Bird x Gregory Mason Cloth
He is an associate of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Professional Oil Painting Ambassador for Cass Art and a recent finalist on both Sky Arts Portrait and Landscape Artist of the Year TV shows.
Captured in oils as only Gregory can do, this cloth is a celebration of our Blackcap frame and beautifully speaks to our mission to reframe the world for the better.
Here's Gregory's Reframe Your World story:
1. What does being an artist mean to you?
When I was young, I used to worry that I was a bit different to some of my friends because my memory was always better for images than words - my study notes always a jumble of drawings and doodles as that was how I could best process information.
Now I see these traits as a gift - the artistic persona is just one of many that make up the diversity of human expression and I embrace it as something I can fully inhabit and a place I can speak from as I filter and reflect on the world around me though my work.
2. What challenges did you need to overcome as an artist (or personally) to reach the level you're at?
There are many challenges in developing a creative practice - not just in art, but in music, dance or any creative expression. For me, the primary challenge was developing the skills necessary to represent my subject with integrity, showing respect for both the medium and the message. Before becoming a professional painter, I had a 20 year career as an art director, working with some of the worlds top models and photographers, capturing the beauty of the human form - but mostly from a fashion perspective.
When I swapped the camera for a paint brush, I instinctively drew on the experience of working with models and found someone who was prepared to pose in my studio every week for about a year whilst I created a series of canvasses out of sight. It was a real struggle, but at the end of the year I felt brave enough to show the work. I sold some paintings - it was a step in the right direction and a real confidence builder.
Fast forward a few years… and today, with work in many collections, having appeared on two seasons of Sky Arts Artist of the Year Show and recently being elected an Associate of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, I can honestly say that success has always come as a result of having the right skills and a determination to keep going even when the path might not be clear.
3. Has producing art changed or altered your outlook on life?
Using art as a way of intentionally processing what is in front of me, be it a figure, a landscape or a collection of objects is fascinating - making choices about what to celebrate and highlight and what to leave out and how to construct that into a narrative. These are skills not just for art but for living as well, how we process the world, create our own highlights and make our own individual statements.
In fact, one of the things I love most about being an artist is where it takes you. I was privileged to be invited to spend a month in a remote hilltop town in Italy, which had been tragically hit by an earthquake, with multiple fatalities. Working from an earthquake damaged studio, my focus was to visually explore and capture the ‘rebirth’ of the town and community through a series of paintings.
I paint because there is something that moves me to do it, the process of intense observation and putting paint to canvas helps me feel grounded. It’s an incredibly personal experience, however, I’m always conscious that ultimately there will be a viewer - I’m framing something for another person to see. My paintings act as an invitation to take a moment, to look at things from my perspective. I’m always fascinated by reactions to my paintings and the differing narratives that people attach to my work. In turn these responses show me something in my own work that I was unaware of, giving it deeper meaning.
4. How are you reframing your world through art?
Currently I’m reframing my life in another country as I’ve moved to Mallorca. I’m getting used to a different culture and also, through my painting, I’m experiencing a different type of light, different colours and moods. So I’ve brought my BIRDS to the Mediterranean and they are helping me focus on what’s important.
I'm also making new connections as new clients find my work speaking to them about the hidden narrative of this special island. From the vast mountains to the stunning coastline, to the back streets of ancient towns… there’s an endless supply of inspiration and probably not enough time to capture it all.
Gregory's Blackcap painting is available to purchase as: