This October the talented artist Gregory Emy presents his highly anticipated X-Ray Series in London for the first time. Human Souls brings together an exciting body of rare, stunning and dark art. We caught up with Emvy to delve a little deeper into the complex and mysterious world of his paintings.
What is the best advice that you have ever been given as an artist?
Listen to your heart, and create what it tells you. Be honest with yourself and don’t be afraid to show your work to other people, because the fate of every truth is to be ridiculed first, and then recognized.
Your work is largely focused on the human psyche, has this always been a central theme in your work? Is this a subject that has always been of interest to you?
Humans always interested me as an art object. A very complex object, full of feelings, thoughts, dreams, plans for the future. Perhaps, it comes from the fact that I wanted to get to know myself better. As my world grew bigger, I started to project questions on others.
At some point I understood, that the more I learn about the human nature, the more I realize that it is full of life, and learn that everything that drives us is one big mystery. We are all a part of nature. And nature is wild and beautiful at the same time.
Is your art a personal reflection or are you influenced more by others?
I live in a society. It is not a secret that people’s characters are defined and shaped by their relationships. Of course, a lot of my paintings are a mirror of myself, they reveal first and foremost my fears, hopes and views on certain issues. But I can also say with confidence, that the majority of my works are a collective image of what I see around me. Essentially, my soul is a miniature portrait of the others.
Have you found there to be certain events that have affected the direction of your work? If so in what way?
I try not to get involved in the themes of war and politics. It is not easy, but so far I have succeeded. In the future some of my works might well be devoted to it, but as of now I am focused on universal values. That’s why you can see the issues of morality, ethics, education, faith and friendship in my paintings.
Virgin Mary, 2014 Scream, 2014
How has your artistic style evolved?
I personally believe that the major changes are yet to come. I am just doing the first steps. The life is long, and I do not know what is awaiting me. But I can say, that I become bolder with every painting. You can see it in my touch and colours. I love the texture, because this method is perfect for capturing the mood of the painting and show the gravity or ease of the situation.
I’m interested in the process of your work? Do you prepare studies in sketches in advance or does your work evolve naturally during the process of your painting?
Sometimes I can sit outdoors and scribble some sketches. I call this moment “communication with the subconscious.” I just pull on the surface what was inadvertently recorded and stored by my visual memory.
Sometimes I am in a cinema, supermarket, exhibition, restaurant or anywhere else, and become an unwitting spectator of some extraordinary situation, which later becomes the foundation of a painting.
When it comes to the process of painting – I don’t do drafts per se. My drafts turn into final works. I love the working process. Sometimes it absorbs you so much, that it is technically impossible to reproduce it on another surface.
Is your work more of an emotional or intellectual response?
It is all about emotions. I think, that paintings should provoke a reaction. Doesn’t matter if it’s joy, pain, anger, tears or laughter. If you feel – then you are still alive.
Which artists have had the largest influence on your work?
There are a few and they all come from different eras. They are Robert Falk, Ilya Mashkov, Jackson Pollock, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon.
Who are some artists whose work you find exciting at the moment?
I love the works of Marlene Dumas. They are quite hard and depressing, but I love the truth and sexual innuendo. I respect the work of Ai Weiwei. I like how the artist communicated with the audience, how he expresses his emotions in various ways. I am also a fan of Yves Klein, I love his rebellious spirit and desire to break the system. His patent on the blue colour is something else! I think it is genius.
Finally, how are you feeling about your first show?
I am not going to lie – I am very nervous! But as a man-fighter I am ready to accept any criticism. I want to know what people think about my paintings.
Human Souls by Gregory Emvy is open to public from 14-19 October 2014 by appointment only at the address: 27 Cadogan Place London SW1X 9SA. To book an appointment, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Gregory Emvy, click here.
Photography by Gabor Szantai
Suits by Patrick Hellmann