GORDON & CARON COLDWELL – The Sugar Cube Interview
First things first, how did you get started as an artist?
Caron – As a teenager, I sometimes worked with my father who had his own hand-painted furniture business (he also made paintings in his spare time). I did a Mature Students Foundation Art Course at my local college, which led me to do a Fine Art Degree Course in Exeter.
Gordon – It’s in my blood… I am half Dutch – there are artists, photographers and designers in the family. I was taught by an inspirational art teacher at school. I then studied art at university and went on to be an art and design lecturer and departmental head in colleges for 20 years.
Any advice you could pass on to aspiring arts of any age?
Become familiar with art history – who are your art heroes? Work hard to acquire drawing and other making skills and practice, practice. Acquire and develop art language skills such that you are able to describe in detail the nature of your works and the works of other artists. Love what you do! Seek out the right audience for your work. Aspire to create your own pictorial language.
How would you sum up your style of work in 120 characters?
Caron: Figurative, abstracted, nostalgic, hand crafted, hand painted, labour intensive, museum-like, colourful, Cheerful, precious, special.
Gordon: Intensely hot colour palette, humorous, crafted, figurative, interiors, stages, art about art, contemporary, neo Pop Art, digital.
The Sugar Cube Gallery is pretty small but is it the smallest gallery you’ve ever exhibited your work in?
Yes it is. BUT smallest doesn’t mean less care in choosing or hanging the right works. We aim to arrest the attention of those who enter the space.
As an artist is there a time of year you like best?
Caron: For me there isn’t a best time of the year… I just love making works whenever I can. Like with Gordon – It isn’t a hobby. It isn’t easy. It isn’t relaxing.
Gordon: I pretty much make artworks every day. It’s compulsive and I usually spend 8 or so hours every day doing something connected to my artworks. There isn’t a best time of the year… each day is the best time working on the challenges I set myself. It isn’t a hobby. It isn’t easy. It isn’t relaxing. It has taken me 41 years to get to the stage where I can spend most of my time making artworks. I have made 600+ in the past 2 years… it’s ‘the’ best time.
Caron: Paint + drawing + sketching + collage + print – having developed skills in their use, they are my chosen tools for externalising and finessing my ideas.
Gordon: Image Manipulation Software, paint + drawing – working with these tools together has enabled me to externalise a lifetime of ideas and images.
Which artist alive or dead would you most like to meet and why?
Caron: Joseph Cornell
Gordon: Richard Hamilton
Do you always have a sketchbook with you when you’re on the move?
Caron: Yes… working in my ideas/sketchbooks is a fundamental part of my practice.
Gordon: No… I don’t work in sketchbooks as such, however, in making every one of the 600+ works in the last 2 years, I have an archive folder that records every significant stage of progress in a work. The Archive Folders are a fundamental part of my working process.
A shared bottle of Shiraz wine… good food and watching multiple episodes of American TV programmes: The Wire, West Wing, Breaking Bad, House of Cards, Designated Survivor, Touch etc.
Where do you like working best – in a studio or out and about?
In our studio in the garden or working with computers in our office.
And finally, if you were allowed to keep (but not sell!) one work of art from any gallery or collection worldwide, which would it be?