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Q&A with Lee Madgwick

12 Mar 2015 Exhibitions, Artists

Award winning East Anglian artist Lee Madgwick has built up a considerable following for his mysterious and emotive paintings which depict scenes of abandonment, seclusion and dereliction. Returning to Byard Art for his third solo show ( 21 May-14 June) ; as a recently elected member of the Royal British Society of Artists, Lee’s most recent collection sends his audience on a pilgrimage glimpsing a world of peculiar sights, sounds and lives on their travels.

Q&A with Lee Madgwick

Where did you grow up?

I was born and grew up in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. A place very close to my heart.

How does where you live impact your creativity?

I’m constantly drawn to the East Anglian countryside and therefore it plays a heavy part in my work – particularly my beloved Norfolk and the somewhat mysterious setting of the Fens.

When did you know that you wanted to make a living as an artist?

I think it was sometime after my first solo exhibition. Painting and drawing was more or less a hobby up until then whilst I worked part time and continued my search for work in the advertising and design world. I soon realised sitting in front of a monitor wasn’t for me so embarked on my dream job.

Describe your path to what you’re doing now.

Although subjective, my latest paintings have a narrative set in curious, slightly eerie and isolated settings but I do also like the idea that the whole collection acts as a journey for the viewer, as if on an adventure or pilgrimage, glimpsing a world of peculiar sights, sounds and lives on their travels.

What helps your creative process and how do you get into the zone?

Walking helps. Simply being in the countryside, strolling along the coast or through a wood with my wife and dog is enough to clear and in-turn wake up and inspire mind.

What’s your media of choice?

I paint the skies in water-mixable oils with my hands and finger tips and once dry the foreground detail is painted in acrylic.

Your paintings always appear to have a narrative. What comes first the story or subject?

It’s a bit of both. I often have an idea of where I’m going with a piece but more often than not I let it evolve whilst I’m painting. I think that freedom is important. A narrative is almost always essential for me but intentionally never fully explained, I like to leave it to the viewer to come up with their own interpretation. I like to create mystery and a sense of drama – this can be moody, humorous, melancholic, otherworldly or all of the above.

What’s the strangest painting/commission you’ve ever created?

Over the years my paintings have slowly become slightly more surreal. Maybe it’s an age thing. This has led to some weird and wonderful commissions – so I really don’t know what strange is anymore.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating?

I very much enjoy long country walks, reading, going to the cinema and listening to music – the usual. I’m also a bit of an architecture/wannabe town-planner geek – so articles on such things keeps that part of my brain happy and for my wife to roll her eyes.

What makes you laugh?

I have a fairly dark sense of humour so – aside from my wife – comedy idols include the likes of Steve Coogan (Alan Partridge is my hero), Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, David Mitchell et al. Comedies like The Office, The Thick of It, The Day Today and Brass Eye will never fail to make me laugh.

Are you creatively satisfied?

Never.

What’s your philosophy in life?

To love, to be happy, to worry less.

What plans do you have for the future in terms of your creative work?

In terms of future work – I think it will continue to evolve. My head is full of ideas and stories so I hope to keep moving forward and getting better. I would also love the opportunity to paint large scale (if that’s possible).

If you could go back in time, what would you tell the younger Lee Madgwick?

After getting over the unbelievable excitement and the sheer wonder of time-travel I’d tell him to stop bloody worrying about everything.

What was the happiest moment of your life?

My wedding day was pretty special.