Current chief creative officer at Ogilvy China, youngest ever president at D&AD and listed in the top 22 art directors of all time, Graham Fink's impressive repertoire isn't coming to a close any time soon. Cass Art is enormously proud to have supplied materials for Fink's current exhibition NOMADS, at the Riflemaker gallery. NOMADS explores Fink's relationship with common surfaces, in which his insistent pareidolia plays the lead role. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon where attaining significant images in common places is inescapable, an example of this is seeing figures or animals in clouds or faces on cars. We spoke to Fink for a further insight.
First of all, congratulations on your exhibition, can you tell us a little about what inspired you to showcase your work?
NOMADS is the title of my first ever solo show. The name comes about from me constantly being on a journey. An explorer. I noticed that whenever I doodle I always draw little arrows wandering around the page. Whenever I walk down a street I am always looking for something and over the years I started to discover faces in the walls, cracks in pavements, flaking paint or in the grain of a piece of wood.
These pareidolia seem to come out of nothing. It's like seeing the man in the moon or monsters in clouds...most people never even notice them. But once I get my camera out and set it to Macro I can get right in close and reveal their beauty. Over the years I have collected thousands of these 'ghosts' and decided to that I had to put them on show.
Why was it that you chose to have your works printed onto marble? And how was this achieved?
I've been looking over the years for a surface to print my photographs on that had meaning. I experimented with all sorts of art paper, concrete and even copper, but couldn't find what I needed. Then the idea of marble hit me.
I don't actually print a white layer, but use the whiteness of the stone to play its part, amalgamating with the stone.
The marble is very special and comes from the quarries of Thassos in Greece. It's the purest, whitest marble on earth. No veins.
The printing is a special technique I developed after a lot of experimenting.
Aside from photography, are there any other mediums and materials that you love to use?
I have also 4 paintings in the show which I created in concrete and smashed up pumice stone mixed with acrylics. I like the way I can build up many layers to give the surface a sculptural quality.
I also have 3 animated films projected onto the wall of the gallery. Each one starts with a very simple line that appears out of nowhere and gradually builds up into a face. As the film progresses the face is eventually destroyed by the animation itself.
I created these by scratching directly into the emulsion of 16mm film with various blades.
Obviously this is very hard on the eyes as the surface area is literally one or two centimetres across. All in all around 2500 individual frames were 'carved'. The sound design was created with a high powered microphone picking up the noises of the blade as I scratched into the celluloid. Each piece is unique.
Which Cass Art store did you visit? Can you tell us what was in your shopping basket?
The ones in Kensington and Soho. I remember buying a hell of a lot of acrylic paint and some woodcutting blades. An easel, many paintbrushes and palette knives. All my usual art equipment was back in China (I now live in Shanghai) and although I had some paintings transported over, I wanted to keep on working right up to the point of the show.
We believe that everyone should have the opportunity for a creative outlet, how important is that for you?
It's the reason I get up in the morning.
Do you have any more plans to exhibit work in the future?
I will keep developing my work, sketching, painting and consulting the street.
As far as my exhibition is concerned, I hope that it will visit a few other cities around the world.
After all, NOMADS must travel.
NOMADS will be on display until 22nd January at the Riflemaker gallery, Soho. The nearest tube station is Oxford Circus. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest on London exhibitions and don’t forget to stock up on your own supplies from our online shop.