Artist interview: Heather Mclean



Hi heather thanks so much for doing this interview! First of all please can you tell us a little about yourself?  

Introvert, hermoine-level obsession for falling in the wikipedia science rabbit hole, nature nerd, bookworm, pantheist, translator, skeptic/optimist, explorer, observer, pattern breaker, note-taker, bhakti yogi with a thick layer of dark sided icing on top.

The figures you draw all seem like they have a dark backstory, can you tell us more about your inspiration and ideas behind them? 

My work is inspired the drama of human incarnation and the desire to understand ourselves and our world. In the last 2 years I’ve been really motivated by theoretical quantum physics, advaitic hindu philosophy, the simulator theory, and the idea that the physical world and consensus reality is just the tip of the iceberg.


Your work has a really strong sense of atmosphere and energy how do you create this feeling within your work? 

Hmmm, I’ve never really thought about that! I just know what aesthetic I like, and seek that out in the paint. The world provides such dense atmosphere and energy, I guess I’m just biting that.


How do you see your work progressing and changing in the oncoming years ? 

Who’s to say? I’ll just keep following an inner practice and that seems to inform the outer one. I’m just interested in peeling back the layers to see what’s under there. I suppose I might keep letting go more and more of the phenomenal world, while trying to stay tethered to the human form (which is fascinating and beautiful and certainly relatable for others.) Or maybe I’ll go full bore material world and paint cats and people fucking on mountains of money and corvettes. Either sounds fun :)

If you could describe your work using only one word what would it be and why?

Numenal.  Because it is an attempt to harness metaphysical ideas in a phenomenal material world.

Or, Spectral.  Because no matter my intentions to make something pretty, there is always a layer of creepy darkness laminating it.

Can you tell us a bit about your process and the way you go about creating your art?

An idea comes to me in a dream, in meditation, through reading or listening to music or podcasts. I make a sketch or notes in my phone. I take reference pics if needed and then lay out the painting and work in layers til it’s done.

To you what is the most important part of a painting? 

Mystery, invocation, concept, being ignited, made uncomfortable, soothed, inspired, transported. The right amount of skill, concept, panache, and vision. Timelessness.


Lastly do you have any interesting projects coming up in 2016?

I have some stuff in the Ema Show at hellion gallery (Tokyo, Paris and Portland) and another group show at Arch Ememy in philly. Otherwise still working away on my own suite seeing what the hell is under there.

Thank you Heather for letting us pick your brain for this interview!

To see more of Heathers work check out the following links:


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