Drawing inspiration from his subconscious mind, English painter George Morton-Clark creates unsettling artwork which provokes eerie emotions in the audience. Boasting bold acidic colors, brave brush strokes, oil paint and unsettling imagery, his paintings relate a sense of anxiety and paranoia – resembling imagery that could be seen in some Hollywood movie, as the detectives finally discover the serial killer’s apartment and look at his walls. “My art has a certain eerie feel that is there to unnerve the viewer,” George explains. “I hate nice art.” He further observes: “Society has evolved a paranoid state of mind because of our ever-tightening freedoms. I see the world as a colliding of consciousness, made violent by its increasing extremes. We are becoming more suffocated in our day to day lives by marketing, religious views and bureaucracy. I use my work to explore the effects of these pressures on each other and ourselves.”
Travelling for Insight
Brought up in South London, George was heavily influenced by the intensity of his home city. As he says: “You have a different head screwed on when you are there. You are constantly paranoid and angry. Looking over your shoulder at all times.” Attempting to free himself from these feelings and obtain a fresh experience, Morton-Clark resorts to traveling. His voyages abroad do not only serve to reset his emotional clock; they have been instrumental in Morton-Clark finding his artistic voice. While visiting India, for instance, he witnessed a religious ritual held for the Hindu holiday fittingly called Holi. In it, people throw paint at each other, an experience the artist found reminiscent of a painting coming to life. The strong colors present in Indian art and daily life, coupled with the images of the ritual of colors, had their impact on George. He infused these emotions into his art, especially two pieces called “Heroes and Villains” and “Stag”.
Childhood Dialogues with Portraits Serving as Inspiration
From a young age, Morton-Clark has deemed painting a need instead of a choice. Painting for him had a therapeutic effect, soothing the psyche, an ironic contrast to the uncomfortable effect his work later has on the viewers. As a boy, George was fascinated by the portraits on the walls of his grandmother’s home. “I would wonder alone in the house and would always feel their presence. When I would stop and stare at one when no-one else was around the silence of the corridors plus the paintings would deliver a shiver down my spine. This childhood experience is a great way to tackle my art as I want to create the same feeling those paintings did for me.“ To George, being an artist is all about making the world see how you see and think how you think. Looking at contemporaries and others as inspiration rather than competition, he considers George Condo and Basquiat to be among his influences. His namesake George Condo’s dark and disturbing style corresponds to Morton-Clark’s world view, whereas Basquiat’s random approach reminds him to always create freely.Heeding the notion, when he makes mistakes with his strokes or dashes, instead of glooming over making them he incorporates them into his work, allowing creative flow and taking the piece in beautiful new directions.
George Morton-Clark lives and works in London, UK.
- Chapell, S., George Morton-Clark Hates Nice Art, Art Nouveau Magazine [November 3, 2016]
- Daye, K., Painter George Morton-Clark, Stated Magazine [November 3, 2016]