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Night Heavy or Night A Light?

Stephen Hornsby-Smith

For me, night and dark influence a substantial part in my Art Practice. In physics, 96% of the milky way is made up of dark matter and dark energy that we still don't fully understand. Many of my wildlife paintings are located in the dark and terrors of night, charging or standing their ground in a defiant pulse of colour and fierce, wild, untamed, and primordial confrontation. When a scientist as eminent as Martin Ward argues that the more science evolves the more scientists "grow in ignorance", it liberates you to value (in my case) the wilderness of colour. Existential social exclusion is a choice I've tried to make positively, and it has led me to drop the mobile phone and cast myself adrift from having a PC, and relegating my contribution towards the website, use of public transport and a life not so pub orientated. I'm now turning sandy coloured and losing some of the bright red colour of my hair, which separates me from my youth. But I'm delighted that the dilemma for most redheads of having to be an unabridged extrovert to awkward introvert isn't just a question historically for Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, but is a question for Prince Harry as well. Rock-on Royalty!

How does a shock of red hair impact on my Art Practice? It is with Anish Kapoor's fear of the darkness that inhabits psychologically space between the inside of many of his works of sculpture that I want to inhabit with colour in my own work. Having red hair demands social pressure to conform, but, it also gives you a great opportunity to experiment with literal and metaphorical colour. Yet, how does this tie-up with science? Well the time it takes for light to be seen on earth from the sun is 8 minutes - that's eight minutes of void in one respect. Here is another no man's land of a gap between a solar flare happening and it being registered on earth where, hypothetically we on earth are in the dark (behind by 8 minutes). Isn't this the same self-doubt and the same uncertainty that Kapoor is fascinated but terrified by? For me, psychologically, I fill that type of void with every colour, to be designed by colour, explore colour, remedy colours and intimidate with colour. Indeed, the more l develop the more l feel free to recognise my growing fascination with colour – it is no surprise that the colours of nature have the most impact on me as an Artist. My first sight of the Northern lights north of Edinburgh was incredible, but also led me to be complacent about one of nature's true wonders. As any redhead will tell you, you have to work twice as hard to fit in, so why not fit-out? Colour is my mechanism to transcend the dark and the night into sources of colour inspiration; it is an act that separates you from the social herd where preditor's cannot take your colour from you. It truly nourishes you with self-sustaining autonomy, that makes your contribution to life today a valuable one.

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