Channel 4 has Grayson Perry, and the BBC has Antony Gormley; both globally renowned artists who are hoping to democratise the art world by bringing the public into their studios during lockdown. Hoping to encourage people to use their quarantine time creatively, Gormley has made a film for the new BBC series Get Creative at Home, sharing every step of his process in making a new print in support of the NHS.
The 17-minute video is very much ‘slow’ TV, a calming insight to the artist’s creative mentality and the painstaking work behind producing his art. “Drawing,” he suggests, “isn’t just about making accurate depictions of thing that already exist. The most important thing… is going with the flow. The things that can happen are infinite”.
Gormley shows that he places utmost importance on the environment for allowing that aforementioned ‘flow’ to begin, setting up the canvas, tools and surroundings for his process. “Brâncuși said it’s not difficult to make art, but what’s difficult is to get the conditions in which art can arise,” he explains. “I certainly spend a lot of time on the conditions, and hope that art will indeed arise; we’re never very sure.” In print-making, these conditions can be “a bit like surgery” he says, in that everything has to stay clinically clean.
The print itself, titled Isolate, shows ink being trapped inside a regimented grid structure. He describes his approach as “trying to evoke something rather than describe it… the capturing of a feeling”.
In a sign-off, he adds that the nicest aspect of being in lockdown is “having time to see what happens” – the ideal scenario for anyone to express their creative side.
Gormley has been subject of many a BBC show including being one of a line-up of artists sharing their process in the series What Do Artists Do All Day, alongside Michael Craig-Martin, Peter Blake, Sue Webster and Dougie Wallace.
This new series is part of the BBC’s Culture in Quarantine programming; another video features a masterclass by artist Clare Twomey, who suggests marzipan as an alternative sculpting material at home for those without clay at home. The videos are currently available on the broadcaster's Facebook page, with plans to feature on BBC iPlayer soon.