VISIT TO SUSAN ASHWORTH'S STUDIO
Tucked away at the back of an industrial unit turned artists group studio in Hove, East Sussex *, is an unassuming orange door. Knock three times and it's open sesame. Sam Lock's place of painting is an Aladin's cave of mark making and process. But be sure to have some time on your hands because you'll want to stay a while.
Not that this is a place to cozy down. There's no sofa or creature comforts, except for a retired wingback armchair and a stereo. Sam starts and punctuates his working day by listening to music. Mostly it's Bob Dylan but there are others. There may be a seemingly simple line which plays on Sam's mind - or heart strings - for a while and in turn influences the direction and tempo of his work that day.
Sam's work is the act of painting. The process. He is a master facilitator of mark and form. Discovering questions that come about on his paintings then formulating different ways to find answers. It's this that will make you want to stay a while. The discussions that evolve with Sam about the act and results of painting are energising, inspiring and insightful. He can be prolific, and for good reason as he has galleries all over showing his creations. Large scale abstract canvases, energetic ink and pencil drawings and small gentle studies, like breathing.
Sam's favourite brush. It's the wear that makes the mark.
Whenever I visit Sam in his studio I come away with real satisfaction in my soul. There are dribbles and splashes on all surfaces; remnants and loss leaders. There are paintings and blank canvases ordered by size and level of completion. Big sheets of paper pinned to walls while their new surfaces are considered. A big bucket of brushes in soak, his favourite with a split handle and worn bristles which give the most interesting of marks.
There are pots of medium and paint, a heat gun and old rags. But there is method and order regardless. Like Sam's paintings, the space is considered and calm.
Last week I popped by to choose some pieces for Battersea AAF and discuss plans for the year ahead. The smell of art school hit me before I'd even opened the door. Sam was in his wingback looking for a Bob Dylan track on his phone, surrounded by some freshly-varnished paintings. Hence the aroma. Our chat that followed further scratched that art
school itch - conversations the like of which I can't recall having anywhere but in the most uplifting and least salubrious of artist studios. Musing on mark, process, shade, tone,memory, form, balance, emotion, mood, character, scale, substance, influence, music.
Time flies in Sam Lock's studio.
* Update: In March Sam Lock moved to big light-filled studio space along the coast a bit in Lancing. We'll pop in to see how he's getting on and report back soon ...
2017 Exhibitions & Plans
January 30 - February 11
Solo Show with Cadogan Contemporary, London
March 10-12 The Affordable Art Fair Battersea
FOUR-WALLS stand K9
May 12 - 14 The Affordable Art Fair Hampstead Heath
FOUR-WALLS stand K3