An Interview with Louise McNaught
We interview one of the UK's most saught after artists Louise McNaught who is having a Curious Duke debut show this week!
Your new show is called ‘Edge of existence’ and the animals portrayed are a mixture of mythical and endangered species- what inspired this theme?
It was an extension of my previous solo show called 'Survival' where I started to look at endangered species and was so shocked by how many there were I soon realised it's more likely to become a body or work that spans several years rather than one solo show. Some of the pieces in this show and from 'Survival' will also be in a book I am creating with Templar Publishing due for release worldwide in 2018 which all about my artwork based on vulnerable, threatened, and critically endangered species. Its working title is currently 'Survival'. This current show 'Edge of Existence' features some lesser-known endangered species like the beautiful Secretary Bird and the Scalloped Hammerhead Shark, as well as some of the more well-known endangered animals. I also included a Unicorn in this show as it makes a statement that some of these animals will basically become like Unicorns - just existing in our minds but no longer in reality...
What do you want people to take away from your solo show?
I wanted to draw attention to the whole spectrum of endangered animals so there are tiny endangered butterflies like the stunning British Blue Butterfly right up to the Black Rhino, which are enormous! I wanted to show how beautiful each animal is, for example I have focused on just the wings of the White Admiral Butterfly and blown them up very big so people can see their iridescence in detail, and the Black Rhino has been depicted in intense detail in a large scale of the face so the viewer can see the 'baked-earth' like skin.
Have you had the chance to see any of the species you paint close up in real life? (not the unicorn)
Not really, I've only seen giraffes, elephants and rhinos in zoos so not that close up. I often use a macro lens when shooting them with a camera in zoos which helps to see them closer up.
What is your favourite piece from the collection?
I think the Indian Elephant and Black Rhino are on a par, I have never painted either before (only drawn) and am really pleased how well they came out.
How do you feel your style as an artist is developing, and what themes would you like to explore in the future?
I think I am definitely painting more than drawing now, and focusing much more on fine details which feels like I am coming back to my fine art roots. I would quite like to explore the theme of transcendence as I do love painting ephemeral animals such as butterflies and hummingbirds, and have really started to also
love painting animal skulls as of last year.
What is coming up next for you?
Lots and lots! The book called 'Survival'
I mentioned earlier is very much in process, then another solo show in July at Chappell Contemporary Gallery. I have several art fairs I am part of this year including Fresh Art Fair, Affordable Art Fairs in Hampstead (with Curious Duke), Bristol and Battersea.
As well as the Start Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery and the Animal Art Fair.
If you couldn’t be an artist, what would you be?
And now (to end on a light-hearted note…) If you were an animal, which animal would you be?