DS: What did you have for breakfast?
WTM: 100 grams of oats with water, 2 scoops of protein and amino acids.
DS: That’s quite specific.
WTM: It is... most of my mates think it’s odd. I can tell you exactly what I eat every day. 6 meals every day. The discipline of the training and eating feeds into the rest of my life and my work. I’m much more productive when my day is structured.
DS: Do you get up early?
WTM: Yeah, I’ve been getting up at five thirty the last six weeks. I get up and eat, go to the gym at six thirty, train ‘til eight, coming back, sleep for an hour, eat several times and then start work.
DS: Wow, that’s pretty impressive.
WTM: It’s just what works for me at the moment. The cooking and eating takes up most of the morning, then there’s Chewy Lewis to take for a walk, drawing to be done…I don’t really start really getting into painting until five in the evening, at least. Seven is when I really start to get going, seven to midnight is the perfect time. Now everything for the show is finished and at the framers I’m not getting up so early, I’m a bit more relaxed.
DS: How do you go about making work, and specifically making work for an exhibition?
WTM: It all starts with drawing. I draw every day and most of it never amounts to much, just constant sketchbook dribble with the occasional gem. When I have a show coming up I have a general theme of ideas that I want to include. I fill up a few sketchbooks and then go back and find the strongest drawings that I feel would make good paintings.
The aim is to make beautiful pieces with depth visually and contextually. I always try to create with an authenticity of style and ideas, and reference things respectfully.
DS: The show is called ‘Too Blessed To Be Stressed’, can you explain it, in a nutshell?
WTM: Its about appreciating what you have, being positive, putting positive energy out there. Just living in this country, this city, we are privileged, and I think we get caught up in our own lives and lose sight of these luxuries.
DS: I heard if you live in London... you’re living with something like the 1% wealthiest people in the world.
WTM: Exactly. That’s mad, but that’s what I mean. These paintings are all about that, it's about counting your blessings, they’re an observation of my own character and other peoples character, while we live in this crazy city, kind of swallowed up in it all. It’s an awesome feeling, but it’s easy to lose sight of that and how lucky we are.
It’s about stepping out of it, or yourself, to re-appreciate your position and what you have and to not worry or compare with anyone else.
DS: So is it very much about London?
WTM: The tones are very ‘London’ I think and obviously there is the distinctive London architecture running throughout the works. It certainly is a large element of the show, I have a lot of love for the city culturally and visually and wanted to try and capture that in the works
DS: So what about music. Do you listen to music while you work. What music are you listening to, what’s the soundtrack to the show?
WTM: Generally soul, reggae and hip-hop… I find the music I listen to can effect my mood and that can be distracting. I switch it up, J Dilla to Joni Mitchell, Stevie Wonder, today I was listening to MF Doom special blends. But sometimes there are just times when it’s silent and I’m just lost in the work.
DS: painting and drawing can be a meditative state.
WTM: Yeah, totally, Its almost as if painting can be like a form of lucid dreaming, or meditation, but as soon as you acknowledge that then the peace is broken and you’re not there any more. When you’re in it though it’s the best.
DS: Any other surprises for the show?
WTM: As the title of the show is about appreciating what you have, I wanted to give something back. It is hard work to live as a creative in London but none-the-less it is a privilege to do so. I wanted to put something back into the creative community in East London, an area that has inspires me every day. I chose to donate to the Eastside Educational Trust, which helps disadvantaged and disabled children participate in art.
I’m drawing and hand screen-printing the raffle tickets, so even if you just buy a ticket you’re getting a limited edition print, but you can also win quite a nice piece of original art. The tickets are cheap because I wanted it to also be an accessible way for someone to own an original drawing.
Tickets are available on the night of the show, or through www.stolenspace.com
DS: Nice idea. I just saw the ticket on your Instagram. Looks really nice.