by sk172

It all starts with a scrawled line, like a dusty jazz breakbeat, set out as a basis to the painting or drawing, and who knows where it will lead – more often than not it’s a random jazz character I draw then colour in. Then I apply the background layers, like building a track on my MPC sampler/drum machine, it all builds with layers. I apply one, then doubt it and apply another till it’s finished or sequenced, then the layers are complete. The colours are not planned, they just fall into place, but the more vibrant they are, the more the crispy breakbeat builds until I go into autopilot and the painting is done and dusted. Now it’s looking good, it has its own characteristic style, rough and sketchy. Scrawled marks form the basis where the blocks of colours are placed, which bind the whole track together. Its sounding sequence, that underlying drumbeat, is creating a rough analogue crackling sound, like the static you get from an over-played vinyl record. And the painting is now done, ready to be photographed and added to the pictures library for safekeeping; like saving a beat to a zip disk.

About the artist

sk172 is a St Neots-based artist. You can visit their website here www.sk172.co.uk and if you’d like to purchase any of the artworks featured here, please contact the museum.

Here’s a little background from the artist themself…

Drawing has always been my friend since a very young age, I’ve always been scrawling and scribbling away in sketchbooks, ever since I can remember. Back then, more often than not, it’d just be drawings from watching cartoons like Ghostbusters, Transformers, MASK and Thundercats. I then started to paint, with gouache paints when I was at college, and then acrylic when I went to university.

Unfortunately, I dropped out of university in my 2nd year, and it has now been a turbulent two decades since I first started to paint seriously and with determination after developing mental health problems. I now take medication for this to keep me level. I am not embarrassed to admit it. I have come out of the dark tunnel and, after hitting rock bottom, have clawed my way back to some sort of normality, and lead a life with goals I need to accomplish.

It must’ve been around 1999 when I started to paint and draw seriously and continuously, when I was living at home with my parents. A turning point in my life was when I lost my Mum in 2004, and I turned more to art as a therapeutic way of coping with the loss. I have submitted two portraits of her in this online exhibition too, one I made after she passed away, and another painting I made last year.

The things tying my art together, revolve around the influences I have all around me – Jazz music, technology, hip-hop, and also hip-hop production, which is another of my hobbies. I have an Akai MPC2000XL Sampler/Drum Machine, and lots of tracks on Bandcamp. It keeps me busy, when not painting. I’m also inspired by the African masks on my walls, and other artists prints I have from artist like Picasso, Basquiat, and Warhol. The African masks in particular, and the vibrant colours in African art, are strong inspirations.

Technology also influences me, and the idea of a future whereby we are all connected with various social media and devices, mainly comes from the writing of my favourite author Philip K. Dick. He was well ahead of his time, and his visions of a dystopian future resonate with me – if you look carefully, you’ll see a mouse pointer, in all my paintings! That is just my nod towards Sci-Fi and all things technological.