Winners Interview: The Big White Wall Project 2020, Lewis Buttery and Mateo Gabayet

by Cass Art

The Big White Wall Project has been running at University of the Arts London since 2013. The project is an opportunity for students to realise a temporary artwork on an unprecedented scale, exploiting the public spaces within UAL colleges. Initiated by the Dean of Academic Programmes at Central Saint Martins, the project has now expanded into a multiple-site exhibition across Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Art.

The Big White Wall Project is fully supported by Cass Art and Liquitex.

We caught up with this years winners Lewis Buttery and Mateo Gabayet to find out more about their practice, how they've found the experience and what materials they use. 

Hi both, thanks for taking the time to chat to us about The Big White Wall Project! Firstly, congratulations on being selected. How have you found the experience so far?

Lewis: No worries and thank you! I’ve found the experience so far has challenged my fear of doing project proposals, because the pressure has been taken off of me for the making process. I find the idea of sticking word-for-word to what I said I’d do restrictive and I’ve been encouraged to have a dialogue with the work, which has been freeing.

Mateo: I’ve found this opportunity enriching for my artwork in every aspect. I expanded my options for mediums, they turned my work into a different plastic experience. Working in the school’s lobby for a week has given me confidence and exposure with my peers and tutors. I am now ready and eager to transform more spaces with my loud paintings. Liquitex, Cass Art, Colart and Camberwell have been incredibly supportive and generous throughout the project, for which I am enormously grateful.

That’s great to hear. We’re looking forward to learning more about your work and experience of the project!


Mateo in front of his Big White Wall Project completed work

Could you tell us a bit more about your work and your influences?

My work reflects completely the context of my past. I draw inspiration form electronic music, I paint the way I would DJ for a crowd, I have a library of songs/stencils and I arrange them in a way they can blend and interact with each other. Creating a festive landscape of rhythm with repetition and energy with colour.

Untitled, Frit on glass - series of 11

What do you have planned for your design? And have you found it daunting working at such a large scale? 

I do not see scale as something intimidating. I compare a canvas (surface) as a stage, I want it to be large and loud. I meticulously prepare every little aspect and detail of my work, although when I assemble there is no clear image of how the finished work will look like, or to how a performance may sound. It comes together in a spontaneous and intuitive manner.

What materials are you using to create the work?  

The walls were primed with Liquitex Professional White Gesso, then I used a combination of Liquitex soft and heavy body acrylics applied with foam rollers. For effects and extra texture I used Liquitex Acrylic spray paint and acrylic-pigmented Liquitex modelling paste.

Big White Wall project

And what is it about these materials that you enjoy using? 

The modelling paste was particularly interesting to use on a piece like this. It transformed the piece into semi-sculptural painting in which I intend to research further in the future.

I love the idea that you can ‘see sound and hear shapes’ – how else are you planning to explore the relationship between the audio and the visual in your work?

Intend to carry on developing the two disciplines simultaneously, aiming to find new ways to bind them together. As Bruce Neumann said, ‘a true artist helps reveal mystical truths’. I am looking for my truth, researching what is it in these vibrations that resonate with in me and flow through me with such ease.

Untitled, spray paint onf metal

Finally, what’s next on the horizon?

I have foreseen an animation project and a screen printing series. It is not the first time I've tried animating my patterns, I hope it will bring the work to a new dimension with the possibility of movement. Screen printing will allow me to overcome he limitations posed by stencils, for I won’t have the need for paper joints to support the structure.



Lewis in front of his Big White Wall Project completed work - 'Affirmations'

Could you tell us a bit more about your work and your influences?

The direction of my work comes from a bad week that I was having, when I had a positive affirmations video playing in the background for my own benefit and wanted to make work from it. I was influenced to put them in public spaces by a train of thought about how people internalise what they hear/read and I felt like, with that in mind, it was the least I could do to try to promote positivity.

What do you have planned for your design? And have you found it daunting working at such a large scale?

I have it planned to suspend words of affirmation for one layer, then a separate textured layer suspended behind that. There are two walls that are 13 metres long each, so I have found it daunting with the logistics of working at such a large scale.

Big White Wall Project work in progress

What materials are you using to create the work?

The materials I’m using to create the work are Liquitex Professional Soft Body Acrylic Paint on canvas and rolls of brown paper on the walls behind the layers. For parts of the painting process I’m using a Liquitex Pouring Medium with the acrylic and for other aspects I’m using Liquitex Thickening Gels and Pastes.

Big White Wall Project work in progress

And what is it about these materials that you enjoy using?

The thing I enjoy using about the materials is their versatility, because all of the stuff I’m using can be mixed together. For the textured canvas layer I’ve filled out my titanium white paint with extra gesso, but then thickened it with a modelling paste medium and thickening additive.

Affirmations - Big White Wall Project

The statements you use in your work are affirmative and positive, you also hope that your audience will help you to spread this positivity – a wonderful sentiment! As an artist it can sometimes be difficult to find motivation, do you find that working with phrases like these help you to retain these attitudes yourself?

I don’t know if I’d say I hope that my audience spreads this positivity, although obviously it’s great if they do, it’s more about me spreading the positivity to them! It’s like I was saying earlier, I mean, I made the affirmations for myself first. So the point of them was to help retain my own affirmative and positive attitudes before anything else.

Affirmations - Big White Wall Project

Finally, what’s next on the horizon?

What’s next on the horizon is looking into promoting positivity with the figurative side of my painting practice. I’m thinking about how a theme that pops up in positive music is using the weather as a metaphor for happiness. I’m thinking of using the same metaphor; storms pass, but the Sun always rises again after it sets.


Liquitex products are fulling intermixable, which means you can use any Liquitex Acrylic product with each other. From spray paint to pens, acrylic soft body to mediums there are no limits to your creativity with Liquitex.

Feeling Inspired?

Find out more about The Big White Wall Project 2020 and how to see Lewis and Mateo's work in the flesh

Find out more about Liquitex Intermixability and be mesmerised by their Acrylic Paints, Inks and mediums in action in our blog.

Pop in-store or shop online for everything you'll need to get you started with your next project. Our staff artists will be more than happy to give you advice on materials. Don't forget to hashtag #cassart on social media to show us your creations. 

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