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Studio Secrets

Andy Harper

Describe your working methods and processes

I work wet into wet, pushing and impressing an ever-widening vocabulary of marks into a thin layer of paint. Recently my resident studio mouse has taken a liking to oil paint. I presume it is the linseed oil he (or she) has got a taste for. One night I left a wet painting leaning against the wall. When I returned the next morning there was a strange mark all along the bottom edge, a dabbing action I didn't recognize as my own. It took me a while to realise that this new form of mark making was courtesy of the studio mouse, my new assistant. Working his way along the bottom edge of the painting, stubbing his nose into the paint and licking of the more juicy parts of the surface. He has contributed towards three paintings so far.

Which single item in your studio is most important to your work?

At the moment the most important item in my studio is a single screw in the middle of the wall I paint on. This allows me to spin the paintings I am working on around. I can then work on every part of the surface comfortably and at any angle.

Is your studio a refuge or a place of torture?

It's more a refuge than a place of torture but first and foremost I see it as a place of work. Even when I am not preparing or making a piece of work I find it difficult to just hang out in my studio with a coffee, reading the newspaper. A great believer in thinking through doing, I always busy myself with something. It is a standing joke with close friends that I go to my studio to build a new shelf or re-arrange existing ones, rather than make art. If I have been away from the studio for a number of days, my inclination is to occupy the first few hours back in there with something practical. This could be read as the ultimate delay tactic but a minor re-organisation of some shelves seems to prepare me for the more difficult task of making art.