Read Henry’s previous interview on Daily Imprint.
What are your preferred tools, materials and equipment? I use a lot of turpentine. Really heavily diluted oil paint. No material is really that sacred to me. In fact, the life of most tools and materials in my studio is transient. Except for my canvas pliers and a few pretty rare tubes of paint, I don’t think I’ve kept anything for more than a year.
How do you dress for your job? Sometimes I try to dress nice so as to give more significance to the day of painting. Ultimately I get paint on everything so I’ve had to limit that. I have painted in my underpants many times...
What is the current state of your desk or creative space? Right now I’m stretching lots of canvases, and I’ve just had a show so all the work over the past six months is out. Basically there are paint tubes strewn all over the floor, lots of excess canvas, stretching bars, frames and wine bottles.
What's your approach to managing technology - from emails to social media? It’s very hard.
When and what do you have for lunch? I like to cook a lot. At the moment I’m very into light ragu. Ones which have a minimalist approach to evoking the most out of a flavour without crowding the sauce. Letting the reduction do the work. Lunch time pappardelle is becoming more common around here.
What's your preferred pick-me-up? Coffee and wine. Food makes me tired. If I am painting well, then that itself is a perpetual pick me up.
How do you combat physical or creative lulls? For creative lulls I play snooker or just go out. Change my environment a bit. But normally I adopt the ethos of “continuing to work through creative lulls”, because relying on lightning bolt moments is a sure way to a fragmented and dissonant practise.
What role does silence or sound play in your day? This is a hard one. Often I’ll find I have worked six hours in silence, and only realise at the end of the day. But sometimes my thoughts are far too chaotic and disrupting so they can ruin my decision-making processes. At those times I listen to things which are ambient and repetitive, like house music; as a means of reaching a meditative state.
What's the last thing you do before finishing work for the day? Clean my brushes... Pour a glass of wine and sit to look at my work. For about half an hour I will reflect on my progress, then make decisions about various changes I will make the next day. This means by the morning I will be prepared to make informed amendments. If it has been a bad day at the studio, I run out as fast as I can without cleaning my brushes.