Alex Williamson

16 March 2020

Featured in Deptford X: 2019

What are you reading at the moment? 

I was reading Ben Lerner’s ‘The Topeka School’ until I accidentally left it on a flight. Answering this question was the reminder I needed that I need to buy another copy. I’m also regularly having a flick through Dave Eggers’ ‘Ungrateful Mammals’

What does a typical day look like for you?

I have three types of typical day: day-job days, studio days, and the weekend. Studio days I get up about 7ish so I can have a nice chill start to the day. I have breakfast and coffee and struggle with the crossword. I’ll generally get to the studio for about 9 and then the routine falls away. Some days I’ll be drawing, some days its sewing, I might have my laptop out planning things. Occasionally I’ll spend the day watching movies, loosely defined as ‘research’. Unless I’ve got a deadline coming up I rarely know what I’ll be doing in the studio until I get there. At around lunchtime I’ll go for a walk for an hour or so as a palette cleanser before getting back to it for the afternoon. I try to finish at a regular time so as not to burn myself out. Then it’s the evening, and those are my own.

Describe your studio/workspace

My studio is a relatively small space, but it’s in an old rum factory with huge arch windows, directly on The Thames in Deptford. It’s a lovely space to go to, I have a large central desk that I try to keep mostly clear so that it’s as versatile as possible. I do most of my work there, sewing and drawing and any digital work. Then I have a smaller side desk where I do any airbrushing, as that needs to be kept slightly separate of course. The walls are covered in my quilts, various small experiments or drawings I’m not sure of yet and snippets of text that grabbed me.

Where do your best ideas come from?

I think most of my ideas come from listening to words. I might overhear a little bit of conversation in the street, or a tiny phrase out of a movie or a podcast. Just little bits, a couple of words will stick in my brain. Then they often grow into something that might be the text for a quilt or a drawing while I’m on my lunchtime walk, I’ll chew on those few words for a while and see if they transform and expand into an idea or can be made to hint at a broader narrative.

If Tate called you tomorrow and invited you to make work for the Turbine Hall, what would it be?

I’m not sure. My instinct is to say something with an interior and exterior to it. Something that can be interesting from the viewing platform or the upper galleries but also provides a more intimate, interactive experience when viewed from inside or passed through. Maybe a tunnel, or a maze, or something that feels like a market with too many stalls. I think it should have hiding places, there might be too many visitors at Tate for that sort of thing, but it would be great if I could offer an opportunity for a solitary experience in that massive space.

Plug your next show/event!

My piece ‘Self Portrait as a Crocodile Quilt’ has been selected for ‘Graduating in Paint’ a group show of young painters at LARA. The show features loads of really great artists! The PV is on the 25th of March and it runs until the 1st April. 

Private view 25th March, 6 – 8:30pm
LARA, 371 Clapham Road, SW9 9BT

Please be aware the above event has been postponed due to Covid-19. Follow Alex on instagram for updates. 

Instagram: @alex.willi



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