Taking inspiration from the natural world and the immediate processes favoured by Julian Schnabel, Eddie Martinez and Albert Irvin, Milla Eastwood is often described as an ‘action painter’. The young Londoner’s solo exhibition Drunk on Colour opens at The Dot Project on 10 December.
Can you tell us a little about the work that will be shown in Drunk on Colour?
I’m interested in creating a visual language, replicating a sensation through the matter of paint — drawing the various forms together to create a new image that is visually arresting, that possesses energy and tension. It is ultimately a new form that could not have been envisaged, developed and reactive to the conditions of its own making. Like a kind of visual poetry, at its core are selection, evaluation and editing, as well as the noticing and establishment of formal relationships.
How do you approach the use of colour in your work? Do you have clear plans before adding colour to canvas, or do you introduce different colours quite spontaneously?
Completely spontaneously. I never plan which colours I’m going to use but I normally try to limit myself to a few colours for each painting. It’s a difficult way of working because I don’t know what it’s going to look like, it either works or it doesn’t.
You’ve been described as an ‘action painter’. Do you consider your work to be about performance as well as mark-making?
I’m a private performer — you should see me! I’m running around the studio, trying not to step on tubes of paint, with tape in my mouth attaching my brush to my broom. The work is about responding to a sensation. The way I respond to the paint, I am also responding to everything I do day-to-day, as if I am trying to transfer everything about me that I see, feel and experience.
Much of your work is created outside, amongst nature. When did you begin to explore working in this way, and what do you feel it brings to you as a painter?
I don’t always paint outside, sometimes it’s too cold or there’re bugs flying into the paint. But working outside also gives me a sense of freedom and my experience is that my paintings are more gestural, bold and reactive when I am surrounded by the ‘natural’. There’s something so spellbinding about lush vegetation and organic forms that allows the mind to feel freer.
You’ve entered the art world at quite an exciting time for young painters — especially in London. Do you feel part of this wider movement?
For me, it’s galleries like The Dot Project who are on an exciting path of discovering new young artists. London is a creative hub full of private views that you find on instagram! It’s awesome to be a part of it.
Drunk on Colour is showing at The Dot Project from 10 December until 31 January 2016