Much of the work of UK artist Will Klose is based in Thailand and yet informed by the traditions of Western painting. Currently enjoying his third solo show at G1 Contemporary by H Gallery at Gaysorn Plaza, he says the duality of his native culture and that of his adopted home in Chiang Mai will continue to influence his output.
When did you realise you wanted to be an artist?
There was never really a defining moment. It was something I grew up surrounded by and it felt natural and instinctive. I was always encouraged by my family, friends and teachers. My love of art, painting in particular, became even more pronounced while studying at Edinburgh School of Art and later at Camberwell College of Art in London.
How have your childhood memories of suburbia in the UK influenced your art?
I think wherever you grow up plays an important role in any artistic interest one has. The more time I have lived away from London, the greater the visual impact it has upon me. What would perhaps seem mundane and commonplace takes on a heightened significance. Obviously there was a certain nostalgia involved when starting this group of work. But as the narratives develop, they move away from this into more uncertain themes of displacement and dual cultural existence.
Your work has an almost photographic quality to it. How did your style come about?
These paintings represent quite a departure from my usual approach to working. In the previous two solo exhibitions I’ve held at H Gallery, I’ve worked exclusively from life – be that cityscapes, interiors or portraits. Because I wanted to use photos that I had taken many years previously as the backdrop for my new paintings, it had a profound effect on my work stylistically. The resulting images have much more of a cinematic feel than I initially envisaged. As the work develops it throws up lots of questions that need answering. It is this process that drives the paintings along. The modern artists I grew up admiring, painters such as Degas and Balthus, have always reinforced this sense of possibility within the discipline of painting.
What prompted the enigmatic scenarios depicted in your ‘Disquiet’ series?
The narratives at work in these paintings are influenced by living in Thailand. My experiences here, both real and perceived, intertwined with my relationship to where I grew up, are the underlying themes behind the works. It was never my intention to illustrate specific events, but to capture something more elusive and detached.
Why did you choose to settle in Thailand?
My wife grew up in Thailand and we consider it our home along with London. I travel between the UK and Thailand frequently and feel equally comfortable in either.
What next in terms of your artistic career?
I am never quite certain what will happen next especially after preparing for an exhibition, which often leaves my wife and myself knackered! Having moved to Chiang Mai over two years ago I am beginning to realise how I might incorporate this into my work. Originally I found the move away from Bangkok quite tough as far as subject matter is concerned. But I now feel much more comfortable with how I see my paintings developing. Alongside working on portraits and images based on my studio environment, I hope to continue this idea of duality that runs through the work in the current exhibition.
Until March 31
G1 Contemporary By H Gallery
Ground floor, Gaysorn Plaza, 999 Ploenchit Rd | 08 5021 5508 | hgallery.com | Daily 10am-8pm | BTS Chitlom