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Behind the Artist: David McConochie

Welcome to the first of our interview series where we take you behind the scenes (or into the studio) to get to know the artists behind the gorgeous prints that hang in your home. This week we had a conversation with UK artist David McConochie about the inspiration behind his vivid, colorful abstract paintings and when he decided to be an artist instead of an astronaut!

Black and white portrait of artist illustrator David McConochie and his artwork titled 'Ophelia'

What is your background in art?

David: I'm a freelance illustrator. I originally studied graphic design although I think that was a futile attempt to get a proper job. I quickly realised I was more at home with paint and printmaking than typography. At my degree show one of the tutors from Central Saint Martins spoke to me and asked if I'd like to do an MA in Illustration which sort of cemented me on that path.

room interior with green décor and brightly colored canvas print hanging on wall
Left: Pool Day, 2011 Right: A Letter From Singapore, 2012 by David McConochie

How did you get started?

There was a lot of wandering around London with my portfolio. At first I felt like a door to door salesman and started wondering what I had got myself into but I gradually started picking up commissions. I got my first job creating an editorial illustration for a magazine. Quite a small job in the scheme of things but it was very special getting that first commission and seeing my work in print.

As well as working as an illustrator I like to create personal work. Many of the starting points in my work come from walking about taking photos of my immediate environment. I've lived in quite a number of different areas lately and I have found being amongst new landscapes a great resource. Generally,  I don't look to take inspiration from specific trends in art as I always think it's quite thin ice. Being part of a wider artistic community full of trends and styles of work can't fail to rub off to some extent but I try to follow my own instincts on what makes me tick as an artist and keep my influences as wide as possible.

a room interior with jewel toned chair and canvas print hanging on wall of abstract art
Left: Blue Deer, 2017 Right: Gum-Nut Tree, 2018 by David McConochie

What was the moment you knew art would be would be your career—not just a hobby?

It's a tricky question. In terms of having a career in art and design in it's wider sense I think it's all I ever wanted to do after I realised Astronaut was off the cards. Working out what guise the career would take has been the real decision. I nearly studied Textile Design and I think I would have loved doing that also. I'm still waiting for these commissions to create designs for fabric if anyone is reading...

Painting and digital mixed media abstract artwork in bright warm tones
Left: Death Moth Collage, 2016 Right: Cornfield Collage, 2017 by David McConochie

What do you hope people feel when they look at your art?

I like to engage the viewer on an emotional level and hopefully create some sort of gut reaction to looking at an image. That's quite vague though so it also depends quite a lot on the where the inspiration for the image has come from. For example, I created a series quite sparse landscapes inspired by taking walks during lockdown recently. They have a very particular starting point and so will hopefully have a similarly specific response in the viewer. Having said that, the space between creating something and the way it is interpreted is a foggy area. There's a common ground that is shared but who knows where it starts and ends and that's part of the joy in it I suppose.

Ready to dive into David's style? See his full collection here!