Looking at Charles Moxon’s intricate paintings you’d be forgiven for not believing that they were the work of a 21-year-old, still perfecting his craft at art school. Charles’ eye for detail, technique and life-like qualities are astonishing, and it’s little wonder that the Camberwell College of Art student has been nominated for this year’s Young Masters Prize. Hunger TV meets the boy wonder to find out how his childhood fascination with paintings lead him to the BBC and beyond.
TELL US HOW YOUR LOVE FOR PAINTING BEGAN.
I think for as long as I can remember I have had a love for painting. My family and art teachers first had an encouraging influence. From an early age I was continuously looking at paintings, trying to fathom how these images had been created. I taught myself to paint like this. I remember when I first saw a Gainsborough, I was very young (maybe 6 or 7), and I had a profound desire to know how he had been able to produce such an array of effects with paint. Now I have just been in an exhibition where my work was next to a Frans Hals, it’s truly mind blowing.
DID YOU ALWAYS KNOW THAT THIS WOULD BE YOUR CAREER PATH?
I’ve always wanted to be an artist. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. In terms of talent, I can’t really comment, I guess I have always just had quite high expectations of myself.
WHY DID YOU USE YOUR GRANDMOTHER AS A SUBJECT?
I love the idea of immortality through painting. I think to create something with an intense, devotional quality resonates with me. I believe Francis Bacon once said something like ‘art is a method of opening up areas of feeling’. In a way I was playing with that nostalgic idea in a contemporary society. She died only a few weeks after completing that work.
YOU HAVE BEEN SHORTLISTED FOR THE YOUNG MASTERS PRIZE AND, AT 21, YOUR STYLE IS REMINISCENT OF OLDER, TRADITIONAL ARTISTS. DO YOU SHUN MODERNISM?
Being chosen to exhibit and be shortlisted for the Young Masters Art Prize really is an honour, especially at such an early stage of my career and still being at art school. My work certainly has influence from Old Masters, especially 17th century Dutch painting. I use quite a lot of techniques and traditions from around this time period to develop my work. Yet I don’t think I shun modernism. Vermeer created incredible imagery, but you can’t escape what has come since. I have a lot of influences other than old paintings.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE IN CONTEMPORARY BRITISH ART?
Jonathan Yeo is someone who I can relate to. Likewise, I have been looking at the work of Ged Quinn and Daniel Sinsel. I recently met someone who was exhibiting at the New Sensations exhibition this year and I went to the show. I love what seems to be happening with young artists at the moment. I can really admire work produced by people of a similar age to me as well as the older generation.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE BBC SERIES SHOW ME THE MONET?
I thought that it would be a great opportunity to be able to talk about my work in front of people with a lot of expertise. I wasn’t really expecting to get very far, so to do as well as I did was amazing. It proved to be a really wonderful experience.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THE EXPERIENCE?
I’ve got a lot out of the show. It has given me some confidence. I’m pleased that people can connect with my work and I’m really thankful to everyone who has shown support. I think I’m just grateful and I’m going to take every opportunity that I can.