Meet Joss Cole, deep-thinker and self-described poesy painter; an artist whose work focuses on rhythm, semantic content, visual and verbal puns, and the real life ways that poetry can be considered a key discourse in painting.

We spoke to Joss about his love of abstract concepts, the importance of community, and the challenge facing artists in the UK who apply their craft outside London.

josscole.co.uk

You describe yourself as a ‘Poesy Painter’. Can you tell us a little more about that?

First of all, I have a weakness for puns. I like the acknowledgement that paintings are often about attracting attention, and many an artist is a ‘poseur’, contrasted with the much more subtle high-minded definition of po·e·sy.

  1. pl. po·e·sies 1. Poetical works; poetry. 2. The art or practice of composing poems. 3.The inspiration involved in composing poetry.

The works’ aim is to be associated to poetry but not to follow the often cringe worthy pairing of the adjective, ‘poetic’, and painting.

Are there any other disciplines that inspire your work?

The main inspiration right now, and normally the most dominant is poetry or snippets of lines and texts from different sources. The writer/poet Roberto Bolano is a big inspiration.

I also find sciences, sport, politics, psychology and anything that a painting could be made from or might be difficult to be made about. I love the idea of making representative work about abstract concepts. As William Blake said, its all about trying to find the contraries.

For a while I have been making a series of paintings that often run alongside more traditional figurative stuff, based on Dinosaurs. The fact that the only way we can really know what Dinosaurs look like is through imaginary visual representations is an exciting one to me. That is the kind of wider way I look at making my paintings.

Are there any other disciplines that inspire your work?

The main inspiration right now, and normally the most dominant is poetry or snippets of lines and texts from different sources. The writer/poet Roberto Bolano is a big inspiration.

I also find sciences, sport, politics, psychology and anything that a painting could be made from or might be difficult to be made about. I love the idea of making representative work about abstract concepts. As William Blake said, its all about trying to find the contraries.

For a while I have been making a series of paintings that often run alongside more traditional figurative stuff, based on Dinosaurs. The fact that the only way we can really know what Dinosaurs look like is through imaginary visual representations is an exciting one to me. That is the kind of wider way I look at making my paintings.

What is the most challenging part of your creative process?

The most challenging and enjoyable part is getting into that state of mind, or ‘flow’, to make the paintings almost without thinking.

I try to get all the detailed planning for the picture and the way the painting is going to progress in my head before I start. This is so the work has the most energy or vital impulse. Often and quite challenging, I am trying to make paintings work which are not flowing in this way. These can be successful and a balls-up.

You’ve experienced the art world both outside and within London. How does your experience differ?

The experience is very different. Obviously there are a lot more opportunities In London and it’s the opportunities to show work that I feel is the most important.  I was also inside an institution, Wimbledon College of Art, when I was living in London which helps a great deal.

Art is really all about community, be it a sexy one like the pre-Raphaelites or the attention grabbing opportunists of the WYBAs. If you latch onto a strong community inside or outside London your work will be nurtured, if not your bank account.

I think the Turner prize moving around the strong art institutions all over the country has been a great shift in impetus. Places like Belfast and the Baltic in Newcastle, and this year Hull with its success as the city of culture. Yes, the decentralisation of the art industry still needs to improve but the sad situation we have at the moment is the art industry’s roots in London are being cut by increased studio property rents, increased art school fees, the government arts council cuts and general space that could be creative being given away for the commercial or private courses. We need to widen our athletic lens.

You’ve experienced the art world both outside and within London. How does your experience differ?

The experience is very different. Obviously there are a lot more opportunities In London and it’s the opportunities to show work that I feel is the most important.  I was also inside an institution, Wimbledon College of Art, when I was living in London which helps a great deal.

Art is really all about community, be it a sexy one like the pre-Raphaelites or the attention grabbing opportunists of the WYBAs. If you latch onto a strong community inside or outside London your work will be nurtured, if not your bank account.

I think the Turner prize moving around the strong art institutions all over the country has been a great shift in impetus. Places like Belfast and the Baltic in Newcastle, and this year Hull with its success as the city of culture. Yes, the decentralisation of the art industry still needs to improve but the sad situation we have at the moment is the art industry’s roots in London are being cut by increased studio property rents, increased art school fees, the government arts council cuts and general space that could be creative being given away for the commercial or private courses. We need to widen our athletic lens.

What are your earliest memories of art? How did you discover and define your personal style?

One of my earliest memories of art is painting watercolours with my dad on holiday, and drawing Dinosaurs at school. I would define my style as loose and painterly.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice in painting and in general I have had is don’t lose the drawing, keep the drawing line. My tutor who said this was referring to building a painting and not losing the shape and freedom of the drawn line as you add layers the painting. I think this is nicely applied widely to life, keep a plan and refer back to it, clichés and all.

Where do you work best? If you could create the ideal workplace, what would it look like?

I work best either outside painting in the world on a street/field with speed and pressure of the changing situation, or in a studio surrounded by books, old paintings and mess. And maybe a cat.

Who are your favourite artists making waves in the north of England right now?

My favourite artists making work up north right now, are Lucy Fiona Morrision and these guys at Westgate Studios in Wakefield.

What’s new in your world? Do you have anything exciting lined up?

Yes I do, thanks for asking. I have a solo show at Weston Park, Granary Art Gallery in Shropshire (where they hold V festival).

It’s from the 28th of October to November 30th, so come on down if you’re in the area.

Who are your favourite artists making waves in the north of England right now?

My favourite artists making work up north right now, are Lucy Fiona Morrision and these guys at Westgate Studios in Wakefield.

What’s new in your world? Do you have anything exciting lined up?

Yes I do, thanks for asking. I have a solo show at Weston Park, Granary Art Gallery in Shropshire (where they hold V festival).

It’s from the 28th of October to November 30th, so come on down if you’re in the area.

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