For our new exhibition at cambridge contemporary art, Mychael Barratt has filled the walls with his original prints and paintings, showing an eclectic mix of themes representing all of his major artistic passions. His work is on show from 3rd -23rd September alongside ceramics by Vicky Lindo, Jane Hollidge and Gwen Vaughan.
To learn more about the way Mychael works we have asked him a few questions.
How did you get started with your art career?
About 25 years ago, I was walking by the Thames when I popped in to the Royal Festival Hall to get out of the rain. There was a printmaking exhibition on in the foyer and I was so impressed that I started an etching course at Central St Martins the following week. I had been working as a painter before but that was when I started printmaking.
How do you go about making a new piece?
For big pieces the idea is always the starting point. Once I have the inspiration I start on doing the research and usually don't do any drawing until I've virtually planned the whole thing out in my head. The paintings are much more spontaneous.
What is your preferred medium/colour pallet to use?
I love both painting and printmaking. As I make them in two separate studios and approach them so differently I couldn't say which is a favourite medium. In printmaking, my heart is definitely in etching.
What inspired the range of work that we have in the gallery?
The work in the gallery was inspired by various things. The 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare has had a huge impact on my work, inspiring at least three pieces. A recent visit walking around Cambridge has obviously inspired a couple of the paintings.
We are currently showing your dog works, how do you go about selecting the artist that you paying homage to?
The artists are all ones whose work I admire but the most crucial thing is that little eureka moment when I get an idea that makes me laugh. They are sincere homages made with a huge level of care but are also hopefully quite funny.
Is it challenging emulating all the different styles of your dog works? What is the style that you are most pleased to have achieved?
Emulating the style of the different artists is always a challenge because it forces me to work in unfamiliar manners. The one I am most pleased with is probably the Turner. I am constantly learning by doing these and painting the Hockney's dogs was definitely the most fun and has probably had the biggest impact on how I paint.
Which other artists do you admire?
I admire so many artists and have a large art library. In printmaking, Rembrandt, Goya, Hogarth, Chris Orr and Grayson Perry. In painting my heart is definitely with Chagall although I think the way I work is more like Hopper. The list would be endless.
Could you describe a typical working day?
I divide a typical day up between research and practical work and a perfect day would see me doing some printmaking and some painting. I'm happiest when I have a huge stretch of drawing ahead of me.
How do you see your work evolving in the future?
In the future I plan to do at least a couple more huge maps and carry on with the other strands and themes of my work like the artist's dogs and cats. Really I want to just keep getting better!
Meet Mychael Barratt in the gallery on Saturday 24 September, 1-3pm. Mychael will be at cambridge contemporary art (6 Trinity Street, Cambridge) showing visitors how he produces his work.