Sheffield Artist Gavin Kilcommons
It’s time for our latest “Fellow Sheffield Creatives” feature, and this time it’s urban Sheffield Artist Gavin Kilcommons.
We became aware of Gavins work through our links with The Art House Sheffield when he exhibited there; we really like his style. Custom pieces can be ordered via his Facebook page or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
A lot of his work is stored at The Art House Sheffield, on Backfields and they can be contacted by anyone wanting to view his work.
We naturally wanted to ask him some probing questions and here’s the result.
Volta: Who or what inspired you to do what you do?
Gavin: When I was in my early teens graffiti seemed to be what everyone of my age was doing, I wasn’t very good at the tagging side but I was always creative in my drawings and I would spray graffiti characters/murals whilst my mates would do the tagging side, I took a lot of my inspiration from the endless comic books I read as a child and cartoons I watched and just developed them into my weird kind of style.
Volta: Were you self-taught or have you had training?
Gavin: My father used to work at a paper recycling plant when I was young and he used to bring me all sorts of comic books and magazines home to read, but if i’m honest I was never really that interested in reading them, I used to spend hours just drawing the images I liked until I got them perfect.
I also used to cut a lot of images out of magazines and try to make my own collages, admittedly they were very crude and more often than not very rude, I intended going to art college when I left school but ended up getting a job instead so college got put on the back burner, everything I draw/paint/spray etc. is all self taught.
Volta: How did your current style develop and how do you see it developing in the future?
Gavin: I suppose my work just developed on its own, i like the urban unfinished/derelict sort of look with a few hints of finished work in between.
I approach my work like a jig saw, I do one character on the canvas then I try to think what would go in the space available, its a sort of organic way of approaching it, there’s very rarely any planning in what I do, i’m very impulsive in my work, I get an idea and go for it.
In the future i’d like to do some screen printing work along side my way of doing things and seeing if I can develop things further as I like the idea of repetitiveness in the background of my work.
Volta: What influence has living in Sheffield had on your creativity and how you approach your work?
Gavin: Living in Sheffield has definitely helped me in my art, especially growing up in S9 in the late 1980’s. I saw the derelict buildings of Attercliffe ready to be pulled down to make way for Don Valley Stadium etc. as my canvases for my first proper way of expressing myself in graffiti and I think the look of a grimy old dirty urban wall with fresh bright car sprayed graffiti and characters sprayed on the walls has always stuck in my head, I think a lot of my art style comes subconsciously from this.
Volta: What is your favourite media to work with?
Gavin: Even though my art started in graffiti and spray paint, today I don’t really have a favourite media I work with, as art is so self expressive I use almost anything I can get to hand whether that be acrylic paint, house paint, ink, spray paint or even magazine cut outs its just a process i’ve taught myself. Its the same on what I work on, it could be anything wood, metal, paper, canvas etc.
Volta: What piece of your own work gives you the most satisfaction and why?
Gavin: The piece of work that gives me the most satisfaction isn’t necessarily even my favourite piece of work, its the mural that hangs on the wall at backfields, (not everything is black and white) there are several reasons for this, first of all its because its the first piece I have ever done that is in town (legally).
Also unfortunately I lost my dad to cancer last year but I was lucky enough that he wanted to see my work before he passed away and I cant even begin to describe the look of happiness on his face or the feeling of him being proud of me for doing something positive with my life and not getting into trouble like so many people I grew up with did, i’ll never forget that look…
Volta: Do other areas of creativity have any influence on your work?
Gavin: Music without a doubt is definitely a big influence in my work, even now whilst im typing out this interview i’m listening to music, I don’t really have a favourite kind of music, my taste is eclectic… so long as i’ve got something to distract myself from everything around me I can focus more on what i’m doing.
Volta: If you could lay claim to one piece of creative work in any area what would it be and why?
Gavin: If I could lay claim to a piece of artwork it would probably be Andy Warhols Campbell Soup Cans because it is simple and iconic, it inspired loads of other people to try art and because its worth a small fortune!
Volta: Who is your creative hero?
Gavin: Growing up I didn’t really have a creative hero as such, I always looked up to the older ones of our little group for the work they were doing but if I’m honest I was always self obsessed with getting my own work to look the best I could, but as i’ve become older I suppose I like the creative work of multi media artists like Roy Lichtenstein, Ben Miller, Greg Gossel and Faile.
I also like the work of freestyle portrait painter Voka and the collage work of a german artist called Toon.
Volta: What advice would you give an aspiring fellow artist who was wanting to break through to the next level?
Gavin: My advice to anyone who is or wanting to do any kind of art is to find a style of work that you’re comfortable doing, keep practicing, enjoy what you are doing and do it to the best of your ability.
Remember that sometimes even a bad criticism of your work may be a bit hurtful or off putting but you have to take the positives out of it, at least its getting noticed!
I’m 41 now and have been doing my own thing since I was 12 and it’s only now that some of my work is being noticed and believe me it’s the best feeling ever. I may not be making loads of cash doing what i’m doing, but i’m doing something I love and you can’t put a price on that.
I find art to be a release, almost therapeutic, its not worth getting stressed out by and if you are it’s not worth the trouble, its not a 9-5 job, its a lifestyle.
Sheffield Artist Gavin Kilcommons
Want to find out a little more about Gavin and his work?
Here are the links to his social media. Interested in Gavin’s art? Contact him through his email (linky thing below) or click on the 2 social media icons to view his Facebook and Instagram pages.
View our previous Fellow Sheffield Creatives