Blog: Artist Focus | Interview | OSHE
Oshe was evidently influenced by his daily exposure to the poster advertising Liverpool Overhead Railway which adorned the kitchen wall of his childhood home. The noise, dirt and pace of the scene were subdued by the efficient colour palette and balance of shapes. Emotions of ‘being there’ seemed quite possible. The Mersey was even a beautiful, rich, Mediterranean blue – what was this sorcery? There had to be more to it!
Complexities of real life are reduced to a simplified vision, peripheral elements are removed and colours limited, leaving the viewer to enjoy form without distraction. The onlooker can experience more a sense of place rather than time.
He believes a love of poster art of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a healthy appetite for the three-dimensional, tactile, graphic wonder that is Lego and painting cart horses (by numbers) have all influenced the way he portrays the world in his luxe vistas.
What's with the fruit sticker logo: I’ve always had a thing about fruit stickers. They are delightful little, colourful, graphic morsels which, by default, show sunshine and/or bright colours - what’s not to like? Plus they were around before stickers were cool so they have this lovely, inherent heritage vibe. I feel a simple badge also works for me as a commissionable artist so I have little stickers that can that sit alongside my work and all associated material (Actually its more than likely just an excuse to make my own fruit stickers!).
What is the story behind the copy line you have associated with your work?
As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.’ This was penned by American philoso pher and poet Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862). I’ve always used it as a strap line to my work and find the words provide a short narrative to my style. Even then. Thoreau was looking to discover life’s true essential needs. All of my pieces are stamped with a design incorporating this quote as I feel it rings very true to how straight forward life really can be and captures the essence of enjoying what we have rather than yearning for what we want.
Where does your interest in art come from?
In an effort to illustrate his love, my Grandad painted every envelope on every letter that he sent to my Nana when they were first going out (for two years!). As a child when I saw these I was in awe at his capa bilities and my interest was piqued. Mum used to take me to art galleries as a child and I fondly remember many days out from Chester to The Lady Lever Art Gallery in Merseyside where my head would spin full of ideas, colours and shapes. I drew all the time and never really stopped until I eventually found my groove and here we are today!
What draws you to creating in your chosen medium?
I would draw lines around individual colours on photographs to group colours together and as this pro gressed I started to recreate images which showed some, but not all, of the detail. Now I create shapes of colours in order to build an image to see how many (or how few) are needed for the viewer to complete the picture in their mind. It’s knowing when to stop adding (or leaving out) things which is the fun part. I adore gouache and the dead-flat finish and intensity of colour it brings and as my journey developed I discovered that hand drawn shapes printed using the best giclée print processes, and the right paper, could achieve the same beautiful finish.
Who are your favourite favourites?
Really tricky to nail down but these are certainly my top four:
Who or what would you describe as influences in your artistic journey?
I grew up with Toulouse Lautrec’s ‘Aristide Bruant’ on the wall and it stuck with me along with the Beg garstaff Brothers who’s work was so very ahead of it’s time. At the other end of the scale is the work of Alphonse Mucha - the level of detail is simply stunning. I was very fortunate to see the ‘Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty’ at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery which was like a dream, as I’ve loved his work since my teens. Such technical accuracy alongside human form and beauty close up - it blows my mind!
How would your contemporary describe you?
Obsessed with observing everything through lenses: cameras, binoculars, telescopes and magnifying glasses. He is constantly appreciating colour, shape and designs in nature (and banging on about it). Always creative and inventive, he is a craftsman digitally, and with his bare hands! He has a great eye for balance. And he’s pretty chatty too!
Describe your work in three words
What are you most excited about artistically in 2023?
Working on a collection of Chester based pieces is an absolute joy and to see them on display at the gallery is amazing. With beautiful views around every corner, along with so many memories, the draw was always strong for honouring my home city with the respect it deserves and some much needed creative time. I feel that is now happening and I’m so stoked with the results.