#SpotlightOn Artist Steve Burden

Steve Burden – known for murals and paintings that investigate dystopian themes and ideas associated with British housing estates – talks to South East London Blog Editor and Founder Rosanna Head about what drives his work and processes, delving deeper into how his practice explores, and works, to support the under-representation of those from lower socio-economic backgrounds in the arts and education.

#SpotlightOn Interview

Tell us about your art/craft?

I work mostly in painting to investigate dystopian themes and ideas associated with British housing estates, partly inspired by my personal experience growing up on Pepys – a brutalist high-rise council estate in Deptford, south London. I am driven by the need to understand what it means to be working-class in today’s society and the urban context in which I grew up in which continues to influence my visual aesthetic.

Abattoir, 2016, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 160cm. Private Collection.

How did you get into this work?

The writing was on the wall from an early age when I visited Tate Britain on a field trip with Ravensbourne College (I was 16 at the time) and was blown away by the works of Francis Bacon and De Kooning. After that, I spent most of my time studying Fine Art at Goldsmiths, and I graduated from Goldsmiths College, London with First Class Honours and Bath Spa University with a Masters Degree in Fine Art (distinction).

A May Day Scene, 2017, Oil on Canvas, 200 x 160cm. Private Collection.

Who and/or what inspires you?

At the moment, my practice is centred around painting my life story – that is the bedrock of the work – I haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m particularly inspired by the work of Francis Bacon and Adrian Ghenie.

What is your most memorable piece of work either by yourself or another artist?

My painting Abattoir (first image above) was painted in 2016 whilst at Bath Spa University – this painting won the Black Swan Arts Prize and went on to tour the South of England through 2017, now in a private collection.

Pepys Study 34, 2021, Oil on Paper, 15 x 20cm. Private Collection.

Is there a seminal moment in your life that has made a profound impact on you and your work?

It all starts with the Pepys Estate in Deptford.

Do you have any current exhibitions on?

Group show at No Format Gallery, Deptford in Sep 2021 and another group show in Bristol via Unreal Estates which opens in October Online at placesandthings.org.uk

What are your plans for the future?

Keep painting… at all costs.

What are your favourite #SELondon spots?
The Den, Greewich Park, The Lord Clyde, Thames Embankment

And just for fun, who would be your ideal fantasy dinner guests?

Francis Bacon, Caravaggio, Kathy Burke, Hunter S Thompson, Julia Garner, Ernest Hemingway… should be a ‘sober’ evening…

The Fat of the Land, 2021, Oil on Canvas, 170 x 135cm. Private Collection.

See more from Steve at his social channels: Twitter: @theburdenof_art, Instagram: @theburdenof.art, Facebook: @theburdenof.art

Links to upcoming shows

No Format Gallery – Painting Open


Unreal Estates

Online show opens in October 2021.https://www.unreal-estates.org/

Twitter @Unreal_Estates

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