ART: Ting Low -"Science is the basis of everything!"

Written by: Violet Myers

We love your mix of realism and surrealism, which best suits your world view: Realist or Surrealist?

I think we’re all made up of a wide spectrum of realist, surrealist and everything else in between. Despite the detailed nature of my work, I’m probably more of a surrealist than a realist and anyway, surrealist sounds more optimistic than a realist and I’m annoyingly optimistic.

How do you choose your subjects for your paintings and drawings?

I normally find myself being fixated by something, whether it’s an idea or particular things in my environment and I end up painting or drawing the same subject obsessively. At the moment, I’m doing pen and ink drawings of the buildings and shops around my neighbourhood. I’ve been asked by one of the cafes in Stoke Newington to showcase my pen and ink drawings for a couple of months in their space and I’m looking forward to that.

You seem to have a strong interest in scientists, why is this?

Science is the basis of everything! My paintings of scientists are probably just my way of indulging my nerdy side.

I did a degree in Neuroscience and I get a little pang of nostalgia every time I think about my days in the lab.

I love reading about scientists, the route to their discoveries and how they carry out their work. I want to know what stains or equipment they’ve used and who they collaborated with. It’s incredibly similar to how an artist works. It’s all about the work process and creative ideas – the ability to improvise. The series of paintings I did on scientists throws all of that together in a fun way and modernises the traditional academic painting.

Let’s play snog, marry, avoid: Huxley, Pavlov and Freud.

It feels weird playing snog, marry, avoid with dead people. I think I’d prefer keeping them all at arms length!

Where’s the best place to get a bacon sarnie in Stoke Newington?

The Spence Bakery on Church Street does an amazing bacon bap with egg mayo and cress. It’s not a traditional bacon sarnie but it’s incredibly tasty! If you still have an appetite after that, get a sausage roll – they do one of the best!

Where’s the best place to have a nice sit-down and a cuppa?

Probably my balcony on a sunny day, but if I head out then Stoke Newington Tea House has one of the best selection of teas in London and a lovely garden too.

When was the last time you were close to peeing with laughter?

Watching the Waldorf salad scene in Fawlty Towers! No matter how many times I watch it, I always end up a snorting, laughing, crying mess.

If it rhymes we know it’s true so, could you please describe your work in a rhyming couplet

It’s hard to describe my art
Because it comes from the heart!
I like to be nice and precise
Detailed artwork is my vice!

How’s that?

Ting Low, Artist, Surrealist, Art, Stoke Newington

When was the last time you said “bloody hell, I’m a damn genius!”

A few weeks ago, I was looking at our algae-ridden concrete slab balcony and thought that there must be a better way to use the space. So I dragged my boyfriend down to B&Q and bought a massive roll of fake grass. It will be complete once I get a couple of pink plastic flamingos. Every time I look at the fake grass, I think “bloody hell, I’m a damn genius!” It looks so good!

What would you say was the heart of North London?

Everyone is going to have a different opinion for this one. For me, it’s Stoke Newington Church Street. I love having Clissold Park at my doorstep and a selection of really good pubs and restaurants around, especially my favourite restaurant Escocesa. There are also lots of little shops to nose around, where you can pick up anything from a cool notebook to second hand furniture.

If you weren’t an artist you would be a…?

Gardener. My chosen form of procrastination is usually re-potting my plants. I have two enormous pots of jade plants flanking either side of my sofa. My plants get a lot of love and care and the occasional cup of un-drunk green tea.

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