Alex Chinneck – Look Closer

ABOUT Alex

Alex Chinneck is a British artist and designer who lives and works in London. Uniting art, architecture, theatre and engineering, his public installations are considerable in scale and ambition. Each of Chinneck’s projects are conceived in response to the place in which they stand and so they are unique and belonging to their location.

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Where did the idea for your latest installation “Take my lightning but don’t steal my Thunder” come from?

The work is born from and belonging to Covent Garden Piazza and so the visual and material decisions have always been made with the districts architectural language, theatrical heritage and broad visitor demographic in mind. I have allowed the context to define the concept so the outcome harmoniously intertwines with the surroundings despite its significant size. This philosophy underpins my approach to public art.

What do you hope this piece sparked in the people passing by and looking at the installation?

My work takes physically complex paths to playful visual moments and so the hovering building looks to sculpturally astound but mischievously engage its audience. My work attempts to introduce fantasy into familiar scenes, situations and surroundings to elevate the everyday world. With this philosophy in mind, the project is a positive piece that hopes to deliver the simple pleasures of illusion, humor and spectacle to all and anyone that visits it.

What is that you aim to add to a public space with your pieces?

I attempt to balance spectacle with subtlety and although the artworks are of significant size they must be simultaneously capable of integrating into the place in which they stand. My ideas are always contextually sensitive, conceived with the visual and material language of the area in mind but also conscious of the regions history and user demographic. I do not want to dominate a district. I want to visually compliment it while increasing the footfall through it.

“Progress is never without risk, ambition and sacrifice.”

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Artist Alex Chinneck
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UNDER THE WEATHER BUT OVER THE MOON © Alex Chinneck

What is the main difference you find in producing a large scale installation instead of a smaller design object?

The principal difference is the logistical and administrational challenges that an outdoor, public and large artwork presents. My designs must always evolve with planning consent, building regulations, wind loading, snow loading, weather conditions and transport routes firmly in mind. The structural challenges are greater, as are the financial risks.

In your work you combine art, architecture and engineering in an ironic and suggestive way. What do you think inspired you the most during your design education?

I studied painting at Chelsea College of Art. I think this process confirmed and charged my enthusiasm to explore creative disciplines beyond just art making. I am an artist but my inspirations are broad.

FROM THE KNEES OF MY NOSE TO THE BELLY OF MY TOES © Alex Chinneck
FROM THE KNEES OF MY NOSE TO THE BELLY OF MY TOES © Alex Chinneck

If your next installation were in Rome, which square or street would you pick?

I would sincerely welcome the invitation and opportunity to decide. Rome presents a fantastic opportunity and canvas for architectural distortion because we can approach iconic structures and materials from the past with the artistic freedom and contemporary sculptural possibilities of today.

 

What do you think would be a soundtrack that marries well with your latest piece?

A storm.

Do you have a favourite designer that inspires you the most?

My current inspirations are the work of Thomas Heatherwick, Richard Wilson, Jack Dorsey, Alexander McQueen and Kanye West.

What is the first suggestion you would give to someone who wants to become a designer?

Progress is never without risk, ambition and sacrifice. Work extremely hard, carve your own professional path and create your own opportunities.

“I have always wanted to be an extraordinary person that does extraordinary things. Art is the best and most natural way for me to try.”

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UNDER THE WEATHER BUT OVER THE MOON © Alex Chinneck