In Profile: David Chatfield

| April 22, 2013

MM: WHO are you?
DC: David Patrick Chatfield

WHAT the hell is your work about?
I am interested in the evocation of emotion through visual means, engaging the viewer in their activity of looking in a visceral and personal sense. While studying art, you are constantly forced to justify your work through explanation and demonstration of inherent meaning, which is something I consider to be counterproductive in the process of creating visual work. I consider the idea of the artist philosopher to be very much a product of academia and something I aim to avoid. Not all visual art needs to have an absolute meaning; the viewer should be allowed to engage with a work without a didactic instructing them on how to feel.

WHEN did you realise you were in tune with the right side of your brain?
I’m still not entirely sure if I am! I guess growing up, I was always drawing and building toys for myself but I never studied art through school. I ended up at QCA purely because out of my three options after leaving school (the other two being carpentry and marine biology). It was the first one I got a firm response from.

WHERE do you draw inspiration from?
Books have always been a major source of inspiration. Sometimes a single line for whatever reason can resonate so strongly and be so effective that I can’t help but start thinking about how it could be achieved visually.  I find myself on occasion engrossed by books in which it is the use of language that is carrying me, with the narrative only second to that. This is most relevant to photography as it is not a narrative medium. Photographs are a fragmented moment which can, at best, suggest a narrative, leaving the viewer to fill in the blanks based on their experience. It is this poetic and suggestive nature that I seek to exploit in my work.

WHY do you create?
I don’t think there is any one reason why I make visual work. It can range from being an investigation into an idea or topic interesting to me at the time or to being a cathartic process which allows me to vent my spleen. I have been shooting a lot more candidly recently as well which is something I haven’t really done for a few years.

HOW does the magic happen – creative process or candid creativity?
It’s a combination of the two. Usually an idea for work will be planted that I will mull over for some time.  This can just fade out or occasionally things will start to coalesce into a workable project. I have never been good at getting started on spontaneous ideas; I tend to like having some sort of foundation to start on. Being around people like Sarah Wally and Sophie Richards whose practice is much more spontaneous than my own has prompted me to get a little Yashica T4 that allows more visual note taking, as well as some snaps for the photo album!

Plans for 2013?
At this stage I am looking for gainful employment which seems to be hard come by after an arts degree, who knew?! At the start of the year, I was involved in Art Snack which was a small gallery I established with some friends on Grey St, South Bank, from December to February. It would be great to do another such venture in a similar, unused space as an outlet for affordable art work.  I also hope to have a new project finished and a couple of bigger shows towards the end of the year.

So we can stay in the loop, what’s your dot coms?
You can find my work on my website, with other bits a pieces on Tumblr and Instagram – @davidchatfield

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