Decoding Abstraction with Lawrence Perry

We catch up with one of the most promising fine artists of the moment, Lawrence Perry.

Lawrence Perry, a native Singaporean based in London, immediately caught our attention with his impeccable sensibility for colour, fragmented appreciation for texture as well as an overall conceptual approach to mixed media artistry. His work is characterised by a stern belief in the mental health facet of life, as his pieces challenge five pillars of the mental health sphere, which include addiction, relationships, anxiety, social media and body image.

Growing up aggrieved by an abusive childhood aided Lawrence to develop an ability to unveil the mental structure behind people’s mind. Affected by Synaesthesia, his sensory system inputs an urge for instant expression in his brain. Though, chromatism also played a pivotal role in the artist’s teenage years, as he constantly trawls inspiration from Colourist and Cubist movements, because of how everything is reduced to pure form and dotted expression. An intangible yet dramatic battle is fought by the artist on a day to day basis, where calamity, placidity, and a pugnacious soul – also evocative – form a climax that intertwines a whirlwind of emotions. We’ve looked through Lawrence’s portfolio, and asked him a few questions to get to know him better – see all of his work here! Ready for a mind-blowing vision yet to come?

Could you describe yourself in 4 words?

Creative, understanding, empathetic and motivated.

How long have you known you wanted to pursue art?

At the age of five I painted the portrait of Charlie Chaplin. Materialising the voiceless man who said it all really motivated me to speak through my art. As a medium, art requires no words, but pure denotation. From a young age, through expressive shapes and colours my art aims to speak to the lost generation, shining light on often overlooked matters affecting us.

Why did you choose the creative industry as opposed to other sectors?

The endless possibilities within the creative industry really excite me. I often use my own boat analogies. If you compare a canal boat to an ocean yacht you see the two differences. A canal boat sticks to its planned route, following the one straight line that’s set out for them, whilst the canal river that takes one from A to B. This really scares me. If I tried to be a banker, I would have a very clear, routinised life laid ahead of me. With the creative industry it holds endless possibilities, living life in a very opportunistic way. The sustainable happiness I gain from painting a piece per day fulfils me far more than anything else. Life is a beautiful game, hardships may come our way knocking us down, but the real strength lies in dragging ourselves up, ready to battle any wars that present themselves upon you. An ocean yacht ventures into the unknown, prepared to ride any wave in a directionless journey, eventually reaching the oasis it deserves.

Tell us a little bit about your artistic approach: what are the themes surrounding your vision and what’s their philosophy?

To me, art needs to resemble instant expression. Colours and shapes should surface subliminally. Currently I am focusing on the five pillars of mental health that have affected myself and my art most: addiction, relationships, anxiety, body image and social media. Through this I aim to provide a voice to the voiceless, stripping away our nation’s anxiety in hope of reaching a new wave of understanding.

What is the best thing 2019 has brought to you so far?

As an artist it’s great to receive recognition. Being accepted into Slade meant a lot to me. Now I’m working on my upcoming exhibition “Merely A Dream”, which will hopefully dissect the social hysteria our generation is submersed in.

Name 2 of your biggest inspirations.

To whittle it down I have to say Basquiat and Warhol. Jean-Michel Basquiat epitomised the growing subculture in art, with NYC street graffiti on the rise. Instant expression lead to masterpieces, telling the tales of his life and the social change fluctuating around him. Andy Warhol envisioned the society we live in today. The craze surrounding “influencers” and “celebrity” really fascinated him, with his work often resembling the iconisation of figures ranging from chairman Mao to Marilyn Monroe. Creating powerful protagonists within my art is very important to me, and these two artists really provide some scope into how it can be done.

And the biggest lessons you’ve learnt whilst being in industry are…

Happiness and sustainability can only come from within. When In the creative industry, many people surround you to help aid your journey, but the sustenance and meaning comes from the change we make in ourselves.

Dream job?

An artist! I will fight and fight till I become a household name!

What do you see coming your way this year?

2019 is the year of hard work. I’m in my studio ten hours a day, searching for that voice in my art. Preparing for my first solo exhibition has presented me with many new challenges that I can’t wait to tackle! I’m not too fussed about opinions, if I’m creating what I believe to be truthful, I gain my own happiness and self-respect.

Lastly, do you wish to express anything?

The work I do is not only for myself, but for the world around me. I aim to become heavily versed in understanding the complexities of mental health and the struggle for “sanity”. I believe there is no such thing as sanity, we are all on a spectrum of mindsets, and life is all about identifying where you lie and figuring out how to use your stance to your own advantage.

Follow Lawrence Perry on Instagram here and check out some of his work in the gallery below.

  • words Chidozie Obasi

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