Hustling figures and erotic fighters form the spine of London-based artist, George Rouy’s work. By taking inspiration from his experience watching Detroit producer Omar-S perform, George’s latest project Danced to Death portrays human nature’s more surreal aspects.
“Everyone was dancing with these gormless faces and I think the idea just went from there. I like the image of them being nihilistic, a bit like when The Simpsons depict the Sonic Youth fans,” says George. “I would say there is a direct link between the dancers and fighters, and I enjoy that they are both quite erotic. There is a primal element to the figures.”
Rather than showing an explicit narrative, George “chases a feeling” and channels this perception into his characters. “The tilted heads in some of the figures make a reference to frustration and things being broken. I would say every series has an awareness for what’s currently going on, both in myself and in the world,” he says. “I like to depict a sense of beauty paired with darkness, either within their expression or pose. I am quite specific with these poses and it takes me a while to get the right balance.”
“I’m very particular about how the faces look and it drives me mad when I can’t get it right; a problem that can arise is that the paintings can become overworked,” he says. Since switching from oil to acrylic — and combining the two — George has experienced a few learning curves when it comes to putting paint to canvas. “How I apply the paint is very important and it’s always mistaken for air brush. When you see the work in person I think you can see it isn’t as it is: it’s a lot softer, and when it’s overworked it loses this quality.”
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