London based artist Rob Wass, has recently released 3 impressive new limited edition prints. His vibrant work fuses nature with architecture and geometry. His signature use of heavy black produces lively pops of contrasting colour in his subtle optical illusions. Discover more about this talented contemporary artists in our latest interview...
Describe an average day in the life of Rob Wass -
I'll describe today…
07.37 - I awake wondering why I hadn't heard my neighbor in the flat below get up for work.
08.00 - Bath. A lot of time spent here surfing the net on my phone, reading news, prepping myself for the day ahead.
09.55 - Tea/breakfast/emails
10.07 - Screen printing next batch of new prints - I don't have enough space where I am at the moment for a print rack so I have to improvise. Using this method I can print about 30ish prints at a time.
13.24 - Lunch - Ham, tomato, lettuce and mustard sandwich.
14.03 - Colour some prints - Always fun unless I'm colouring a moth, why oh why did I think that this amount of hand colouring would not get a little tedious, oh well not many left now!
15.16 - Sign/stamp/number prints.
16.35 - Post prints.
17.12 - Tea and Internet break.
18.55 - Drawing - Nothing in particular just playing with ideas.
20.18 - Dinner - Absolutely loving Paella at the moment although I'm sure I'm probably doing it ‘wrong’, but I don't care because it tastes too good.
21.31 - Drawing continued - Sketching to some documentaries on YouTube.
12.05 - Bed - I spend a lot of time working on ideas in my head in bed, if I don't write them down though they might not be there in the morning.
Not every day is like this, sometimes I have 2 baths.
Would you describe your work as minimalist or abstract?
Probably a little more abstract than minimalist, I like to get a bit of intensity in there too, but it's about finding a balance that works, ‘Skeleton City’ is quite a good example of this because it's really detailed in places but it's got a load of space around it that evens it out.
How do you express motion so effectively on a flat surface?
I use a combination of different techniques and tools to replicate movement, most of them are pretty messy but very fun, some of these techniques rely on blind luck it seems at times. I'm starting to learn that there are new ways for me to create movement without making a load of mess everywhere.
Black features heavily in your prints, how do you feel about colour?
I love colour, I find that using small amounts of colour combined with black intensifies the brightness, I think the first time I realised this was when I was creating ‘Wings of Change’, and it’s now become a signature style that frequently reoccurs in my work.
What made you become an artist?
I don't know really, I just like creating stuff, I've got a bit of a mischievous mind that quickly wonders without me realising it, this can be good for coming up with new ideas but not so good if you're trying to hold down a conversation with someone. Ultimately I don't have much say in the matter, sometimes it feels like I'm just along for the ride playing catch-up with my brain.
How did you get started?
I've been making work my whole life but in 2007 a couple of friends and I got a pop-up space in Croydon, it was part of a council scheme to regenerate a parade of unused shops. We made our unit into a gallery space (The Lab) selling our art. It was at this time I realised that making a living from art was what I wanted.
You work in sculpture, film, drawing and prints, what’s your favourite medium?
I don't really have a favourite. I love learning new techniques, I guess I use inks quite a lot but that's because they can create some spectacular results, they're also mesmerizing when you're working with them. I want to try some different printing techniques this year, I kind of imagine myself making a huge installation at some point which encompasses many different techniques.
What are you currently working on?
I did a few abstract canvas tests last year that I want to pick back up. I've been shooting some footage for my website of inks dancing on paper and a few other bits. Generally though, I've found talking about unfinished work doesn't do the idea any justice.
Where do you find inspiration?
All around me, it's usually little pieces of detail I'll pick up and use with other little pieces of detail from something else. When I've got an idea I'm constantly looking at the world around me to make that idea work, it can be a slow process but I think an organically formed idea is always going to be better than a forced one.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
“I'm arresting you for conspiracy to commit criminal damage.”
What is the greatest threat to art today?
I think placing a monetary value on art has a lot to answer for. You can point out the hypocrisy in this statement if you want but it doesn’t make it any less true.
Which artists do you most admire and what work of art would you most like to own?
Futura's work is amazing. I’ve always loved this piece by Futura entitled ‘Violent Treasure’ ,1990.
If you weren’t an artist what would you be doing?
It would probably still be something creative or some sort of problem solving job, locksmith, computer technician, engineer. I studied graphic design at college, it cost me 10k to realise I really didn't want to go into that industry!
When are you happiest?
I love being in the studio working on a new piece, listening to some good beats.