Interview with Simon Casson “The Savoyards” (in progress)
Working with the stakeholders of 7 Savoy Court, Art Acumen proposed a brief and a short list of artists to be considered for a site specific commission for the reception. It was agreed that the selected artist would create a 4m x 1.5m painting referencing the contemporary and historical narrative of Savoy Court and its surrounding area.
Royal Academy trained artist, Simon Casson was selected for his beautiful, rich, historical narratives. Casson is as mythic as his paintings, described by the trendy New York interior designer Adam Tihany as “the Renaissance on LSD”. Casson is one of the most highly skilled painters of his generation. His paintings are broken historical narratives, fragmenting, shielding and obscuring, causing one to peek through layers and portals to another lining, another existence.
Simon spent time with the stakeholder group discussing themes and ideas, and followed this with a visual mapping of the composition. We have captured his approach to the commission in the interview below.
What does it mean to you to work in this setting at this scale?
When approached to bring forth a company’s musing of a painting that they will engage with every working day, to be passed by every visitor and every colleague, that they that feel will enhance the complexion of the workplace, especially in such a prestigious environment, is both an immense responsibility and a wonderful challenge.
When the painting is to be on a monumental scale, it is gift of an opportunity, the chance to play on a grand scale, skipping across the equivalent of the African plain of a grounded surface.
What themes did you pursue for this commission?
The fortunate artist is the one who is allowed the freedom to explore thematically, to focus more on the bigger picture of a beautiful completed, whole painting rather than a regimented list of requirements. The building stakeholders had faith and in pre-painting meetings a village of ideas was formed; Historic Thames, statuesque tall ships, the river running through the city, the warmth of the human form, alongside natural elements, a sense of space, an airy field of landscape and the sky. So back in the studio, a “Thomas Hardy esque” barn in rural Somerset, a canvas takes form, bathed in a milky February light.
How do you work? What inspires you?
The visual language grows and sprouts forth with each work, the brush strokes breed and multiply, with glazes, stains and tones layering to a finished patina, with a dove into an eclectic chest of inspiration, saturation of hue, just as likely to be inspired by the great Aslem Kiefer, François Boucher, as to the flaking paint palette of an old stable door.
“Savoyards” will be completed at the end of February and installed at 7 Savoy Court (opposite the Savoy Theatre), so please do come and see it!
Jan 30th, 2018