This interview first appeared in Tired Earth.
The paintings of Christian Hook are rooted in tradition yet brim with freshness and vitality. The award winning artist, in his “Painting the Invisible” art show, enlisted the help of a number of scientists specializing in theoretical physics, physiology, sensory perception and more to explore the common threads between art and science/artists and scientists.
The past and the present collide in each piece, creating alternating perspectives on one subject. There is a fascination with classical art and the broken image combined with an exploration of time and motion through subsequent layers of transparent paint.
What was the idea/inspiration behind your exhibition “Painting the Invisible” a film launched last week on Sky and related artwork exhibition now available to view at Clarendon Fine Art Dover Street in London’s Mayfair?
I began this project with the realisation that only around 5% of the universe is visible to the naked human eye. The other 95% is made up of matter and energy that we cannot see, detect, or comprehend, yet we know it is there because of the influence it exerts on what we can visually perceive. In this series of work which I titled ‘Painting the Invisible’, I wanted to explore the unseen 95% and find a way to identify and represent a fraction of this deeper, abstract reality within these paintings. This project was my biggest challenge to date, and involved exploring intangible concepts and just one aspect of the unseen: how the energy and the relationship between a couple named Dan and Dora can be expressed or captured in a work of art.
What partnerships did you form to create your current artwork?
Over the course of the documentary, I collaborate with a series of Nobel Prize and award-winning scientists across a range of disciplines, with the aim to interpret each specialists’ findings within a specific painting. In one experiment I collaborated with Aldo Faisal – Professor of AI & Neuroscience at Imperial College of Art in London – to track the brain activity and function of a couple. I also worked with renowned physicist and oceanographer Helen Czerski from University College London to study the patterns in thermal imagery when the couple interacted.
2021 has been declared the “International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development” by the United Nations. What partnerships do you have with environmental organizations, museums, the United Nations, COP26?
As of yet, I am not working directly with any environmental organisations, but I am working on a cryptocurrency system of which I am the main shareholder, and 50% of the revenue from that project is donated to several different environmental charities.
Tell us about your NFT initiative concerning getting artists, and creative sector involved in sustainability, climate change education?
We are still working on the very beginnings of this project, so I will have to come back to you when I have more I can share.
Self portrait with apple green. christianhook.com
Where can people see your art?
You can see examples of my artwork hanging Clarendon Fine Art Mayfair, on their website www.clarendonfineart.com, on my website www.christianhook.com, and my Instagram page @hoookart. There are also works from past series on display at The Museum of Liverpool, The Bolton Museum, and the National Galleries of Scotland.
His “Painting the Invisible” documentary film can be found on Sky here: https://www.sky.com/watch/title/programme/3ecdd7d0-7a37-48dc-84c8-058e939355df