Billy Fraser: Untitled

Billy Fraser

Artwork’s Title: Untitled

Materials Used: Oil paint over stretched canvas panel

Year: 2018

Studio Based: Bermondsey, London

Billy Fraser, untitled 160 x 120 cm, oil paint, on stretched canvas panel. 2018

Art Verge

Can you tell us about the process of making your work? 

Billy Fraser

An idea or phrase might play on my mind for several days, like  song you cant get out of your head. Chance notes, combined with daily observations, jokes….. musings… make up an A6 sketchbook… almost completely illegible to outsiders…. you can blame my handwriting for that. The second sketchbook which I carry at all times is A5 graphed sketchbook. Here the note taking and observations become visual ideas, sketches, proposals, all recorded within a space of constant reflection, consideration and refinement.

Sometimes the next step could be digital compositions… making bespoke canvas stretchers… painting, sculpture…. or of the past two years also experimental curation. Whatever medium the artworks I make, all tie into a far larger picture / ‘timeline‘ which my practice is focused upon.

The ‘timeline‘ Stems from extensive research into a classical understanding of different sublime experiences (as outlined by E.Burke and revised / revisited by I.Kant shorty after) …

How would you define your work in a few words (ideally in 3 words)?

Storytelling, totally absurd, horrific.

Would you use another three different words to describe the “untitled” painting?

The past  – present – the future.

How did you come up with this painting idea? Is there any story behind this painting?

Two bodies of work, the Devonian and Godzilla’s collide within this painting.

Each day In the studio I would paint the melancholy monochrome Godzilla’s in the morning and the uplifting Devonian samples as a sort of reward during the evening…. The (painting) tying together of the two series was quite natural, the work transcends between the very beginning and the very end, my current lines of enquiry.

What colour is used the most in this painting?

Green or grey… depends on what you class as colour.

What would be the best way to exhibit your work?

My practice is fundamentally engaged with ideas surrounding the notion of display within painting. For me it depends on the show context etc. I am working on a large Monolith Godzilla painting at the moment, roughly 200 x 75 x 15 cm, the aim is to exhibit the work free standing outside of the gallery.

Can you mention any artists you, lately or generally, take inspiration from?

Hard question with a million answers. Currently I find myself most interested in the early curatorial collaborations of G.Richter, S. Polke & k. Fischer during the Neue Realisten movement & Damien’s antics around the early YBA era / Frieze, sensations, exhibitions.

How do you know when this painting was finished? 

hahaha thats a good question deserving of a sophisticated answer… sorry! Best case scenario I will paint for the rest of my life.

I won’t pretend I have any coherent understanding of the medium just yet….

What about the place where you work? What’s your studio space look like?

My studio benefits from high ceilings and skylights throughout. We keep the space clean, most walls which I can fit a wet painting on are occupied. for me I find it essential to have few things on the go at any one time and not feel confined to a single medium / output / categorisation. Because of this I am really keen to marry my sculptural works with paintings.

Is there any particular message that you wish your viewers can take from this painting? 

The tension between the serene and the serious? Between the beginning and the end? The uncertainty and contradictions we face right now I guess?

What does your mum think about your art?

My mum is wonderful and has supported my practice / artwork since day one ….  Even an entirely black graphic series of works in 2015. (was far too out there for my gran however).

Which exhibition did you visit last?

‘Carton’ publication launch at the drawing room last night – (followed by an absinthe tickle at the Spit and Sawdust).

Which are your plans for the near future? 

2019 – 2020 Myself, Charlie Mills, & James Capper are hosting a year long emerging arts programme comprised of 4 back to back shows titled ABSINTHE. Show 2 opens on the 18th of may, All the details can be found at Please do stop by if  in London!  …. oh and tons of Godzilla art works…

Additional Works

Billy Fraser, Devonian Sample I (Natural), oil paint, stretched canvas over panel. 50 x 60 cm, August 2018 One of 8 Devonian Sample paintings. Shown for Reunion, Assembly point, August, 2018
Billy Fraser, Kingdom II 183 x 244 cm, oil paint, on stretched canvas panel, 2017
Billy Fraser, White Rabbit (Technological), 28 x 28 x25 cm, 25kg Casting resin, resin dye, Laser cut UV reactive perspex, 3D Printed figures, UV light source, 2018

© All images are courtesy of the artist

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