Artist talk with
'Field recordings', 2021
Tell us about yourself.
I am Niall Campbell Strachan, 36 and I live in the Scottish Highlands. My studio is in a small village called Fortrose but I live in the city of Inverness which is short drive from Loch Ness (there is no monster). I paint every day and making paintings is my main 'thing' which i am very grateful for. I'm definitely not an employee kind of person ha ha.
Where did your passion for art begin?
I feel like it has its roots in animation for me. Being 4 or 5 and watching some cartoon and then trying to copy the characters. Obsessively every day (not much has changed) Then I must have seen some Picasso and he was my gateway into a whole new world.
How would you describe your work to someone?
I'm definitely trying to capture a joyousness in my work...sharing this human experience with nature, being part of nature. All done with an intentional naivety and a real enthusiasm for putting marks and paint onto canvas. Holding on to that childhood sense of wonder.
'Love armour', 2021
What are you currently working on?
As a daily painter I always have something in various stages of progress. The work at the moment seems to be focussing on the relationship between myself and my dog who is called Fog! Like a real life Calvin and Hobbes!
'Forest bather', 2021
When you start a new work or project, do you plan what you’re going to create or do you improvise?
I tend to find if i really clearly set out what the end result will be that the painting never survives. It gets destroyed as soon as it is finished. I go on instinct and improvise. I love the process of building up a painting, reacting to what is happening and then pondering where the fuck it came from!
When you are in a flow it does feel like there is magic at play. Saying that I do sketch quite a lot and every now and again I will take from the sketches, but i far prefer a blank canvas. The challenge of bringing something into existence.
Can you highlight some of your influences and discuss how your influences have made an impact on you and your practice?
I am from a musical background which was very improvisational + DIY and I've taken this approach into my artistic practice for sure. It gave me the confidence and tools to fail and get onto the next thing without being weighed down by self-loathing (too much) . Also it taught me that making the thing is everything, be it a song or a painting. Not to overthink and let it get to where it needs to go.Artist wise I try to soak in as much as possible from everywhere. Obviously love the whole Bad Art stuff (Nava, Bozo etc) Karel Appel and the COBRA movement. Basquiat, Jenny Brosiniski, Kathe Bradford,Jo Kitchen,David Hicks, Roz Lord, Jonas Wood...too many to mention really. They give me energy. Seeing the living artists working hard and just fucking going for it, invigorates me and drives me forward. And to see some of these works in the flesh definitely made something click in my head. Basquiat 'Boom For Real' in London 3 years ago really showed me how disrespectful you can be towards the piece you are making! And Jonas Wood's 'Pots' a couple of years back was so emotional i was in tears, his connection with his inner-child resonated with me.
What are your plans for the remainder of this year?
Painting. Thinking about painting. Buying painting supplies. Making more paintings!
I have just joined Granada Gallery Madrid so I'm going over there for a group show which will be great.
Making new paintings for Mika Gallery in Tel-Aviv!
It's also looking like I will be exhibiting in NYC in the new year so I'm making work for that.
Excited and grateful. I've met a lot of good people this year!
'National anthem', 2021