AAWatson is a London based self-taught artist working mainly with digital and screen-printing techniques. His work often includes darkly humorous elements that draw directly from his Scottish roots.
His journey to becoming an artist is a bit of an unconventional one having turned down a place at a top UK art school to pursue a career in the corporate world. With a successful career behind him, he has returned to his original passion but continues to split time been the corporate and art worlds as this gives him the freedom to explore what he wants to do and draw inspiration from multiple sources.
How did you first get interested in your mediums and what draws you to them specifically?
I have always liked combining traditional with contemporary. There is something about the juxtaposition between the two that can enhance each other in a subtle and less obvious way, which I try to bring into my work.
Although the focal point of my work are the words and phrases, I want to present them in a softer and more approachable format. I ultimately want to make the viewer smile, and I think using distressed gold leaf on top of a very traditional and formal image offsets perfectly with the more irreverent text.
Can you walk us through your process? How do you know when an artwork is finished?
My work generally starts as a reaction to something I have heard. A common phrase or saying, something in the news, or more often than not while sitting in a never-ending business meeting. I am always scribbling down thoughts and ideas whenever they pop into my head to develop further once I am back in my workspace.
I particularly like twisting common phrases to give them a new meaning or to use them in an unconventional way. The scale, positioning and flow of the text has a big impact on the overall look of the work, as well as how it fits with the background image, and will normally work through several iterations before landing on a final version.
What is the best advice given to you as an artist?
Applying gold leaf is not an exact science, at least not the way I do it, which means each print has a degree of variation. A fellow print maker once described this simply as ‘hand of the artist’ and that the variation made each one unique. As a life-long perfectionist this was completely liberating, and I now love all the little unplanned flecks of gold and marks that give each print its own character.