When We Visited The Artist Vincent Kamp

January 16, 2018

When We Visited The Artist Vincent Kamp

As you may know, the Camden Watch Co. family is growing and we have recently had the pleasure of welcoming our newest ambassador, artist Vincent Kamp.

Vincent is known for his evocative oil paintings featuring charismatic and enigmatic characters. However, calling him a painter wouldn’t be quite right. Just like a movie director, Vincent casts, composes and directs each scene. He is a storyteller who articulates his vision in mesmerising paintings.

A few weeks back, we were invited to pay Vincent a visit. So without any hesitation, we packed our backpacks and headed to Surrey to go take a look around his studio.

A real creative soul, Vincent's studio is full of inspiration. Sculptures, drawings, replicates of old masters and of course his intense oils paintings are all over his studio from floor to ceiling. After showing is his latest work in progress, we sat down with around a cup of coffee and got to know the man behind the paintings…

How and when did you get into painting ?

I know this sounds like a bit of a cliche but with good reason as I think pretty much anyone who has had any real artistic success always starts with.... Well, I've been drawing pretty much as far back as I can remember. Ha ha, so I guess I'll start with that.  Drawing is the fundamental skill you need in my opinion.  I have been creating all my life, whether in painting, sculpture, drawing or just building cool stuff.  I've messed about with painting on and off and got into digital painting with a graphics tablet for a while.  I didn't have the opportunity to get really deep into my oil painting until about 7 years ago.

Where do you draw your inspiration from and how do you choose your subject for your paintings? 

I love telling stories, so I'm always on the look out for something that will tell a story, it could be as simple as seeing a couple argue on the street or the way somebody checks around before they open their bag whilst waiting at the bar.  I'm always thinking, what's really going on here?  Or rather, what could be going on here?  Of course, I'm a huge fan of cinema and regularly study the work of my favourite cinematographers like Roger Deakins and Jordan Cronenweth, and filmmakers like David Fincher.

It's kinda difficult to describe how I pick the people for my paintings, there is a certain look they need for the story I'm trying to tell but then often it's just something about the way they carry themselves or how expressive their face is.  It's rarely the most classically good looking people that intrigue me.  Though I have painted a few of them, but only if they have a little something extra about them.


Take us through your creation process.

I'll usually have a theme for a series of paintings, so at the moment it's fear and loathing in east London. It's all centered around the back alley bars and clubs of east London and the kind of shit that goes on after hours.  I'll have an idea for a scene and then I think who do I know that fits into this character? Or otherwise, I'll ask around, you know seeing if somebody can introduce me to someone interesting.  

Every time I meet anyone, I'm always thinking...hmmm I wonder if I can use this person?  Of course they need to be able to play the character I have in mind and take a bit of direction.  Then, I'll find a venue, luckily I know a few people with bars and clubs and then I'll do a photoshoot.  I've usually got a pretty clear idea of what I want and often a shoot takes less than 30mins.  Sometimes the person or venue will inspire me to try other stuff though, but I never take long.  I have this movie playing in my head long before I pull the camera out.

Then it's back to the studio.  I'll go through the couple of hundred photos and eventually come up with the right composition which usually requires a couple of days of photoshop to get everything the way I like it.

I'll then do a few studies in charcoal, trying to get to know the faces or hands, so I'm familiar with the tricky stuff before I start the painting.  I may do an oil study of a face if I want to work out the colour palette a bit more.  Then I'm all in painting.  I paint with oil on alumiumium.  Aluminium is a super stable nice and smooth surface that will pretty much last forever.


What motivates you to create works of art?

First of all, i just really love it.  The whole process, watching this blank flat surface come to life is a total rush, but then I really love being able to tell a story in a single picture so that I can share it.  It probably sounds narcissistic but I love hearing from people what they think is going on in the painting.  TV and film do all the heavy lifting for you, they spoon feed the plot, the characters, the whole journey.  I hope my paintings enable the viewer to create a lot of that themselves.... Which, I hope, is ultimately more rewarding.



What are your plans for the future? 

Lots more painting. Hopefully some bigger pieces and I've got some pretty ambitious plans for my solo show in November 2018.  I want to create a totally immersive experience.  It's going to be awesome... I hope.  Long term I would love to somehow get involved with film.  To see my paintings come to life.  Maybe art direction.  I won't stop painting though, that's just in my blood. 


If you want to see more of Vincent Kamp's paintings click here.

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