Artist Trudie Moore loves colour, as a quick glance at her abstract, geometric and often neon-infused canvases will demonstrate. However she also loves interiors, and has recently taken on a number of commissions to create art for homeowners tailored specifically to their own home and space. From site visits to measuring up specific walls for a perfect fit, she talks us through the process of artist and homeowner working together to create a symbiotic work of art, and tells us why her own home is one giant canvas.
Tell us about the role of colour in your paintings? What inspires them and what are you trying to achieve?
“I’m quite a purist about painting and so colour is an intrinsic part of my paintings. As my work is abstract the components of the paintings have to be carefully considered from process to composition, colour, the type of paint I use and the concept of how I work and interact with the paint and the surface. Colour is critical to pulling all the painting’s elements together and in making a piece work. If I want to create a harmony or a clash or to move the eye around the painting I can do it with a shape or a mark but what really creates that is the colour be it used in a rigid or a free way.”
You accept commissions to create paintings for specific homes – how do you work with the homeowner to create something that works with their space?
“I’ve always accepted commissions and it’s only been recently that I understood why I was so drawn to doing them. I don’t think art only belongs in galleries but in homes and spaces where it can help create a stimulating environment. My early paintings mostly went into nightclubs, hairdressers and coffee shops where the space was already defined but they worked really well. With commissions it’s usually that the client has already picked out their wallcoverings and furniture and they have something in mind that has come from seeing my work so this helps to set the direction of the piece because it creates boundaries for me to work within.
“I don’t think art only belongs in galleries, but in homes
where it can help create a stimulating environment”
I’ll always make a point of going into that space to get a feel for the customer and their personality and style. I measure up and discuss the possibilities with them. I see the environment they have built as an extension of their personality so I make sure that the work, while being essentially a piece of my work, reflects them. I never want to introduce something that I think will be alien to them and I want them to feel like what I create responds to their needs. The size and shape of the piece is important too. I can have canvases made to the exact size that will work with their available space and work with the rhythms of objects that are in their space so that the piece feels like it’s the right scale. It’s about enhancing and creating a feeling within their environment.”
Can you tell us a bit with how you are working with your current client?
“I’ve started work with a couple of architects on a project for their self-build sustainable house, an open-plan contemporary space. We started discussing the project early on in their planning process before the walls and finishes started to go in as the idea was to make a painting that was more an intrinsic part of the room and was approached in the manner of an installation. The couple planned to create storage within the room that was hidden away and as previous buyers and commissioners of my work were interested in having me create something on a larger scale to work as quite a big feature over that.
Now that they have nearly completed the project and have just moved in I have returned for additional site visits and have created test panels to give a visual idea of the larger piece. The collaboration of working on a project like this is rewarding in a different way to that of working with another type of painting commission client – the design constraints are different due to the architect’s own sense of aesthetic and the discussion of the possibilities can be both really precise and specified but also opens up a whole new range of ideas. I find it quite liberating and it helps to push me forward.”
What sort of colour combinations are you naturally drawn to?
“I am absolutely obsessed with trying to use the cleanest feeling colours and least standard colours. By this I mean primary colours because they feel really limiting and basic so I seek out colours that feel as though there are infinite possibilities, the colours that are unexpected. Whenever I try to restrict my palette I keep getting thrown back to using multiple brights which seem to work better for me.
I recently came across a new range of neon acrylic paints and these have enabled me to paint in the very brightest of pigments without the colour I have mixed changing on drying. I got so excited about using neons that I bought a Neon and Pastels Pantone swatch book so that I could feast on the huge range of colour coded neons but their corresponding pastels are also a great joy to work with. One painting I’m working on at the moment has a pastel spearmint green-blue against neon red and a mid tone violet and that combination is really satisfying.
I have a huge aversion to moody, muddy and dirty non-colours, particularly beige and brown. I grew up in a house where all the surfaces were patterned in beige, brown and green which makes me feel claustrophobic and to this day I still feel the need to keep it clean and spacious.”
What is your own home like?
“I think the background in art training has given me an eye that sees the house as a cohesive space that can be composed and choreographed as a whole to work together rather than focusing on the small detail. I tend to treat the entire room as a painting and so all of my furniture is quite sculptural and has a place on its own in the room.
Our lounge used to be white on white and was quite minimal but over time that’s morphed and now it’s a neutral grey background with pops of neon built up as though the walls, ceiling and skirting were all the canvas and the objects in the room are the gestures within a painting, but really the finished result is that it looks a little like it’s on trend. Some years ago when I was working on some pink paintings in gloss paint it led me to paint the stairs bright pink. It looked really minimal and quite adventurous for a 1950’s semi – but it seemed to fit the style better than having a carpet.”