Conor Murgatroyd is an emerging British artist based in London, originally from Bradford. Murgatroyd studied Fine art at Chelsea College of Arts in London and received the Knights of the Table award in 2017.
Influenced by his obsession with history and how it guides society. Murgatroyd questions the concept of identity, taking inspiration from his daily experiences.
I have always had an obsession with the past and how it shapes the future, and how us as individuals are what creates culture and identities.
He delivers a picturesque journal comprising of individual journeys within his local community, reviewing human interaction and how it is vital to life and how each journey is unique yet familiar in its shared similarities.
Effectuating his observations harmoniously in the charm of a naive British classic, some would say artistic observation in its purest form. We managed to catch up with Conor to speak with him about his inspirations, creative practice and more.
Q: For those who don’t know you, can you please introduce yourself?
A: My name is Conor Murgatroyd. Originally from Bradford, I am an artist living and working in London.
Q: What is your inspiration, and why do you do what you do?
A: My inspiration varies massively from different topics, history to the modern-day I have always had an obsession with the past and how it shapes the future and how we as individuals create culture and identities. I paint because I realised it’s my calling in life, and I love the fact that I can ruminate my experience as an individual through the medium of painting.
Q: Can you tell us about your creative process?
A: The subjects I paint stem from my personal interest and general life, whether it’s a self-portrait of me boxing in the park with a Rottweiler jumping over a fence or a still life composed of many different cultural and historical references that I find significant. My process is built out of me trying to find my way in the world and channelling my interests in a way that other people can find interesting and aesthetically pleasing.
Q: Your work has a running theme of human interaction and contemporary nostalgia. Can you tell us the motivation behind this?
A: My work hasn’t always had the human element to it. For the first six years of my painting practice, I never painted a single person. It was all focused on either architectural themes, interiors or still life (flowers). Until then, I had to figure out why I wanted to paint a person, and I feel like doing my current show WINDOWS helped me massively make sense of that.
Q: What was the first piece of Art you created that cemented your path as an artist?
A: I feel that the first piece that cemented my practice was a painting called “The Clairvoyant” from mid-2019. It’s what some people call an art cover; essentially, its my version of Rene Magritte’s “Le Clairvoyant”, which is a self-portrait of him painting a bird but looking at an egg. My version is of myself instead and I am observing one of my Nanas (RIP) porcelain staffesthire dog antiques. This piece put me on track in really understanding what I wanted to put into my paintings and realising the relevance that different objects have had in my life and how they represent different people and places, and how I can speak with my paintings.
Q: What is your favourite piece from your body of work, and why?
A: My favourite piece I’ve created is a large scale still life called “Accumulation Of Interest”. The title says it all; it is an accumulation of different objects from some of my most favourite paintings in art history, all on display on a large plinth I came across in Russia as I am fascinated by the aesthetics of old Soviet statues and the plinths they sit on.
Q: In your opinion, what is the lasting impact of Art?
A: I think art should be about helping us as humans get through life easier. That’s how I feel when I look at my favourite paintings, they give me ease and help me decipher different problems in my day to day life. But also provide me with something beautiful to look at when life gets gloomy.
Q: What do you think about the current state of the art world?
A: There are some amazingly talented artists knocking about and some highly inspiring people creating work from a good honest place; that’s what I try to focus on.
Q: What are your thoughts on NFT art and the current NFT market boom?
A: I don’t really know enough about it yet to comment.
Q: What role does the artist have in society?
A: Like I’ve mentioned before, I think good art is about life and how we deal with it. I believe an artist should be honest and not full of nonsense. Being open and straight up about life, I think, benefits society.
Q: Lastly, what does Art mean to you?
A: Art has always been something I’ve been inspired by most of my life. It had a substantial impact on my every day, looking back at the past, through someone else’s eyes. Being an artist is a part of who I am, something that I cant get away from – so creating works of art flows through me and is a depiction of every day through different eyes.
Q: What’s next for you as an artist?
A: I have my solo show WINDOWS starting online on the 9th of April and opening in person on the 12th for two weeks at Avalon Cafe in South Bermondsey. In May, I will also be having a show at Sage Flowers in Peckham. This show was meant to happen last March, but alas, the current climate prevented us from doing that.