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Copyright & Gemma Compton: Mr & Mrs Interview

  • 6 min read
Copyright and Gemma Compton are one of our favourite arty couples. To celebrate their love both for each other and art, they have agreed to complete our Mr & Mrs quiz.

We love Copyright and Gemma Compton both as artists and can’t wait to discover how their love for each other influences their work. Beautiful women, birds, butterflies and roses; welcome to the wonderfully creative world of Copyright and Gemma…

Did art bring you together?

Copyright: Yeah def, I remember the first time I went to Gems when she was living in a flat, she had paintings on her walls and several cans of spray paint on a cabinet, I was very impressed, most of our early dates were to art galleries, private views and live paints.

Gemma: I suppose. We met in a bar on a night out in Bristol. We talked about painting, street art and tattoos. The connection was pretty instant. Every day we spent together was either at an exhibition, museum or art event. We are both really passionate about being creative and that has been our bond from the very beginning.

Who designed your wedding invitation?

Copyright: Gem did everything, all the way to the menus.

Gemma: Think it’s always the ‘Brides’ prerogative to be in charge of her wedding, so I took charge in designing and making most things for ours. Being a creative couple we knew we wanted the day to reflect us and our friends and family had high expectations because of us both being artists. So everything was created or designed by us from invites to menus, gifts for our guests and we even ran a photography competition on the day for best photo with a prize of a signed copyright print.

Do you enjoy collaborating on work?

Gemma: I do, I hope Chris would agree. I feel that every piece we create even as individual artists is a collaboration of sorts between the two of us. From bouncing around ideas for pieces, to helping with different techniques and problem solving when a painting just isn’t working. The creative process can sometimes be all consuming and we both understand that. I guess we’re just lucky we can get lost in art together. Before we got married we painted a whole show of collaborations together called ‘Union’ to celebrate our marriage and it was really well received. So we have plans to create more pieces together it’s just making the time as we’ve been busy with our individual projects.

Copyright: Last year we did our first collaborative exhibition ‘Union’ Here in Bristol. Where we worked out paintings and literally I painted one half, Gem painted the other half, then we stuck the 2 parts back together, it was awesome. I’m working on putting together a website for ‘Union’ work and hopefully another ‘Union’ show next year.

Spring In Red By Copyright

Spring In Red By Copyright

Do you share a studio?

Copyright: Kinda. We both have separate studios, but we both work from home, so the whole house has become our studio. There’s art everywhere.

Gemma: My studio takes over our spare bedroom with my vintage furniture, taxidermy and quirky car boot sale finds. Chris has an office in our loft and a studio at the end of our garden filled with vintage car parts and 80’s collectables. Even though we are in the same house our paths may only cross when it’s time to put the kettle on.

Describe your different approaches and processes...

Gemma: We both have different styles when it comes to the finished piece but I think our processes are very similar. We both research our ideas, looking at stories and meanings, we both use acrylic paint, we sketch. Chris uses very little spray paint these days and I’m starting to experiment a little with oils but both our work is predominantly acrylic paint.

Copyright: The approaches are almost Identical, it’s only our process that differs, and only slightly. I guess the main difference is Gem paints her girls to look real, I paint my girls stylised.

What are the similarities in your work?

Gemma: We both like to paint women; we love hidden meanings, stories and symbols within nature, life and death. We just execute them in different ways.

Are you inspired by each other’s art?

Copyright: For sure, we’re always checking in on what each other are doing. Her attention to detail and patience is amazing

Gemma: Definitely, without him I don’t think I’d be an artist today. When we first met 7 years ago I was still at university and Chris was very encouraging at getting me to paint and putting myself and my work out there. He was living in London and already exhibiting his artwork. He’d take me to art shows, introduce me to people he’d always tell me ‘If I can do this then you can too’.

Are you competitive?

Gemma: I think we both have a competitive nature, just not against each other. We both have a passion to create and a love for art. Our partnership isn’t just husband and wife, its team work

Copyright: No not at all, we mostly help each other whenever we can. Gem has got very good at gold leafing (smile).

Have you painted each other?

Copyright: I’ve painted Gem a few times in the past.

Gemma: Chris has painted me several times and thank goodness he’s been complimentary! Lots of people that come to his shows say they see me in a lot of the women he paints but they’re not intentionally me. However I have no desire to paint him yet, he’s probably relieved.

Only For A Moment By Gemma Compton

Only For A Moment By Gemma Compton

Whose art do you have in your home?

Gemma: We have so much art; we are running out of wall space! From completely unknown kitsch car boot finds to Tom French, Dan Baldwin, Hush, Miss Van, Ben Frost, Faile……etc.

Copyright: I collect Faile, also Hush, Dan Baldwin, Banksy, Adam Neate, Miss Van, Meggs, Tom French, Mr Jago, Chapman Bros, couple by Ben Frost

Is it difficult living with an artist?

Copyright: No it’s perfect; I think it would be more difficult to live with someone who wasn’t an artist

Gemma: I think that for the most part it’s quite harmonious but we can both have our moments and artistic temperaments can flair up. I don’t think I could be with someone who wasn’t in a creative industry – it just wouldn’t work. My creativity can make me selfish with my time, working from the minute you get up till late at night, 24/7. Luckily I have someone who gets it.

Do you have a favourite famous art couple?

Copyright: Basquiat and Madonna

Gemma: One of my favourite artists is Frida Kahlo who was married to Diego Rivera who was a famous Mexican artist. Sadly they’re marriage wasn’t a happy one.

What is your favourite artwork by the other?

Gemma: Oh gosh, that’s really hard! In the last couple of years his work has really developed more of a painter’s dexterity. Still stencil based but adding depth of layers and texture with a brush. His figures have become more complex with hidden meanings and stories and I love this development within his work. One in particular that stands out for me is ‘Sweet Nothings’ the flowers in particular are stunning and ‘Juliet’ because of all the texture and movement in the piece.

Copyright: Her lil ones of the birds she paints are so sweet, but the larger paintings where she incorporates a female portrait are so slick, some of them look like photographs.

Copyright's Mr & Mrs Quiz -

What’s Gemma’s favourite colour? Is this a test? I dunno, not pink, probably an eggshell greeny blue

When’s Gemma happiest? Watching Box set TV shows

If Gemma could have a superpower what would it be? She’d be She Ra, and have all associated powers.

If Gemma was an art movement which would she be? She spans a couple of areas, she could easily be a Realism artist, and she has the attention to detail to be a Hyper Realist. But I think she’d be Art Nouveau, the way she incorporates the beauty of a female figure with the inspiration of natural forms and design.

If Gemma wasn’t an artist she would be… A baker, she makes dope cakes!

Gemma: If I couldn’t do anything creative it would have to be a job helping others like a paramedic or a midwife as I have a massive respect for the work that they do.

Fight Or Flight By Gemma Compton

Fight Or Flight By Gemma Compton

Gemma's Mr & Mrs Quiz -

What’s Copyright’s favourite colour? Pink, black or grey.

When’s Copyright happiest? Relaxing in a café having brunch at the weekend.

If Copyright could have a superpower what would it be? Invisibility

If Copyright was an art movement which would he be? Pop Art

If Copyright wasn’t an artist he would be… If you weren’t an artist what would you be?I’m not sure if either of us could do anything that wasn’t creative, but as a kid of the 80’s he loved Jim Henson so probably working for a studio like that or aardman animations.

Copyright: I studied to make animations/video graphics, something like that. I was doing that before I quit to be a full time artist. I couldn’t imagine not doing anything creative, if I couldn’t do something creative I’d have to do something dexterous, a car mechanic or a decorator. 

 

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