brain, especially as my thoughts are the subject of the art anyway.




Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?

Originally artists like Frida Kahlo, Francis Bacon and Philip Guston had the biggest influence on me, in terms of admiring other peoples’ work.  In general though, it is the crisis of existence and meaning that powers all of my work, especially when thinking about death and its inevitability, as this makes life fragile, hence the need to pump out as much work as possible before it’s too late!

What are your plans for the remainder of this year?

To continue the grind and continue forming my ‘diary’ of paintings.  Also, to paint more in a studio setting, so I can work on larger scale, more complex pieces.  I would also like to connect with other artists and participate in some group shows if the opportunity presents itself.  My solo exhibition was my biggest achievement last year, so this year I would like to be a part of some more group shows, and also more virtual exhibitions, as the virtual space continues to be an ever-growing and evolving part of the art world and the world in general, making it a great place to show as much of my work as possible.

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Oil paint and acrylic paint on fabric


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