In Process - a series of studio visits with artists, makers, dancers, musicians and other creatives.
Fergus Cooper is a London-based fine artist. He graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2017. This is the first in a series of posts documenting some of the artists on the Florence Trust residency programme at work in mid-June 2018.
How would you describe your practice in a sentence? What excites you at the moment?
I work primarily with painted layers that I décollage. My current work deals with themes of commercialism in relation to the self, in particular privacy as a commodity.
What unusual habit or absurd thing do you love? This could be a studio ritual or something in your wider life…
Pigeons and cheese puffs
Who are your art icons and why? Who or what is the biggest non-art influence on your work?
I recently discovered Duggie Fields, I'm not sure how he passed me by previously, so I've been intently researching his work and it feels like he could be about to be my new hero.
Outside of art I adore John Waters. I'm using his film 'Pecker' as an instruction manual for cracking the art world.
What made you choose the materials and techniques that you use? How have they changed over time?
Because I work with paint and paper it's mainly been a process of trial and error to stop things warping and falling apart. I have developed a top secret recipe of primer...
My indispensible tool right now is a black Posca marker.
How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a ‘favourite failure’?
Actually most of my works are dictated by the failures. I tend to work in a décollage fashion, and anything that's not going to plan I simply remove. I suppose my favourite failure, then, would be the first piece of work where I was so frustrated at how badly it was going that I decided to tear it because it couldn't get any worse.
What do you do when you are feeling uninspired or overwhelmed?
I paint pigeons. I have an ongoing series of pigeons eating things that they found on the floor. If I'm stuck then I revert to the pigeons - I know exactly what I'm doing there and they allow me to create something without having to use brain power.
The below images show Fergus's finished installation at the Florence Trust Residency programme 2017-2018 final show.