I first met Johannesburg-based pop artist Stephen Graham back in the late 90's in South Africa through friends of friends of friends - strangely enough, neither one of us can recall where or how we met. I do remember the lasting impression he left as a majorly creative individual and have been following his very "glitzy" career unfold all these years.
We met up on Oxford Street during his recent visit to London....
Me: Wow Stephen! It's been years! You as an artist in a nutshell?
SG: Art for me is an outlet, it's a way for me to de-stress and get lost, it's almost like a form of meditation. I need to create in order to function.
Me: Who are your biggest artistic influences?
SG: Andy Warhol has been one of my biggest influences but living artists such as Mr. Brainwash and Damien Hurst have been huge inspirations. My time spent working in lifestyle magazines, television, and the theatre industry has influenced my understanding of fashion, lifestyle, and consumerism and has had a direct influence on the subject matter in my artworks.
Me: Tell me about your favorite medium. SG: There is no such thing! I love all forms of mediums. Due to my perfectionistic nature, I am falling more and more in love with the Ink’d paintings due to the fact that I have very little control and everything is left up to chance. It's almost like painting with watercolours but instead of water colour I use coloured liquid inks and loads of water which allows the inks to bleed and run with very little control which challenges the way I think and paint. This is the complete opposite method from my very mathematical and precise crystal PinArtworks.
Me: What's the purpose or goal of your work?
SG: I want to be a household name, to be known for my Crystalisim, and my Ink’d artworks. I want my art to open people's eyes and create emotions.
Me: Which art trends inspire your current work?
SG: POP art and Urban Street art
Me: How has your style changed over time?
SG: My painting style has changed since my university days. I've become more relaxed, fun and commercial. My crystal artwork is still a very new technique and I'm still exploring ways to grow it over time.
Me: Is there a specific environment or material that's integral to your work?
SG: Never cut corners, support small businesses and make sure everything you use is as earth-friendly as possible!
Me: Where can we find your work in London ?
SG: DeMontfort Fine Art click