British painter, Danny Rolph, comes to London with East Central thanks to CNB Gallery this September. The exhibition is made up of four large-scale paintings, all of which have been inspired by the areas of London in which Danny grew up, namely EC1, EC2, EC3 and EC4. As a child he would stand in the kitchen of his parents’ high rise flat just off the City Road staring at the city below, and in these works, which unite painting with collage, he has recreated those memories in abstract forms.
Of the works, he says: ‘I grew up in the sky, one hundred foot above City Road. The view from our kitchen window contained sunset and sunrises of the type that Tiepolo imagines populated by architectural silhouettes of St Paul’s, the Old Bailey and the Post Office Tower.’
ArtAttack had the chance to speak with Danny about the upcoming show, as well as his personal artistic experience and history.
ArtAttack: What is your first memory of creating art and when did you decide to pursue art as a career?
Danny Rolph: My earliest of art memory is drawing, with a multi-coloured pen, the scene where the US astronauts docked with the Soviet cosmonauts in space around 1975? I knew I wanted to be an artist at 15.
AA: In 1999, you became the youngest artist to ever have his work exhibited at the Met. Can you describe the journey of how it happened?
DR: It was earlier actually, 1993? William Liebermann, curator at the Metropolitan Museum, bought the painting for their collection from The Paton Gallery in East London. I was very excited and he apparently was full of praise for the work (according to Graham Paton).
AA: How has the London city landscape influenced your painting style?
DR: London, especially the sky, the architecture and the dynamics has informed everything I’ve ever done indirectly. My family are from Finsbury EC1 which is where I grew up.
AA: What is a typical working day in the life of Danny Rolph?
DR: Up about 6.30 cycle to studio. About 8am stop for a coffee at the wonderful Fee and Brown in Beckenham. Studio about 8.30, work til 6.30, then cycle home and have dinner with the family.
AA: Are their any artists who have inspired your practice and why?
DR: Hundreds of artists and thousands of artworks, including Giotto, Cranach, Zurbaran, Tintoretto, Tiepolo, Corot, Matisse, Agnes Martin, O’Keefe, DeKooning, Fahlstrom, Anni Albers, Marden, Judd, Baselitz, Halley, Oehlen, Kippenberger, Ofili, Laura Owens, the list is endless and for many reasons.
AA: Your use of colour is extraordinary. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
DR: Thank you. I never have to think about how I use colour; it’s primal and instinctive like breathing. Experience though teaches you when it isn’t right! I think we feel colour rather than understand it.
– India Irving
Danny Rolph East Central will be on view at CNB Gallery from 28 September; 32 Rivington Street, London EC2A 3LX; Admission: FREE