Warwick Saint, mixed media artist from South Africa. Photo © Courtesy of the artist
Tell us what you do and your beginnings.
My foundations are in photography. I was born in South Africa, where my mother was a well-known model in the 70s. As a result, I grew up around photoshoots. For nearly three decades I enjoyed a very successful career as an international photographer.
In 2018, I decided to challenge myself, pushing my creative boundaries to expand beyond the lens and into mixed media artworks, merging and integrating painting with photography.
What does your work aim to say?
I don’t seek as much to say something as much as I want to allow the work to speak to me and to the viewer. My experience of my work, through exploring the amalgamation of human forms and abstraction impacting each other, reveals to me, the complexity of the human experience.
Ultimately, we are the meaning-makers. The resulting complexity from my creative process allows the viewer to see in the work what is most meaningful to them, and this is what I want. I don’t want to prescribe anything to the viewer other than for them to have an authentic experience of their humanity when they look at and experience my art.
Where do you find inspiration in your art?
Inspiration is a mindset. As a photographer, I didn’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit, I would have to show up to shoots with concepts and ideas ready to go several times per week.
Therefore, from early on in my career, I learned to find inspiration everywhere and the only way to do that is to put myself into a beginner’s mind, like a baby seeing the world for the first time; to have a constant curiosity, even towards the mundane.
We’re inundated with overwhelming amounts of information and it’s the curation and amalgamation of this information in specific ways through a “mind filter” that, for me, yields a constant flow of inspiration.
Could you give us some insight into your creative process?
My process is twofold: the photographic phase and the painting phase. The photographic phase draws on my mastery of photography and light, paying special attention to the three-dimensional quality of the lighting and how it informs and envelops the figure.
Then, I will layer a few images over each other in photoshop to create imperfect compositions and complexity. This image, which I refer to as a ‘Lumascape’, is printed on a large canvas. The resulting visual incoherence of the ‘Lumascape’ can either be enhanced or simplified during the painting process. This is where new dynamic content emerges, often surprising me.
Each mixed media artwork is a journey into the full exploration of the image. In the beginning, I will have an idea of where I want to take it, but along the way, it shows me a better way. The final result is what I call ‘Lumadynamic Decomposition’. This process informs me more than I inform it.
What are your future projects?
Currently, I am working on my first solo shot slated for this October (2023). The show will feature between 20-30 entirely new, large-scale artworks that are a result of ‘Lumadynamic Decomposition’. I’ll be releasing more info about the solo show as the date gets closer on my socials.
Interview by Fabio Pariante, journalist / Twitter – Instagram