Artist and designer Morag Myerscough, born and bred in London, creates installations and immersive spatial artworks that transform places and champion community and public interaction. Her work is firmly rooted in a very personal experience of belonging and never fails to charm, entice and encourage people to feel differently about their experience of where they are. Every artwork generates a very specific local response, which she uses to create community and build identity within a place. Morag supports The National Brain Appeal’s exhibition of art on envelopes, A Letter in Mind, that will be taking place in November at the Oxo Gallery and online. Applications are currently open, find out more here.
What are you doing today?
Preparing everything to start painting 28 x panels for a new installation ‘A New Now’ to be installed in Paris this September. I am also thinking about the artwork I want to make for The National Brain Appeal’s A Letter in Mind. It is a fantastic fundraising exhibition where all the artworks are £85 and anonymous until sold. They always have such good artists involved, including my sister Ishbel Myerscough and Chantal Joffe.
Tell us about your creative process.
I let thoughts build in my head over a period of time. I draw on memories and experiences, they often take a while to surface. I can’t get it out straight away. Then I find a way of getting it out, can be pen sketch or drawing directly on the computer.
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
My studio is on the ground floor of my home. I have an area that is darker and I have my computer and work at a table. I paint in a top lit space.
What’s the most exciting project you’ve worked on?
Every project I do has to excite me these days or I don’t want to spend time doing it. So my current project ‘A New Now’ feels exciting. The work is a response to what we have all just lived through and continue to. The future is totally unknown and so we need to live in the now, everything is disrupted and looks like it will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
What made you decide to become an artist?
My father was a classical musician and my mother a textile artist. My father really wanted us to be academic and I did well at school. At the age of 17 I decided to drop my biology A level and concentrate on Art subjects, I told my headmistress that I wanted to go to art school she said to me that was a stupid idea and how was I going get a job. I just thought my parents have fed and clothed me and kept me safe and so I don’t see why I can do that too. I put my portfolio together and got into Foundation at St Martin’s School of Art.
What are you currently working on?
‘A New Now’ and painting my house top to bottom. Painting my house was my lockdown therapy.
Do you listen to music while you work, and if so, what’s your soundtrack?
I tend to listen to BBC Radio 4 more than music.
What are the key themes in your work?
What would you like people to notice in your work?
The layering of the work. My work is very bold with lots of pattern and colour. There are often different narratives existing.
Love at First Sight — installation In Aberdeen. On one level to make a strong statement in the centre of the city that would draw people to the work and contrast with the surrounding granite architecture.
‘Love at First Sight’ is a phrase everybody can relate to. I had lived with the phrase all my life as my parents met in Aberdeen by chance, and they recounted the story often…..
The piece was built around the Mercat cross, which is a long standing meeting place in Aberdeen.
I worked with the doric poet Jo Gilbert and she wrote a piece in direct response to my parents meeting and then she worked with the community to write a poem ‘Dear Aberdeen’ a love letter to their city. The installation was layered with these narratives.
Look Again Festival team got an incredible team together of students and parents to paint my patterns of the whole structure, and everybody had ownership of the project in different ways. I am very meticulous with painting and for three days worked with the team and set up systems as it is like huge paint by numbers at that stage.
What attracts you to the mediums you work in?
I love that I am not limited with the amount of colours I want to use. Seeing the rich flat colours on the on paint in the studio makes me feel very happy. Then when the work leaves my studio and is installed it takes it to another level.
What equipment could you not do without?
Sketchbook, pen, computer, paints, tape, rulers, brushes and rollers
Who or what inspires you?
How does gender affect your work?
I am glad I have stayed determined over the years and it has taken the world to change for me to do the work I am doing now.
As I make structural work it has been difficult at times getting male builders to listen to me and not be determined to undermine me and I have to admit that has been challenging and frustrating and should not be the case (2019 was still a bad year) but it has not deterred me.
What’s your favourite gallery, or place to see or experience art?
I have always loved the Hayward Gallery. I went to see Hockney Paints the Stage in 1985 which was totally magical. Recently I saw the Bridget Riley exhibition. I love how the different exhibitions respond to the brutalist architecture.
If you could own one piece of art, what would it be and why?
I have always loved Bridget Riley’s work and I have a print on my wall of Blaze 1, 1962 and I never tired of it. So I would love the original.
What’s your favourite colour?
I try not to have a favourite colour. I have been working through all my projects over the last 8 years and yellow is very apparent so if I have to choose one I will say ‘Yellow’.
Find out more:-