Robbie O’Keeffe

22 June 2020

Featured in Deptford X: 2018

What are you reading at the moment? 

I usually find it difficult to immerse myself in books if I’m honest but I’m reading a painting catalogue by Deptford based artist Jeff Dellow and flicking through a book of German Expressionist Woodcuts edited by Shane Weller.

What does a typical day look like for you?

When I have a full day in the studio, I will usually spend the morning on admin/emails/proposals. I will then get into the studio at around 10am, where my time is usually blocked into painting, priming/preparing surfaces and photographing work. Sometimes I will stop at a regular time to relax in the evening, often I paint until late evening, grabbing dinner from a local supermarket. Other days I’m either tutoring at a school or teaching swimming (although not at the moment during lockdown), and have studio sessions anywhere around that.

Describe your studio/workspace

It’s a small high ceiling studio in Brixton. It’s a big old building that floods sun light in to my studio in golden hour/dusk. Facing away from the high street, It’s quiet but (before lockdown measures) lets faint sounds of night life and music in. I’ve built a desk that stretches across the longest wall. With room at either end to work large scale. It has a built in cupboard/cloakroom where I keep a kettle, coffee and snacks.

Where do your best ideas come from?

A lot of my ideas come to me from first hand life experience, observing physical phenomena, catching a glimmer of something on walks/cycles around the city, or when drifting to sleep. I also find consuming other media like songs, movies, videos, finding colour harmonies and photos helps me develop the aesthetic and body of a piece.

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

I would probably make a series of giant stain glass window paintings to be hung from the ceiling, lined up facing the hall entrance, allowing the natural light to pass through them all. Maybe smaller ones in different positions too.

What is helping you the most during this time?/Plug your next show! 

Will Hughes and I have a duo show which is now online, in place of what would’ve been at Gallery North in Newcastle.


Instagram: @robbie.okeeffe 


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