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The Comedy of Errors

Art Works: Feargus Stewart

3 June 15 words: Art Works
"This is a manipulation of a Life magazine image by John Dominis of Steve McQueen being his usual boss man self"

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Steve McQueen

This work is created by scratching into a found image or collage that I print onto glossy card. Once the image has been ‘exposed’ – by scratching – a negative of the original is created. I then use a chemical to dissolve the ink and a cloth to let it bleed into the scratches, and the finished image is revealed. I haven’t seen anyone else make work in the same way I do, and although the process has similarities with etching, traditional etching isn't popular, which is what I think makes this stand out.

At university we were encouraged to work with found materials, and the most freely available were flyers. It started just as a surface to work on. I’d use cellulose thinners and other chemicals to dissolve the ink and make cloudy patterns which I would then draw onto. One of the flyers I prepared had a fold down the middle which was made darker by all the ink collecting in its rough surface. I scratched a rough image onto the next flyer I picked up and it grew from there.

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Feargus, having a scribble.

This is a manipulation of a Life magazine image by John Dominis of Steve McQueen being his usual boss man self. It was taken from an old calendar of iconic photographs that my mum gave me. Since printing can be expensive, I tend to use things I find or that are given to me. As the piece is taken from another person’s work, it would be a bit arrogant to name it something other than its original title. I often use other people’s images, either as part of a larger picture using multiple sources or just a reproduction, and I want to give credit where it’s due.

Too much art has meaning forced on it or is created with just the meaning in mind. I want to create things that are just cool to look at. Having said that, I’d love for people to find their own meaning in the image.

The piece took about four days to complete. Depending on the size, my works take anywhere from three to five hours for a small, simple image to considerably more time for the larger ones. The longest I’ve spent on a piece was Metropolis, which was my final project at uni. It took around four months to finish, working about twelve hours most days.

I’ve made a small studio in my house in Beeston. It’s pretty basic, but it means I can work while having friends over, which is great. I’ve given myself six months to put my all into my work and start getting somewhere by accepting commissions, doing volunteer work, entering competitions and basically anything else that will get my name and work out there.

Feargus Stewart website

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