Finn Stone and his surreal imagination will be coming to Imitate Modern this October in an exclusive and unseen exhibition of his work. We dared to delve deeper into the “master of mediums” outlandish world.
Finn Stone – the artist who is renowned for mastering every medium he touches. From fiberglass, wood and resin, to painting and furniture, it is no surprise that after studying Ceramics for his Degree, his famous “Ball Chair” quickly went on to become an iconic design classic. Born in London in 1971, Finn holds the strength of his Irish parentage close along with creative diversity.
Fast forward and now the Mad Hatters current way of expression is underpinned by a strong sense of freedom. And his creative process proves it. Finn’s North-London home can only be described as a landscape of his mind…vast, eccentric, colourful and intricate – a simply wonderful collection of creations from his 22 years in the Art world. We sat down with Finn to find out more about his background and creative process.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like?
“I grew up in North London, I think you know from a young age that you’re a bit different…you may not wear the same clothes as of other people. I wish it were the 70s now, today the “normal” dress sense is t-shirt and jeans – but that was cool then. What’s cool now is very expensive.
I used to have a lot of pets, rabbits, budgies…all sorts. I wasn’t allowed a dog, but now I make fibreglass ones.
It was fun – I had a lot of fun. My mum had a free mind, my dad was a car dealer – and in the 70s that was a great thing. Irish parents…meant you were free. I was never told to be a doctor, I was never told to be something. The child never left me, now I can make the toys myself.”
Who has been one of your biggest influences in the art world?
“Ron Arad, he works a lot in art furniture. I’ve worked with him on a placement; there’s an experience from working with someone you aspire to. You get there, and then you feel like you could actually do better.
Also Vernon Paton and Salvador Dali, when I was 16 I painted one for the church, and it’s still hung there today. Salvador Dali and Gaudi’s warped minds inspired the gate in the back of my home. And Henry Moore inspires me too. My first course was actually in ceramics, I found myself making teapots, which are now displayed in Lancashire.
“Learning process is key to ideas and product and making in art. I know how to make things. Everybody can draw a circle but not everyone can make a ball, and that’s how I made the ball chair”
– at the time producing a fibreglass ball was expensive. It’s all a frame of mind, I make pictures that are ugly too.”
What is your dream project?
“I do have some designs to build a sphere house. Life is edgy enough as it is; it would almost be like being inside a womb, a complete sphere and would stem from the ball chair. That’s definitely one of them. I’d also love to bring out a fashion range, hats, coats – contemporary modern street wear, combined with history, especially iconic items like bowler hats.”
Tell us about one of the most surprising responses you have had to your work?
“You always get the reaction: “I don’t understand how you’ve made this. And I do think that myself sometimes (laughs), I think that’s why people buy the work, they don’t get bored of looking at it. Again its back to the process,
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, whom would you choose?
“I’d love to collaborate with Alexander McQueen if he were alive, in artistic and sculpted clothing. Also John Galliano. For a long time fashion has been burning in me, I’ve done everything. I’ve started making my own jeans, but I like what I’m focusing on.”
You are often described as eccentric, what has been your most extravagant experience this year been so far?
“There are many things that happen, you just don’t expect it. You might be on a train going to Paris, in fact I was. The person I sat next to worked in a high position for Tate, and she knew of my work, wow. You’ve just turned to me and said, “Are you Finn Stone?” – its that feeling of coincidence of crossing certain people at certain times. What you’ve got to remember is what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”
Finn’s constant experimentation and exploration has lead to what Finn describes as a ”Battle between control and excess”, a balance between spontaneous creation alongside creative control. That said, his Instagram page is filled with deliciously satisfying textures, crisp colours and strokes bursting with expression and intent. One could only imagine what’s to come – and that’s why we love him. Many of his works have an underlying element of sculpture. His use of difficult or “found” objects lead to a series of popular Art historical paintings, reinterpreted with paintbrushes as the canvas.
“I make and paint what I want…
you can be an artist and be free.”
Finn Stone’s iconic “ball chair” is a mass market piece. 100,000 have been produced since 2004.
Finn’s unusual yet memorizing technique has led to other famous interpretations featuring Van Gogh, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, a tribute to Edvard Munch’s The Big Scream and Muhammad Ali. One thing that is notable is his ability to blend techniques within one piece effortlessly. “I find it very difficult to cover eyes, because I want them to ‘see…I feel like it was going to block the vision.” Finn expresses. Using only painted print fabrics for the eyes instead of brushes “sets the eyes back” he says. The juxtaposition of both harsh and intricate make his works in both sculpture and paint a feast for the eyes.
LOVE GLOVES 2015.
THE BLUE LADY (Tribute to Matisse) 2018.
IMAGINARY PORTRAIT No.2
ROCK N ROLL RACER 2018.
Finn Stone is one of the most creative artists in Contemporary Art in the last 30 years and the diversity of Finn’s work means he cannot be categorised. Imitate Modern invites you to view Finn Stones exclusive and coveted works, joined by the Mad Hatter himself in our latest exhibition.
From October 11 – November 12, is a showcase of never before seen pieces that are yet to enter the commercial market. Imitate Modern x Mad hatter Finn Stone will turn Shepherd Market upside down for an unforgettable evening. What to expect? An evening full of imagination and extravagance, see you there! Bring a hat if you dare.
19 Shepherd Market // W1J 7PJ // LONDON // Mayfair
Private View: 11.10.18, 6pm – 9pm // Exhibition: 12.10.18-12.11.18