Meet the artist... Ant Hamlyn
Ant Hamlyn portrait

What was the inspiration behind the piece(s) in not just a shop?

The work has been made in response to negativity and uncertainty within contemporary society. Instead of signage which is designed to tactically advertise, propagate, patronize or instruct; it has been made in search for purity, spirituality and as a rejection of cynicism. Offering a recollection of elation. The work exists as an extension of the conscious mind. An intimate conversation with the self.

Who has influenced your work the most?

I’m increasingly influenced by music; artists like Nick Cave, John Lennon and Pink Floyd. They all seem to have a unique way of blending the elements to create total mastery. Also stage magic, particularly the book ‘Hiding the elephant’ by Jim Steinmeyer which sheds light on the techniques, mechanisms and inventions behind the golden era of magic. In terms of visual artists, I’ve always admired Marcel Duchamp‘s genius and I love a bit of William Kentridge.

What do you want viewers to take away from your work?

I like my work to linger on the mind. You go away, do something else and then it hits you. And you say ‘I see what he was doing there.’

What three things are essential to your practice?

– To be excited about what I’m doing, if the spark isn’t there in a work I am making, then its usually a sign for me that the work isn’t right at this moment.

– Timing, preparation and project management – I’m usually working on 2/3 pieces at once that require a lot of engineering and tinkering so I have to be very on it with timing and planning ahead.

–   I draw all the time, and I write down all the stupid things that pop into my head, because they probably came for a reason. Both drawing and writing are fantastic ways to get thoughts into a physical state. I often design works that I don’t make and write things I won’t read. It’s like having an unlimited resource of stuff to sift through.

What is the most inspiring place or exhibition you’ve been to in London?

Damien Hirst had a retrospective in the Tate Modern a few years ago and we stayed in there for about 4 hours. It was absolutely brilliant.