David Eustace. Portrait by Radek Nowacki
Which exhibition or event are you most looking forward to in 2015 and why?
I was talking to somebody about this the other day: the one show I would have loved to have caught but sadly missed, was the Horst exhibition at the V&A. I’m determined not leave it so late to visit a show again. Therefore, two exhibitions I’ll certainly be visiting this year — and which I’m really looking forward to — are Sargent’s Portraits at London’s National Portrait Gallery, and Frank Auerbach at Tate Britain.
I’ve also been able to get an early glimpse at the wonderful collection currently on display at the National Gallery of Scotland, which includes a diverse selection of pieces — from the Gothic to Northern Renaissance, to Dutch and Flemish masters, with a wonderful collection of Turners across an entire floor.
J M W Turner, Sea View, mid-1820s. Watercolour and gouache on blue paper. 13.5 x 19 cm. Scottish National Gallery
I should also mention that I’m looking forward to my own exhibition, Selected Works, to be held at The Scottish Gallery in February. Not only will this be the first time I’ve exhibited in the UK since my Ego exhibition at Cork Street in 1998 (later held at The Glasgow Art Club), but it will also be the first exhibition of photography in the gallery’s 173-year history. I’m very honoured to be part of this little moment of history.
I tend to spend around four to five months of the year in New York and one show I always look forward to is Tracey Emin’s yearly exhibition at Lehmann Maupin. It always offers something to think about and you can never predict what Tracey is going to do next.
There’s also the David Bailey show (see main image) coming to Edinburgh at The Scottish National Portrait Gallery later in 2015. I saw this show when it was on at the National Portrait Gallery in London earlier this year and, whilst I know the work inside out, I’m keen to revisit the exhibition in a smaller space. I think it’s something it’s going to benefit from; without sounding too critical, I would have loved to have seen the 2014 (Bailey) show half the size it was, as I think this would have made it twice as powerful.
David Bailey, Kate Moss, 2013 © David Bailey
To answer your question, however, each year the show I’m most looking forward to will often be one I just stumble across somewhere — often unplanned, be it London, Edinburgh or New York. It’s often one of those days when, idly walking, you enter a space and go ‘Wow! That’s amazing.’
What do you predict will be the most significant development, or the biggest talking point, in art in 2015 and why?
I don’t think any of us can really know — if I could I would be a far wealthier man! It can only really be guess work. However I don’t think there’s going to be just one big thing in art this year, well I hope not.
I’d like to see a return to a greater respect and understanding of the craft. All too often I feel we’ve become lost in immediacy: that we’re in danger of arriving at a point where galleries are both inundated and happy with mediocrity, surface, trends and the same old regurgitated s*** — dare I say formula?
Great work will always exist, of course it will, but in recent years fame has arguably become more important for some artists than their art itself; we are seriously in danger of being lost in the ordinary. A friend and fellow artist in Scotland, John Byrne, recently stated he felt many ‘so-called or self-styled artists don’t work these days’ and I tend to agree with him. I’m not sure it will happen, but I would love to see greater respect given back to craft, balanced with a comment from the artist. Sargent and Auerbach are, for me, the perfect combination of this.
Which artist most excites you right now and why?
It’s a boring answer, but I’m looking at older artists a lot now, and seeing so much more in their work than I’ve ever probably seen. Perhaps that’s just me getting older?
There is however one young artist (amongst many) in New York at the moment who I’m drawn to — Serge Miquel — who’s just got this energy, this power; there’s a frenetic pace to his work. He’s a street artist and the street is primarily still his gallery; he will not sell his principles and I respect that ethos. Thankfully there are a few collectors who have picked up on his work and this allows him to run a small studio and continue to create. I think he is one young artist certainly worth the watching.
If history has taught us anything in terms of art it’s that passion has always survived no matter what, be it war, famine or any other worldly tragedy or chaos. This young artist certainly has passion.
Tell us about the project that you are working on for 2015?
A mid-career retrospective book of my work from the past 25 years has just been published by London’s Clearview books, and is entitled I write to tell you of a baby born only yesterday, and whilst that’s a f*****’ long title there’s a reason for it. When I was 14, I found out that I was adopted; the book’s title is the opening line of the letter from social services I came across informing me of my adoption.
I Write to Tell You of a Baby Boy Born Only Yesterday, by David Eustace
The collection presented in this publication brings together my work from the past 25 years, going from the end of one period to the beginning of another. I always try to have ideas and projects on the go, and recently began one entitled Friends and Artists — a series of portraits for which I hope to return to a greater simplicity, in terms of how my work is produced.
Often my work involves a third party; Friends and Artists will see my work hopefully return to a less constructed union — of two people meeting, with the approach hopefully offering me more flexibility in my approach to portraiture.
Bedouin Girl, © David Eustace Photography
I’m also hoping to begin work on a short film I’ve had in mind for some years now. Working in conjunction with a London based art agency and global brand, the project is entitled One Mile of Nothing. Based in Arizona, it’s a social collective documentary, the essence of which is to unite strangers through the routes that often take us in different directions, yet link us all.
I’ve also been approached by an airline carrier that is keen to create a body of work or observation in the same vein as of that which I made for The Weir Group back in 2011. Finally, an idea that’s been kicking around in my head for sometime and now feels right is a series of images set in NYC, entitled The Clown comes to Town. Let’s see what 2015 holds...