Bowie, Cash and Presley. Which other musicians influence the energetic, highly ambitious artist Ian Davenport? Here the British painter shares his go-to studio soundtrack and tells us about the impact of music on his life and work (he even has a drum kit in his South London studio).


“Music has had an impact on my life from a very early age. One of the first songs I remember being totally captivated by was Elvis’s version of Suspicious Minds. I heard it on the radio and felt incredibly moved. It was after watching the marching bands play in Ireland as a child that I wanted to learn to play the drums, and I built myself a drumkit out of tin cans and coffee cups.

“When I went to art college, I took classes in music and dance alongside my studies in the visual arts and became interested in the relationship between these disciplines. Rhythm and timing continues to be an important aspect of my painting. There’s a repeated, pulsing beat that runs through all my work and each painting has its own colour harmonies.

Ian Davenport in his studio, with new paintings for his exhibition Colourscapes at Waddington Custot, 20 September to 8 November 2018. Photo by Jooney Woodward

“It is not so much that I want to be influenced by the songs themselves, but that listening to music helps me to focus my mind”

“I have a DW drumkit in my studio, and I often listen to music while I’m painting. I listen to so many different genres, from classical to rock/pop and country. I find this helps to take me to a more creative space.

“The songs that I have chosen for this playlist are each important to me in different ways. Each song represents a musical genre or approach, and each also represents a particular moment in my life and has a particular resonance because of this. If I had to pick just one favourite it would be Perfect Day by Lou Reed.”

Ian Davenport, Turquoise and Orange Study (After Bonnard), 2018. Acrylic on aluminium mounted on aluminium panel, 101.6 x 101.6 cm
Turquoise and Orange Study (After Bonnard), 2018. Acrylic on aluminium mounted on aluminium panel, 101.6 x 101.6 cm



Ian Davenport: Colourscapes

From 20 September to 8 November


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