Guy Vording: Pleasure, Loneliness and Solitude

Here’s a highly underrated artist you may not have seen the work of before. I came across his work on Instagram where I saw his ‘Black Pages’ drawings, then became maybe a little obsessed. There was an immediate attraction to the way that he works. And by way, I mean the inner workings of the drawings themselves.

Guy Vording (by Sanna Gertenbach).jpg

The joy of Instagram is that we can share our work digitally and have it seen (and sometimes appreciated) by a much wider audience. This is how I stumbled across your drawings. Have you made many useful contacts through the use of Instagram?

A few. I’ve mainly been in contact with artists from Italy, Germany and the United States, who’ve asked me to collaborate. This has been great opportunity to grow my audience and develop work. I’ve also met some international collectors who’ve contacted me about my work. Some have visited my studio while they travelled to Amsterdam. So yes, I think you could say that I’ve made some useful contacts through the use of Instagram. Especially when you keep in mind that I didn’t have any expectations while sharing my work on social media. 

Black Pages II, Somehow it just doesn't feel like Christmas.jpg
Black Pages, The Dying Home, 2017.jpg

Can you tell us a little about the works that you last showed and what they mean to you?

I’m always working on a few series at once. Since graduating four years ago, I started focussing on drawings and collages. The last series I’ve showed are a mix of both disciplines: Black Pages I&II, Most People Are Idiots and How Not To Live In Suburbia. They all have a different feeling but for me, the differences aren’t as big as people think. 

I prefer to work in series because it gives me the chance to tell the story I want. You can read it as a book. I often say, page by page. The main subject of my work is loneliness. Not only the big, heavy kind but also the pleasure of solitude. It’s a part of our profession to be alone and lonely every now and then and personally I think it’s a lovely part of it. Most of the time.

Most people are idiots #3 (2017).jpg

I’m always more drawn to large fields of the colour black. Black is black and it isn’t/ is much more at the same time; you’ll know what I mean here. Can you tell us the inner workings of specifically, your black pencil watercolour drawings on newspaper?

A few years ago I started working on Black Pages I. I started collecting old (American) newspapers and magazines where I only used one single page. That page is going to be the base of my work. I rip it out of the magazine and that’s how I keep the shape, with one torn side and sometimes a dog ear because I want people to see it as a page. Then I start drawing, slowly and gently because the old paper is extremely fragile. This can take hours, days, weeks. It’s a slow process. The moment I pick a page I already see something that is intriguing: a word, an imagine, empty space. And from that moment becomes a game to make it a new story. My story.

This is an ongoing project about, you might say, personal issues. Think about loneliness, anxiety, depression, burn-outs, control issues, a desire to leave. Issues that my generation are struggling with. But I try to show it from a different angle. Never as literal as the word itself. Most of the time as a metaphor, and sometimes as a daily situation that seems normal. 

Black Pages II, Over the disaster.jpg

How does the city of Amsterdam influence the way that you create work and are there any other cities that you’d like to work in for long periods of time?

Amsterdam doesn’t really influence the way I create my work, not that I’m aware of. I love living here and don’t see myself living in another Dutch city, but I don’t bring it into my work. On the other hand, New York is a city where I lived for a few years and that’s still a big inspiration to me. Not only Manhattan, but also the suburbs. This is probably one of the reasons why all magazines and newspapers I use are American.

Follow Guy @guyvording