EK Interview: Jeremy Geddes

Jeremy Geddes (featured previously in January 2010 and was one of the TOP 100 Artist of 2010) isn’t from Earth, it would take three months of practice for the human tongue to pronounce the first letter of his planet’s name, of which there are thirty four so Jeremy generally saves himself the bother and tells people he’s from Mars.

Upon reaching earth he didn’t realize the magnetic field was so strong, coming from a planet lacking a ferric core his spaceship was ill equipped to handle the magnetic charge and was ruined. He has, however, discovered that his human prosthesis works just fine when it comes to turning his ideas into art. Read more about how awesome it is to be Jeremy Geddes:

art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an artist? What have you learned from it?
Trying to find efficiencies in my painting method is always a big challenge, to help speed up the
amount of time my paintings take. I always have more images waiting in the mental cue than I can
ever actually produce, so I’m anxious to strip out redundancies and rework from my practise and
find ways to achieve effects in a simpler manner. I want to squeeze in a few more paintings without
adversely affecting the quality of my output.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

How has that affected your work, your style?
It has probably made my painting better I think, particularly in the fine brushwork. In the process of
finding faster techniques for rendering I feel like I’m building a style that is more dynamic at the fine
detail level. I always want the painting to be just as interesting when you have your nose to the work
as when you are standing back from it, and I think this is helping me achieve that.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

For your paintings, you tend to use with oil paint on linen canvas. What is it about those particular
materials that appeals to you? Have you used other mediums in the past?

I occasionally use linen, but usually I work on board, which I go to for its ease of preparation, and its
ability to manipulate once I’m painting. (If I want to alter the composition, I can always cut a section
off, whilst this is a major headache if I’m working with linen). Board tends to hold paint marks in a
more textured manner as well. This isn’t necessarily a better thing, but it’s become a factor that I’ve
worked into my method of painting and can use to my advantage.

What are the dominating ideas you integrate into your work?
I’m not sure about the word ‘ideas’, I don’t think that painting is a great medium to express coherent
and fully formed ideas, and so I tend not to think along those lines. Instead, I’m more interested in
constructing images that are dissonant to some degree, which set up situations that the viewer has
to resolve. I think the strength of a painting comes in how much or little information the painter
gives to the viewer to aid that resolution.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

Where do you find inspiration? What’s your source material? Do you have use models or photos or
do you go to a location and work there?

I take a lot of photos when I’m out, so I’ve always got many ideas lying around to help spark the
beginnings of a painting. Having decent reference as a base (be it photographic or life) is a must, but
it will only get you so far; you have to find a way beyond it.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

It’s probably more accurate though to say that the genesis for any particular painting lies in music, I
usually use a particular piece to help me find the emotional thru-line of a painting, to give me clues
in what to add and what to subtract.

How long does the average piece take you to complete?
It’s in the range of months; they can vary between 1 and 5-6 in extreme cases, depending on the
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

Can you name some artists that have inspired you?
Early on I was very focused on figurative work, so the artists I was looking at tended to be working in
that field, people from the 19th Century like Leon Bonnat, William Bouguereau and modern painters
such as Phil Hale, Kent Williams, Steven Assael and Ashley Wood.

As my paintings have ‘pulled back’, and begun to see the figure as another element within a larger
environment I’ve been looking at painters like Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper and Antonio Lopez
. However I try to keep looking at other painters work down to a minimum. I’m focused on
finding my own way through my images, and seeing work by other painters you admire usually just
pulls you off course.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

How has their work affected your own? How have their ideas manifested in your own work?
I couldn’t say, no doubt they are all in there to some degree or another.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

What differences do you see in the work you made when you first began painting and your work
now, use of colors; brush strokes; subject matter?

Wow, pretty much everything. I very much see painting as a craft, something that has to be learnt
over time, so it’s no surprise that my early work was very lacking in all elements, from technique
and brush marks to composition and subject matter. It’s all about small and constant refinements.
Hopefully I’ll look back in ten years and say the same thing about my work now.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

What do you think is the cause of these changes?
The only mental state that can ever allow improvement is to never be satisfied with your work. If
you look at a painting of your own and can’t see anything wrong, then you have no avenues for
advancement next time around.

Can you give some advice to beginning artists?
Begin working, start somewhere and try to see how you’re failing. Fix that failing and begin again.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

How has the field of painting changed since you first began? How do you see it changing in the next
few years?

I honestly don’t leave my studio to peer around at the outside world that often, so I’m pretty
clueless to what’s happening in the art world around me. If I see a painter who moves me in one way
or another then I’ll pay attention to that work, but really everything else is a distraction. I tend to
ignore it.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

How do you see your own work changing in the next few years? Can you tell us what you’re working
on next; series; shows?

I’ve pretty much got the next few years mapped out in my head. As my paintings take so long to
finish there’s usually a queue. My next batch of paintings is pretty complex and daunting to me right
now, but I feel like I’m slowly beginning to find my way through the brambles.

From a technical perspective they’re about taking what I’ve already learnt and using it as a base to
build another layer of complexity on top of. From a subject matter perspective, they’re an evolution
of where I’ve been pointed at recently. I don’t want to go into too many details yet, but if they work
out they should be an interesting batch of paintings.
art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

What part of New Zealand are you from? Do you miss it living in Melbourne?
Unfortunately I moved from New Zealand when I was very young, so my recollections are only those
of a young child, scattered remnants infused with pieces of dreams and wishes. Really not enough to

art blog - Jeremy Geddes - Empty Kingdom

Have you ever run over a kangaroo?

No, thankfully.