Who are you? Where are you? What do you do?
I am Graeme Swinton, originally from the Isle of Man and now living in Bristol after many years spent in London. I make artwork using layers and layers of photographs, paper, distortion and colour. I try to make each piece simple and open and honest.
What is your method?
I have a collection of elements that I know and love. Paper, texture, photocopies, digital noise and techniques that I go back to again and again. I use old photographs and rework them, taking people from the past and adding colour and life. Everything is then combined and layered digitally, though I’m always keen to allow mistakes to creep in.
What makes you happy?
Waking up clear-headed, feeling loved, the Irish Sea.
Favourite music to work to? Recently I have been listening to a lot of The Fall (well Hex Enduction Hour), Scott & Charlene’s Wedding, Isvisible, Wham! and the new Perfume Genius track Queen is marvellous. The three pieces I made for Off Black were pretty much completed with the PN25, PN26 and PN27 remixes of Trus’me on repeat. Loud.
What has recently inspired you?
I visited the Musee d’Orsay recently and there is a painting by William Bouguereau called ‘Egalité devant la mort’. It’s the angel of death laying a shroud over a naked young man’s body. It’s spectacular, grandiose, mawkish even and it completely stopped me in my tracks. Equality before death.
What about the images you have created for Off Black?
I worked with a friend of mine called Asia Werbel who is a fantastic photographer, we discussed the theme of the body and she produced a selection of images for me to manipulate. I wanted the elements of the body to be hidden in some way though wasn’t really sure how until I started laying things out. I also liked the idea of having panels of colour similar to Warhol’s Sarah Bernhardt portrait with lines drawn around hands and fingers. I can’t help but add little slashes and cuts of colour also. The eventual tonal range of the three pieces and the spatter effect reminds me of the sleeve for Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk which isn’t a bad thing in my view.
As this is the body issue please tell us what is your favourite body part?
The back of the neck, shoulders.