Connor Addison
Painter and photographer based in Barcelona, Spain and London, UK

Co-founder of Last Universal Creative Ancestor

After studying painting at Central St Martins I went on to study Politics Philosophy and Economics at the University of Manchester. Both my academic and artistic practice has come to motivate my creative investigation into the sublime, aesthetics, emotion and pattern. I have exhibitied work in places like Leighton House in London and Salon d’Automne in Paris. 

Portrait of Connor Addison
photo © Charlotte Gilks

by Psychic Garden Magazine 

1. What artists and styles are your main source of inspiration?

Broadly, my work counters the idea of difference for the sake of difference, I love the rich history of creativity that has gotten us to where we are, it should not be thrown away as a relic of yesterday, rather reinterpreted.

With this in mind, I try to incorporate a wide range of inspirations.Picasso’s cubism and Bacon's paintings are latent in my works but there is also inspiration from the renaissance, Brutalist architecture, poetry, Stanley Kubrick, Conceptualism and Pop Art, especially in my upcoming paintings.

I think I'm attempting to bring as many influences as possible together because all art comes from the same creative source and builds upon yesterdays discoveries.

That's true for all elements of human progress, it has taken millennia to build this foundation of inspiration, all of it is valid in this constantly unfolding story of humanity.

2. Tell us about Luca Gallery... What is the art scene like in Barcelona?

LUCA, which stands for Last Universal Creative Ancestor, is a long term project of founding an online/offline art collective of creatives from different backgrounds, to sustain their practices and encourage-cross disciplinary experimentation.

The name is borrowed from the biological Last Universal Cellular Ancestor, the first common single cell that appeared 3.6 billion years ago, from which all life was born; our genetic origin. Similarly, our creative origin comes from the first-ever work of art, a ceremonial Acheulean hand axe, which, though mimetic evolution, has become all the art forms we see today.

I would love to see LUCA become a platform of experimentation between different species in this family tree of creativity, putting filmmakers and painters together, sculptors and musicians etc. I'm reasonably new to the Barcelona scene, but it is quite a relief from the scene in London where it sometimes feels like drowning in a sea of artists. 

What is your process for painting? Any advice you wish to share?

Today, just like fast fashion there is too much fast art, I have no problem with work being quick to make, but I feel in the 21st century we are losing an appreciation for slowness and craft. 

When I paint, I take my time, probably to my detriment. Often works arrive as a mental image and I work to extract that onto a canvas.

I feel anyone looking to paint should learn two things above everything else, patience and a strong sense of self-belief. Patience is more obvious, it allows for more detail, larger works, more consideration. But self-belief is the harder one, when anyone is really pushing their creative limits they need to sit in a space of doubt, for me it means sometimes the canvas is an oppressive surface, it's in charge, but you have to wrestle with it and believe in what you are doing or face defeat.
Tell us a bit about your story... Where were you born?

I would love to give you an amazing life story about overcoming adversity, like that I was born in a plane wreck in Siberia where I was raised by wolves and went on an epic journey to discover where I came from, but In reality, I'm just like anyone else. I was privileged enough to be born in London, went to a state school, university, met a girl, moved country and became an artist. That’s it!

But that averageness is just what you should know about me, even when nothing special happens it’s still really intense and deeply interesting. I'm very interested in that, existence as a universal; the philosophy of human experience. My paintings try to create windows that invite reflection into our own incomprehension, pain and joy for life and, I hope, remind everyone that you’re not alone in it sublime unravelling.