Artist of the Month: Steve Burden

May’s Artist of the Month is talented painter, Steve Burden. Steve graduated from Goldsmiths College, London with First Class Honours and Bath Spa University with a Masters Degree in Fine Art (distinction).

Inspired by his own experiences growing up on the Pepys Estate in Deptford, south London, his paintings investigate dystopian themes and ideas associated with British housing estates. He is interested in exploring the social issues that arose from the creation of this estate – security, isolation, control and gang culture – as well as its design and architecture, and the history of the site.

Steve is currently exhibiting his work in solo exhibitions at FAB and Black Swan Arts, with four more exhibitions already scheduled to take place across the country in 2017. We sat down with Steve to find out more about his captivating explorations of society and to explore his ideas and inspiration. Read the full interview below. As part of Artist of The Month, Steve will also be taking over our Instagram channel from 26th May – 2nd June. Follow us on ARTIQgram to see his posts!

What artists have influenced your practice?
Adrian Ghenie, Keith Coventry, Francis Bacon

What would you do if you weren’t an artist?
Be a boxer (see below)

How do you see your art as a part of our society?
My subject is all about my life on a housing estate – there’s not that many visual artists (that I know of) who grew up in a 24 storey council high rise in London – I see my paintings as part documentary – part metaphor and therefore an important social commentary on what living there was all about.

What’s the last exhibition you saw that made an impact on you?
Abstract Expressionism – Royal Academy of Arts

What is the one thing you cannot live without?
Decent coffee

What art do you, or would you, collect?
I wish I could collect anything by Bacon and Ghenie

What is the most memorable piece of art you have produced?
I think ‘Abattoir’ is one of the most memorable – the painting has done a lot of spade work with regards to my profile, won some awards and is going on tour this year starting with the Bristol Museum

Has any place or environment affected your work?
The Pepys Estate in Deptford (where I grew up) is central to my practice and at the heart of all my paintings.

What do you do in your spare time?
Box… Badly

Take us through the lifespan of creating a work of art
Starts with an idea I want to communicate, I then visualize the idea with collage, this is then relayed to the canvas, initially drawn in great detail and then I let the paint take over and create a new image – chance, accident, mistakes are all key to the process – without them its boring and expected. I want to create a painting that nobody could recreate – the marks are not replicable.

What advice would you give a younger you?
Follow your heart, money may be more honest but it does not fulfil your dreams.