Nathan Eastwood

Nathan Eastwood


I often ask myself what makes a social realist painting? How do I make a social realist painting? Should an artist if wanting to paint in a social realist context have a political commitment and conscience? What does the working class look like today? Owen Jones poses asks the question; ‘what is the working class in the twenty-first century Britain?’

My grey paintings are meticulously made using
humbrol enamel paint on MDF. These paintings are based on photographs that I take myself using a camera phone. The photos are quite casual, but each chosen motif is part of an on-going investigation. I am interested in painting the contemporary working class. The paintings have become an allegorical of contemporary social existence. I often spend time sitting in places like launderettes and cafes chatting with other people or I am at home performing domestic duties. At certain moments, when making my bed, walking around in public spaces, noticing rubbish scattered around, picking up the kids from school, surfing the internet, and watching question time, I think yes, this is real life; this is what I know, and so this is what I want to paint. And so my intentions are to make paintings that integrate real life and that reflect my social conditions.

The photograph acts as the bridge between my painted support and the real world; they provide me information and content that act as a vehicle, allowing me; time to re-present and examine/scrutinise the real social existence. Ultimately, my objective is to make a contemporary social realist painting; to utilise the language of the photographic, its indexicality of sings of the real world and to make to the premise of socio-realist painting contemporary.

The enamel paint is very thin and requires many layers to build up the surface creating any real substance, depth and a sense of physicality. The paint dries too quickly, so too slow this down I use a little glaze to extend and keep the enamel wet longer. The painted works that I make reveal loose brushwork, marks and the surface is riddled with imperfections, such as trapped dust and hair. This series of imperfections inherent within the application and inability to make the painting simulate the photographic print positions my paintings as not being, photo real. The enamel paint relates to the interior where you will find a painted radiator, skirting boards, or something like this.
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Location London
Artforms / type of project Painting