Creative Confabs: Q&A with Alchemical Artist Dr. B


Welcome to The Dilettante Creative Confabs in which we chat to contemporary, independent artists about their work, inspirations, and creative process.


This time around we speak to Cornwall artist Dr B., who creates ever-changing alchemical artworks using natural materials found in the local landscape.

 

We usually think of works of art as static; something diligently crafted and composed, until at at last the artist decides it is complete. Exploring the intersection between art, alchemy and science, Dr B.'s work covers themes of time and transformation. By utilising the natural electro-chemical reactions made by combining specially concocted solutions with materials such as tin, copper and iron, the work evolves into beautiful natural hues long after they have been set on the canvas.


The Dilettante spoke to DR. B to discover some of his inspirations and processes...



Time lapse of V3 Reaction by Dr. B (30/05/2022 - 05/06/2022)

Tell us a little about these pieces of work

The works are a result of time based electrochemical reactions between differing metals in a conductive fluid.

Describe your creative style in three words.

Experimental. Alchemical. Emergent.

Which artists (alive or dead) would you invite to dinner? What would you talk about?

Marcel Duchamp and Leonora Carrington. We would discuss invisible dimensions, serendipity and inframince [a term coined by Duchamp for ephemeral, ultra-thin, and undecidable phenomena – such as the warmth that remains on a chair after a person gets up.]


 

"I take great pleasure from the unexpected surprises my work produces."


 

What do you like to do when you're not making art and does this feed into your art?

Read strange tales, mindlessly doodle, listen to atmospheric music, walk in wild woods looking at lichen and fungi. This takes my mind to quiet inners spaces where ideas might spontaneously emerge from the deepest depths.



'E-scape' by Dr. B (2020)

Is your process messy and chaotic or considered and organised?

Both. It's a combination of creating the appropriate electrochemical environments from which surprising chaotic forms and colours emerge. It can be messy when a work leaks.


If you could go back in history and mingle within any creative movement, when would you go and why?

Dada and surrealism. Surrealism tapped into and enabled the expression and sharing of the unconscious. They all seemed to be having a lot of fun challenging the conventions of the time.

Where do you look for inspiration? Does it lie in the past, present or future?

It lies in the present, the immediate past with an eye to the future. I take great pleasure from the unexpected surprises my work produces.

What are you working on now?

Two new larger reaction pieces alongside concocting a new experimental conductive fluid.

What is the best piece of creative advice you have to share?

Dare to risk and constantly surprise yourself.

Why do you think art is important?

It's a magical and energetic space supporting freedom of expression and the cultivation of imagination


'Dendritic' by Dr B. (2020)
 

"It makes me realise how fluid time is, how short our lives are, how time passes, its strange properties, short, fast, slow, finite, infinite."


 

Do you need certain conditions to create?

An empty mind and a quiet space with no distractions.

What is your favourite piece of art of all time and what drew you to it?

Étant donnés, Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas Sculptural artwork by Marcel Duchamp and Rrose Sélavy. 1946–1966. It was made secretly with instructions that it would be shown after his death.


How does your art practice help your outlook on the world?

It's very contemplative. It makes me realise how fluid time is, how short our lives are, how time passes, its strange properties, short, fast, slow, finite, infinite and how we all live in our bubbles of awareness, passing through time as it were.

What do you do when you are stuck for inspiration?

Go for a walk, ideally by the sea or in the rain, or up a hill or in some woods.

When did you decide to become an artist?

I've always been one. No decision was involved! Why did you decide to become an artist? Actually having a surplus of 'free time' has helped enormously.

What struggles do you face creatively and do you have a remedy?

Sometimes one gets stuck or loses the inclination. Best not to stress out, do something else, cook, read, play a game, make some noise.

What has been the best moment you've had whilst being an artist?

When my work has an independent life of its own and rewards me with its surprising magic and unexpected beauty.


Find out more about Dr. B at theartifactsofdrb.com

 

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