ART: Artist, Ally McIntyre
Written by: Sophie Taylor
Get ready to fall in love. It’s time to meet Canadian born, London based painter Ally McIntyre. We caught up over a coffee in Jealous Gallery North, smelling the paint still drying on her canvases and playing with fridge magnets. Ally McIntyre speaks to Narth Fur.
We begin by bonding over our shared hatred of watching back video or listening to audio of ourselves. “I just won’t do it!” Allie laughs. But it’s a serious issue. She’s had a lot of attention since graduating just last year and is often photographed and recorded for her art, recently posing for photos with Arthouse superstar Tracey Emin after winning the Hix Award last year.
This is the second solo exhibition of Ally’s at Jealous, following the huge success of her sell-out ‘Moon Dazed’ show in October 2015. As well as busying herself winning wards, Ally has gained many notable private collectors, and was accepted into the Victoria and Albert Museum Permanent Print Collection.
“I’m not well versed in that side of the art world. I’m not really ready for the media attention I guess. I’m feeling good now. There was a period where I was pretty anxious about everything because I went from school, concentrating on the work, then coming out to this success. And I started to think a lot about that, which took me away from what I was doing.
But then something just clicked recently and I thought, okay I just have to concentrate on being truthful to the work and not too hung up on what happens or doesn’t happen. Because that can be a really weird place for your headspace.”
Where did you study?
“It was at Goldsmiths, in South London. Before that it was at the University of Alberta in Canada.”
How did you find the switch coming from Canada to London?
“It was really wild. Especially because it was so practice driven at U of A and they just let you get on with your own thing.
I went to Goldsmiths to study Masters of Fine Arts Studio, mainly because of their alumni, perhaps for more superficial reasons. But once I got there I realised it was very intense and I was under constant dissection of me as a person and for the work I was making.
So that was a real shock. But I think by my second year, I rebelled against that idea of dissection and being under that critical examination. I’m glad that I had that as the first year was really difficult. Coming to the UK was a real change. It feels like a dream here because of the slight changes in language, driving,”
The same but slightly different, the uncanny.
“It’s like a little wonky yes! I’m still getting used to it here, it’s interesting. I used to think I didn’t have much of a strong identity being Canadian but I realised, oh man, I do! I say ‘ay’ a lot for example.”
What would you say the main differences are, day to day?
“I didn’t think too much about it before I came so it hit me like a ton of bricks because I wasn’t mentally prepared for that little switch. I’m acting like I moved somewhere crazy. We speak English, but there’s these slight little differences that throw you. I had to process it all in a very quick amount of time.”
I hear this is your first time in Crouch Hill?
“It’s amazing to me that the buzz and energy of the city is found everywhere. I know the coffee is really good up north. And this is the original Jealous gallery, Jealous North. It’s really wild, the set up. And out back, the shed, full of prints. Discovering all these places in North London, since studying in South London it’s amazing.”
You won the Jealous Prize didn’t you?
“Yes! Back in 2014 – 2015. It’s in the Victoria and Albert collection now. Jealous were into a painting I did called ‘Moon Cried For Ferdinand’ which was the one they waned to do the edition of. I wasn’t going to show it at first and put it in my final show last minute. Now it’s one of my favourites.”
Because it woooonn the priiiize
“Haha no, not just because of that!”
I particularly like the dogs in your paintings
“I know I can’t stop with the animals! Even for this show I said I’m not going to paint any more damn animals. But I can’t stop. When I was a kid I had a huge obsession with animals and I’d only wear clothes with pictures of animals on them. So I wouldn’t buy anything without animals on them. The obsession has obviously stuck. It’s funny how these things stay with you.”
Would you say your work is intuitive then?
“Yes and there was definitely a lot of tears in my first year at Goldsmiths because it was such a different way of approaching work. But then the work became really tight. So over the Summer I had to abandon that and focus on just making the work. Which is what the tutors were planning on all along, to poke you until you find your own way.”
And to the more important stuff, what are you doing for Christmas?
“I’m going to go back home and mooch off my parents. Rent free living for two months, yess. Because I’m so deprived of the snow here I might embrace it more when I go back, go do the skating and the tobogganing thing. But when I was living in Canada I never did those things, probably because you’re just so used to it.”
But what about the trees?
“Oh yes! We’ve got all the Evergreens, that’s cool, I like those. Again, I never used to. What about you? What are your traditions?”
We continue to chat about our weird and wonderful traditions and the crossovers between Canadian and British culture. Ally McIntyre’s solo show, ‘Dog Days’ is up at Jealous North until 27th November. Don’t Miss It. You won’t know how sparkly that glitter paint is until you see it in the dazzling flesh.
Photos by Mike Barry
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