Steven Heaton

Steven Heaton

Steven Heaton – runner-up in our Contemporary Open and resident artist at Cross Street Arts in Wigan.

How did you create your winning entry, ‘What still remains’?

This piece took around four years to complete. It started life as a conventional canvas that I painted, sanded, re-painted. Within the canvas is a piece of metal from an abandoned factory, embedded in plaster and again painted several times. The canvas was buried in the ground for a number of years, occasionally dug up and exposed to various different seasons (you can see the pattern raindrops have left in the surface of the plaster). The idea was that nature would creep into dominance over the work.

It was placed inside a collapsible, framed box and over six months, the UV stabilised hard resin was poured over in carefully measured quantities. The resin sealed the work in an entropic, frozen state so it could deteriorate no further. The resin is a material that would survive the world without us, containing within ‘what still remains’ – a footprint of human interaction, the exact meaning of which has since been lost.

What does it mean to you to be a prize-winner?

Overwhelming, it really is. With the beautiful artwork all around me, to hear my name read out… I didn’t know what was happening and was a bit dazed! It is very encouraging, after spending all the time I do in my studio, questioning what it is I actually do!

How did you hear about the festival?

From a studio mate, Kat Button, who suggested I submit some of my work.

What does a typical day off involve?

I don’t really know what a ‘day off’ is… I suppose I only really switch off when I sleep, which I seem to do less of these days.

Who is your favourite artist?

Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Titian, Schalken. I’m obsessed with the work of the old masters. On the surface, my work couldn’t seem further away from these – but they have more in common with my meaning, mood and representation of a fading religious significance.

What inspires you?

I have a few friends who have so much enthusiasm and energy, I find it infectious. One particular girl has inspired and pushed me further than ever this year. The light just beams from her and her encouragement and love of my work got me here.

Where else can we see your work?

The Chapel Gallery, The Turnpike Gallery, The Hive Gallery (USA) – also at our own ‘Cross Street Arts’ gallery. I welcome anybody to drop by the studio and visit. There are many great artists to see and talk to and there is always plenty coffee and biscuits!


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