INTERVIEW: THURSTON EMPSON

THURSTON EMPSON

ACCIDENTAL COMPOSITIONS

DESCRIBE YOUR WORK IN THREE WORDS.

Atmospheric, minimal, quiet, ethereal, muted.

What does your art focus on?

Everyday environments and landscapes conveying an atmosphere through light and tone, and finding a sense of stillness. I like to highlight objects and spaces that are often overlooked.
What triggers your imagination?

Accidental compositions. When I see objects and spaces in the urban environment that sit in harmony, a light bulb goes off in my head which stops me in my tracks. 

Who’s had the most influence on your artistic growth and why? 

Jeffrey Smart, who brings beauty to the mundane through composition, texture and tonality. I like his compositions, repetition of simple geometry and pops of colour against muted backgrounds. Some of my favourite pieces are Holiday 1971, Cahill Expressway 1962 and Alma Mahler feeding the birds.

Besides your computer/phone, what is the one thing you cannot work without? 

Headphones, there is a soundtrack to every moment.

Has Instagram influenced your work?  

Having access to many photographers that share a similar muted palette and a focus on composition has certainly influenced my work. I look at their work and appreciate variants on framing, and let my subconscious soak it up.

Name three Instagram accounts you follow religiously.

Rory Gardiner, Daniel Koehler Photography, Coast Studios.

Tell us about your biggest failure.

Taking part in an exhibition with many other artists, and realising who my audience is or isn’t.

Your five all-time favorite movies?

Death Proof - Mid West American desolate and industrial scenes.

Dunkirk - Wide ‘empty’ shots.

The Truman Show - emphasis on melancholic urbanscapes.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona - atmosphere conveyed through sound, colour and light.

Snatch - Storyline and a well cut film.

Your all-time five favorite music tracks?

Drei auf Drei - Sascha Funke

A Paw in my Face - The Field

Sola Sistim - Underworld

Getting Closer - Hird

Lay of the Land - Plej

Who is your dream collaboration?

Rory Gardiner is an architectural photographer whose work I really admire. I like how he captures atmosphere, darkness, mood and softness within an image. You can often feel what the subjects are feeling in a certain space or place. 

What keeps you going?

Continuously changing atmospheres throughout the day. And coffee.