MYTH 1: ANYONE CAN DO IT
If you just want to throw paint around with blatant disregard then anyone can indeed do that! But if you want to create something based on real ideas and thought rather than relying on physics then it needs patience, practice and an awful lot of paint.
Anyone can apply paint but not everyone can create something beautiful or memorable. You can be your own judge of that for sure; love or loathe I hope you can see what has gone in to mine.
I base my spin art on a flow of constant questions: ‘What if…’ is my favourite. Start with this and see where you end up. I do. Every time I fire up the spin table for a session. I actually think very hard about what I’m doing. If you want to do the same you are welcome to join me one day.
MYTH 2: IT’S EASY!
If you want to place paint on a flat surface and press the spin button then sure, it’s very easy. But what does that end up looking like? Where are the principles of colour separation and matching? How should you go about adding paint and in what quantities?
Where do you place it and how much do you put down? How long do you spin it for and how long do you leave it before adding the next colour?
What shapes are you trying to create and how fast should you spin the table to get the desired effect (assuming you can imagine a desired effect to achieve?).
The list of questions is, and always should be, endless. If it isn’t then you’re not asking the right ones.
MYTH 3: IT’S ALL BEEN DONE BEFORE
It’s a critique that can be applied to almost any painting-related technique, from portraits to landscapes and beyond. They are principles and genres that have been re-imagined millions of times so are hardly original are they?
So whilst throwing paint on a spinning canvas has been done before – many times, does that count as original art? Maybe that’s a question that can never be answered. I prefer to think about ways to re-imagine a technique or principle and make it uniquely my own.
So what makes a really good piece in that case then? I believe that comes down to interpretation and originality of thought. If I haven’t achieved that then they’ll look the same as any other spin painting.
Judge that for yourself.
What’s so different about my spin paintings?
No recycled bikes or washing machine drums here. My colleague Adrian has built me a state-of-the-art, free standing turntable capable of variable speeds and able to take the weight of a human being.
With his engineering skills and a little help from a robotics company we have a cutting edge rotating table that’s as lethal as it is beautiful!
And with this technology comes the ability to create on a large scale too. A big step forward in developing the things bubbling in my head.
Despite some early reliability issues the spin table is now happy to rotate all day and all night if necessary. I am now trying to figure out how to spin rectangles without killing myself.
I don’t know anyone using enamel paint the way I do, it’s a bastard to use because it doesn’t like traveling across big distances.
Enamel paints coagulate quickly when air is forced over them at speed; so spinning at 200rpm is a nightmare. Furthermore each paint colour has a tendency to swallow its neigbour because of the nature of the pigments.
So you cannot spin multiple colours very often without causing a vomit-inducing pinky-grey gloop. These are infinitely more complex than acrylic paints.
But when it goes right the results are extraordinarily beautiful. Whisp-like fronds, fractal-esque separations, acres of effortless gradients and a million tiny details. It really is worth all the pain to get them right.
Recently I have successfully created my first 2m square canvases and plan to go larger in the near future. And when you see what I am now creating you’ll understand why we’ve gone through so much stress to get the tech right. Have a look at the video to see the big ones in action.
The most fundamental principles require original thought otherwise they are seldom worthy of attention.
Paints, spin tables and time can all be provided in abundance but these are of no use if there aren’t any original ideas to make use of them.
What I am now doing is looking for new ways to use what I have and push the principles of spin art into new ways of expression. Nothing heavy, just a joyous cascade of imagineering, Swarez style.
They carry all the characteristics I am known for – colours, shapes, quality and attention to detail.
And the best thing so far… I’ve only just started.