Artist of the Week: Steven Cox

Steven Cox is a Scottish abstract artist that lives and works in the capital city of Edinburgh. Cox received his MA in Contemporary Art Theory and Curating from Edinburgh College of Art in 2011, and his BFA from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee in 2008. His work has been shown with Halsey McKay Gallery, V1 Gallery, Brand New Gallery Milan, Galleri Jacob Bjorn and Ana Cristea Gallery. In January 2015, Cox opened his first solo exhibition with Annarumma Gallery in Naples, and in February, his first solo exhibition with Ana Cristea Gallery in New York.

Steven Cox Portrait

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. I live in Edinburgh and have done so for just over five years. I spend pretty much every day in my studio which is located two minutes from my house, so I have a regular routine of going back and forth from my house to my studio several times per day. I paint, listen to music, drink too much coffee and hang out with my cat.

How long have you lived in Edinburgh and what brought you there? I moved from Dundee where I completed my undergrad in painting at Duncan of Jordstone College of Art. I moved to Edinburgh specifically to do my masters degree in Art Theory and Curating at Edinburgh College of Art. I guess, when I first moved to Edinburgh my main intention was to become more active in curating, though over the years my focus as a painter became more dominant.

An Ode To No One, Halsey McKay Gallery. Image courtesy of Halsey McKay Gallery

An Ode To No One, Halsey McKay Gallery. Image courtesy of Halsey McKay Gallery

How has living in Edinburgh affected your art practice? Since moving here, I have done quite a lot. For my master’s degree at Edinburgh College of Art, I curated a pretty substantial exhibition that amongst others, involved two Turner Prize’s nominees, one being Duncan Campbell who just won the 2014 Turner Prize. A well as this curatorial project, I started Hunted Projects; this initially began as a curatorial project that slowly transformed into becoming an online interview platform where I have over the years conducted dialogues with some really exciting artists. Despite now focusing fully on my own personal work, the curatorial part of me is still exists. In February 2015, an exhibition I curated, titled Altered States, opened at Galerie Jerome Pauchant in Paris. It features the artists Graham Collins, Evan Robarts, Ryan Wallace, Jan S Hansen and Niall McClelland. It feels great to get back into curating on the side.

As a city, Edinburgh has been an interesting base for me to work and develop. There are some really great people living in this city, and there is a lot of energy.

Untitled Art Fair, Miami, Halsey McKay Gallery Image courtesy of Halsey McKay Gallery (Sculptures by Denise Kupfershmidt)

Untitled Art Fair, Miami, Halsey McKay Gallery
Image courtesy of Halsey McKay Gallery (Sculptures by Denise Kupfershmidt)

Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?

contemporaryartdaily.com– A regularly updated website that showcases current international exhibitions. Always a pleasure to see what is happening.

painters-table.com– Another regularly updated website that provides links to interviews and reviews from a diverse range of blogs and sites. Some interesting finds are always on offer.

Youtube.com – I regularly watch artist interviews and documentaries on Youtube. As well as this, I find fails and pranks ridiculous to watch.

What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Recently I have been re-visiting some older work of my own that features both delicate and heavy brush marks. The older palette is also interesting me again. I have been quietly working on some new dark works in my studio that are exploring gestural brush marks. Some of these new works of mine were featured in my solo exhibition at Annarumma Gallery, Naples.

Ode, (Cutty Gun), Oil and Spraypaint on Canvas, 120cm x 90cm, 2014 Image courtesy of Steven Cox

Ode, (Cutty Gun), Oil and Spraypaint on Canvas, 120cm x 90cm, 2014
Image courtesy of Steven Cox

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? I have had a pretty busy spell over the past few months; I have recently exhibited in Ghost Current, a group show at V1 Gallery in Copenhagen. As well as this, I was featured in a group show curated by Ted Gahl, titled Volatile that was held at Galleri Jacob Bjorn in Aarhus.

What artists are you interested in right now? I tend to look at a real mix of artists and the list changes pretty regularly, some of which include Ellsworth Kelly, Michael Krebber, Jules Olitski and Blinky Palermo. Though publications by Sergej Jensen, Matt Connors and Leo Gabin are not too far away from my desk at the moment.

Ode (Scotch), Acrylic, Enamel, Spray Paint and Oil on Canvas, 100cm x 80cm, 2014. Image courtesy of Steven Cox

Ode (Scotch), Acrylic, Enamel, Spray Paint and Oil on Canvas, 100cm x 80cm, 2014.
Image courtesy of Steven Cox

If you were a drink what drink would you be? A Hemmingway Daiquiri.

What do you want a viewer to walk away with after seeing your work? Perhaps with a work of mine under their arm…bought, not stolen.

What’s your absolute favorite place in the world to be? Antwerp in Belgium; I love the city. It is relaxed, has some great districts and both the restaurants and bars are fantastic. I have been twice and would like to go again sometime soon.

Fear’t Fallow, Oil and Spray Paint on Canvas, 100cm x 80cm, 2014 Image courtesy of Steven Cox

Fear’t Fallow, Oil and Spray Paint on Canvas, 100cm x 80cm, 2014
Image courtesy of Steven Cox

Describe your current studio or workspace. My current studio is actually too small for what I need, and I am regularly searching for a space at least four times the size, though there is nothing in Edinburgh available. My studio is pretty packed with works in progress and the floor is usually a clutter of canvas off-cuts, old staples, spray-paint cans, hessian strips, paint brushes, old t-shirts, empty paint cans and water bottles. The floor itself is covered in paint and the walls are smeared in paint too. I have a desk that is covered in stuff, and I have a mass of books, magazines and some old paintings stored away.