Julian Cloran is a Brighton-based artist whose paintings and sculptures burst with vivid colour and vibrant imagery. Drawing on surrealism, abstract expressionism and comic book culture, Cloran has fashioned a unique artistic vocabulary reflecting a creative imagination which is all his own.
Cloran explains that he is a self-taught artist who began painting as a kind of therapy.
“The house I grew up in was full of arguments and art was a way of escape from the atmosphere of rows,” he says. “I guess aged about 11 I was influenced by Lust for Life. I can see now how creaky Kirk Douglas’ performance was and how melodramatic the movie is – but at the time it struck me with great force. This was how an artist should live!”
Cloran cites his main influences as Peter Blake, Pop Art in general and Magritte but adds: “There are probably a ton of influences I’m unaware of – they just seep into your consciousness. “
One group he has little time for is the New British Artists – the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Marcus Harvey who have rarely strayed far from the headlines since the notorious Sensation! show at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1997.
“I think they are one-trick ponies,” he says. “They take an innovative idea – from Duchamp say or from Jackson Pollock – and they endlessly recycle it. It becomes tedious. Sam Taylor Wood’s installation of David Beckham sleeping is a good example of the art world feeding off celebrity and Damien Hirst is probably the best known franchise in the art world. Good luck to him, but Tesco has as much to do with exciting art as he has.”
Cloran concludes: “I know that if you are going to sell your work you have to promote yourself – and the fact that I haven’t is probably down to a character failing. I need to paint; I don’t need to sell myself.”