In the studio: Neil Haddon

Neil Haddon

15 Apr 2020

During the covid-19 lockdown we will be keeping you updated with new works and insights into our artists’ practice, process & inspiration…

Fill us in on what you are working on at the moment..

I’ve been working on some new paintings that draw on my experience of migration and its enduring impact. Even though I’ve been here for over twenty years, at times I still feel like I’m living in two places; there, the UK, and here, Tasmania. Much of the recent work you can see references to other artworks that I have encountered on my migratory journey and that have acted as ‘way markers’ along the way. I’m interested in a painting process that is itself migratory in nature, rather than merely representing the migrant experience. I am about to finish a PhD that really gets stuck into the theory behind this practice – fascinating stuff! I’m very lucky because I am currently on study leave from the  University of Tasmania where I teach part-time. That said, it feels odd to be making work about movement, displacement and so on when most of us are stuck still for the foreseeable.

Being an artist is usually a solitary pursuit – do you have one tip or trick for people who are new to WFH, to stay motivated each day?

My studio is in my driveway. And I love it. Sure, it’s a bit small at times but I like the fact that I can nip out there at any time of day or night and get stuck into some work. So, I’m used to working from home and I’m used to working alone. I think it’s good to have a routine, generally I start work in the morning and work through to mid afternoon.  If I’m not painting then I’ll be reading and writing.Then I jump on my bike and go for a ride. I used to go for a swim too, pre COVID. That said, I’d always look forward to catching up with friends and peers at exhibition openings in the evenings. I think its tremendously important to feel connected to a community of fellow practitioners. That’s so much harder now, but thank goodness for social media and Zoom – who’d have thought we’d ever say that! I catch up with my UTAS colleagues for Friday drinks via Zoom. This has been a vital point of connection and I’m blown away by how creative my friends can be on that platform! It’s great fun.

What are you watching, listening to, looking at …

Re-runs of the of the beautifully understated British comedy The Detectorists. There is something affirming in its gentle humour and the relationship between the two main characters. It’s set in the leafy green countryside of my upbringing. “I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have this place to escape to” says Lance. So very poignant right now.

Jacques Tati – all of his films but especially Mon Oncle (1958). More gently humour. A man profoundly out of touch with modernity and infinitely loveable. It doesn’t matter how many times I watch it, I am in awe of the masterful blend of visual comedy and audio soundtrack. There’s something new in each viewing!

Watch this music video by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down. How creative can Zoom be? WOW!  

If there is one good thing, be it personal or in general, that you hope to come out of this, what would it be?

That’s very simple: a resetting of how we live in this world –  a fundamental shift in priorities. See this article on how the city of Amsterdam is planning for post pandemic: Read Guardian article here

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