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Dominic Watson: In The Kitchen






Hi Dominic, What are you up to today?

Procrastinating with a residency Application.

What did you eat for breakfast?

Coffee, fruit and yogurt. I’m being healthy now, ish.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Kind of late, I think at around 24 I eventually got rid of any doubts that it wasn’t going to happen, I found myself not asking myself the question anymore.





Does the reality of not making a lot of money from art often worry you?

No, i’ll be content if I make any.

You studied at Camberwell- did you enjoy it?

Yeah I had a really good time there. It was a great college to be a student, and the Sculpture course had some great tutors. Looking back there’s some really good artists and galleries who are doing great things now that came from Camberwell that were within a couple of years of each other.

If you could give an art student any advice, what would it be?

Make sure you really enjoy what you do, whatever it is, don’t think anything you do is beneath art or not appropriate. Don’t make art about some bullshit you think someone else will care about. Hearing someone talk about anything passionately regardless of what it is, is always more interesting than someone presenting a really great idea, badly. I think the closer you are to something the easier it is to engage a viewer, whether that’s a way of making or thinking. And try to get out of your comfort zone, even if its only just for a bit.

What keeps you up at night?

Dutch wind, I’ve recently moved to Amsterdam, and it howls! And thinking about what to make. But now that autumns in full swing mainly the Dutch Wind.

What wakes you up in the morning?

My alarm.

Someone said about your work ‘Watson has continued to explore his fascination with the role culture plays on our psyche. ‘ Do you think that’s accurate?

Yeah i’d say so. I’m think a lot about culture or ideologies invisible hands pulling at the puppet strings, hence the video of me as puppets. I guess I’m intrigued by the idea that our conscious might not entirely belong to us. I think that’s a position i try to operate from when making art, whether its an accurate reality or not I don’t know.

Still from video ‘SPECIFIC EMOTIONS’

 Best and worst thing about being an artist?

Best – getting do exactly what it is you want to do
worst – not being able to that all of the time.

 I found it extremely refreshing seeing a piece of work at the ( ‘New Contemporaries’ at the Whitechapel) that actually made me laugh. My favourite was your piece dancing to Hall and Oates. Can you talk a bit about that piece of work? And do you think humour is a big part of your practice?

It was kind of an accident. I wanted to come up with a dance routine for a completely different song, so i thought i’d try my hand at choreography. To try and make the moves seem authentically mine, I didn’t plan any of it beforehand. I wanted it to be as spontaneous as possible. I had the song on repeat for hours filming myself. I got bored of it after a while turned to the ‘shuffle’ option. ‘You make my Dreams come True’ happened to come on twice within an hour of each other. Almost immediately I spliced them together on my computer and watched them back. It seemed so effortless in comparison to what I originally had in mind, it was obvious that it was going to be way better video. It’s really generous, I like it’s tongue and cheek reference to what actually happens in the artist studio behind closed doors.

Humour is definitely part of the work, at times I think it can used really effectively to communicate an idea. But I can’t intentionally try be funny, it becomes so transparent and unbearable, which is fine if that’s what you want the viewer to go through, I do’t. I think it enters into different works for different reasons. Sometimes its presence is down to taste, a decision to include one thing as oppose to another, other times the idea or action itself is inherently humorous, and in others its the way something executed or performed, like the dancing in the video you mentioned. there’s great moments where the humor to tragic which i always find an interesting position. But i guess those decisions come down to personality, the’re not labored over.

Still from video ‘SPECIFIC EMOTIONS’

What’s next for you? What are you currently working on?

I’m re-exhibiting a fake printed Mosaic I made for a Gallery in Nottingham here in Amsterdam. Originally it was installed as a full room that the viewer would walk into, but it doesn’t really fit in new gallery in the same way. So we’re exhibiting them as individual walls, suspended separately. The mosiac is printed onto PVC Mesh, the stuff buildings are wrapped in when they’re under restoration or repair, it’ll hopefully have a bit of an ethereal quality about it.

How will you know when you’ve ‘made it’?

When I don’t have to write proposals anymore.



Dominic at the WHITECHAPEL:

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