A Colourful Exchange

A Colourful Exchange

Written by Andreas Soteriou
Interview by Julie Verhoeven

Artist Martin Maloney chats hair scrunchies, bad TV and pattern porn with illustrator Julie Verhoeven.

Martin Maloney is a man who definitely knows his way around a canvas. Throughout a long and colourful career, the South-London based artist has used them as template for his paintings and, more unusually, his striking collages, which are often formed out of the intricate shards of previous works-in-progress. His vivid pictures utilise flat colours and imagery to create deep, detailed spaces that illustrate an assortment of characters. Here, the artist acts as a dedicated social commentator, serving up slices of local eveyday life. His subjects reflect an awkward sense of humour and affectionate wit that mirror Martin’s own.

Martin graduated from Goldsmiths University in the early 1990′s, just as the Young British Artist movement was in the early stages of taking hold of a national, and subsequently global, consciousness. Having arrived after the departure of the most notorious of his future contemporaries, Martin considered himself rather late to the party, not having been around to witness first-hand the temperements and endeavours that were instrumental in the creation of a new generation of art superstars. Nevertheless, his tutelage under Julian Opie helped him to evolve from a creator of “bad conceptual works” with a lack of self-awareness to a celebrated and skilled painter. His work soon caught the eye of Charles Saatchi, who went on to include his work in the legendary Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy in 1997. Since then, Martin has exhibited all over the world and combined the long hours spent in his cold studio with his other roles as a teacher, writer and curator.

The following interview took place when Martin met fellow artist Julie Verhoeven for the first time. The two shared plenty of laughs and compared notes on the human condition, identity and bad television. Throughout her life and career, Julie has also turned to colour repeatedly as a means of self-expression. It is her artistic weapon of choice, and one that has served her well. Or perhaps it is the other way round. Either way, it would appear to be a happy and faithful partnership, and there doesn’t seem to be any danger of her defecting to a life of monochrome any time soon. With her florid make-up and over-embellished wardrobe, she conveys the air of a woman who might find herself at home within one of Martin’s paintings. For this encounter, she settled for a good-humoured delve into the life and times of a man she has long admired. Martin was more than happy to oblige. She began by asking him where on earth he turns to for inspiration these days…