We caught up with Louise McNaught to speak about her new release 'The Gathering.'
AR: When did you realise you wanted to become an artist?
Louise: I think I was born in Artist if that makes sense. But I have a memory of announcing it as a career choice at age 8 much to the confusion and worriment of my parents! My parents are not artists - they were a financial advisor and a maths and physics teacher.
AR: Is there any particular artwork or artist that has changed the way you view creative expression?
Louise: Recently I have come across kit King on Instagram and I really love her work which is surprising as it’s mainly figurative. In a somewhat narcissistic way I seem to mainly love artists who feature animals but I really love the way Kit king pushes her materials and thinks of new and innovative ways to present her work that it is uncomfortable and jarring really tests the viewers narrative.
AR: How has your life and experiences influenced your artwork?
Louise: I think the fact that I didn’t come from artistic parents has influence my work because I’ve always felt that I have had to seek out Artistic Mentors and people I can learn from as these were obviously not available to me in my immediate environment. This wasn’t easy as a child as I didn’t know about galleries and YouTube didn’t exist so most of my artistic inspiration were acquired from books that I found in the school library. I remember being quite influence by the surrealist movement. I’m so glad that children now have the Internet to be able to find inspiration for their creative endeavours and I I would’ve loved such a thing to have existed when I was a child.
AR: It’s evident your love of nature and animals is a driving force behind your artwork, could you speak more to your concept of “giving a voice to endangered species through art?”
Louise: I have always love animals since I can remember and I think it’s because that unlike humans they have no ego, and they are ever present in the ‘Now’ in the present moments.. and I’ve always found that beautiful and awe-inspiring. I have always found animals to be more connected to something ‘other’ …Perhaps that’s nature or perhaps that’s universe - anyway it’s more than humans seem to be and this also creates I huge sense of admiration for them. Therefore I have always wanted to show people the all the animals inspiring me and I felt that the best way I can do this is through my art. i’ve always been inspired by the amazing variety and beauty that exists within the natural world and I just want to communicate this feeling to people and perhaps inspire a connection to this, as I feel humans are living separately from nature as they seek to see themselves as a separate thing when in fact they are very much a part of nature they are just animals with Self-awareness.
AR: What is the inspiration of your new release?
Louise: This piece is about how nature can seem to solve its own problems when it’s left alone. In essence the bees are gathering to discuss the problems of the world and therefore that’s why I’ve called it the gathering. I have featured in endangered be called the rusty patched bumblebee to highlight the ever expanding list of endangered species. Nature seems to blossom when we take ourselves out of the equation a recent example of this would be when there was the pandemic and we had lockdown and nature seem to seep into our world more and more as there were less people around and less cars and boats nature seem to take over for a while which was beautiful albeit short lived. It would be nice if we could somehow find a way to coexist with nature in a harmonious way.
AR: Could you describe your new release in three words?
Louise: Striking. Intriguing. Adorable.
AR: The pandemic-induced lockdowns disrupted the routine of many artists. How did your routine alter, and what does a typical day look like for you now?
Louise: I have a little girl who is now seven and the lockdown obviously meant that I had to homeschool alongside my artistic practice which was very challenging to say the least. I had to focus on small artworks that I could create in the time that I could find available to make my work alongside having to homeschool. It made me appreciate my relationship with my daughter more than I could ever imagine and I have altered my day to fit around her much more so I can take her to school and collect her when her day is finished so I work more in the evenings alarm as during school hours.
AR: Did the process of publishing ‘Survival,’ your book on 20 endangered species, change your relationship with creating art?
Louise: Not really, it just meant that I created more pieces of endangered species at that time As I had a contract to fulfil and I was very excited about having a book that drew attention to endangered species.
AR: At the heart of your art is the reminder of what’s at stake if we don’t respect nature and the climate crisis. Could you talk more about the significance of personal responsibility in the face of climate change?
Louise: We often do print releases that benefit charities linked to climate change and helping endangered species. I think it’s important that we all do what we can because we can’t really leave it to governments to sort this problem out as they seem to be very slow at reacting to this ever concerning crisis. It can be quite depressing to see the negative impact that humans on the planet and we need to try and find positive solutions.
AR: Where do you see your art going in the future?
Louise: I see it becoming even more detailed, more experimental and pushing the boundaries of my practice as much as I can.
AR: If you could give one tip for new art collectors, what would it be?
Louise: Buy what you love rather than what you think would be a good investment as then you’ll enjoy it every day!
To see more from Louise McNaught, click here!