The level of detail in Lee Edwards’ art is slightly beyond the imagination. His works, using graphite pencil on paper, recreate intimate and mundane aspects of everyday life, elevating them from their daily status to artistic moments forever suspended in time.
Edwards combines media and materials, using sculpture, painting, drawing and photography. His drawings were recently featured in the group exhibition Perfectionism, at London’s Griffin Gallery. We asked Lee about his practice and his inspiration.
Which artists’ tool do you consider essential?
My camera. It’s an all important extension of what I look at and integral for capturing ideas that form the basis for future works. Whether the pictures taken are used as source material to create drawings or paintings from, cut out or scratched into, it is most often the foundation for my work.
Could you talk us through your working process?
I tend to be very selective about which particular subject matter I choose to work from, as I know I will be spending a few weeks at least on the artwork. So it has to hold a personal connotation for me, as that is my drive.
I will scrupulously scratch, paint or draw in a very methodical way across the image, working on a minute section at a time, little by little until the whole completes the illusion.
Who or what is inspiring you most at the moment?
A book entitled A Crisis of Brilliance by David Boyd Haycock, which focuses on five integral young British artists from the Slade, both before and after the First World War. The most enlightening aspect is that through the letters exchanged between the respective artists, the passions and aspirations of being a successful artist, and their responses to discovering their particular styles, new interests and realisations within the ever-changing art world don’t really seem that different from today.
When did you land upon your artistic style? Was it a eureka moment?
It was a small oil painting on MDF of a DLR station at night, where everything seemed to come together for me. After spending nearly two years of my degree working on large abstract paintings, my practice had slowly whittled its way down (quite literally) to this personal, intimate moment of nostalgia. These integral aspects of my work haven’t really gone away since.
What is your favourite Winsor & Newton product?
I rely on Winsor & Newton’s acrylic and gouache, as the water-based medium is very easy to work with for sketchbook work. The colours are reliable, vibrant, and don’t bleed into the paper, so they have practical uses as well as very positive visual benefits for my practice.