Duggie Fields is going to be featured in the first ever Frieze fair in LA as part of The Modern Institute’s artistic offering. Duggie’s vibrant life enhancing paintings are filled with references to art history and pop culture. His repetition of imagery has become his trademark but also an amplification of the impact that modern culture has on all our shared lives. There are certain people and moments that can be boiled down to a graphically defined shape and we are easily able to read who or what Duggie is referencing. His love of a bold palette can be traced directly back to a childhood full of intense imaginings as described by him in the IMAGE issue.
“The power of the drawn/painted image, first really seen/felt/remembered as a 7-year-old miserable boarding-school boy in grey flannel hand-me-down shorts on a once-a-month Sunday seaside ‘exeat’ with his mother and brother, after a lunch time Knickerbocker Glory so tall he had to stand on a chair to get his spoon to the bottom of it in the large new colorful Forte’s 1950s modernist cafe, watching and experiencing in a mixture of transfixed awe, wonder, and terror, unforgettable was the wild dramatic climatic out-of-control moment when the broomsticks with water-buckets march across the screen landscape in the nightmare dream sequence of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice from Walt Disney’s Fantasia.
Sitting spellbound I gripped my mother tightly throughout, only to later discover when the lights went back up, so absorbed and enthralled by the experience was I, that it wasn’t her I’d clung to but a stranger sitting on my other side.
Living in a small village in the late 1940s, early 1950s Britain, before television, the rise of the color supplement and the multiplicity of medias that followed, the visual world was confined to everyday reality enhanced by the home’s content of books and pictures, conflated with those found either in school, church, or in magazines at the local branch of the W.H. Smiths newsagents situated in the railway station up the road that was the end of the line that eventually led to London. Besides these, there was a local cinema that offered both Saturday morning pictures for hordes of ever-screaming children with its cartoons and serials, and several villages away, an arts and crafts gallery where I was to have my first painting ever shown exhibited at age fourteen in their Open Summer Exhibition, though it was mistaken for an adult abstract work and when the local newspaper commented on it, it was moved to a less prominent spot behind a door. Fantasia was a momentous experience for me. Already a weekly print comic addict by then, the music and movement was irresistible. At that age I was into making things more than painting, but this slowly transformed so that by my early teens it was just something I did almost daily, certainly my main creative outlet. That moment of terror though has to be the point of my first searing visual arts memory, more than anything before, lingering still in my unconscious certainly today, and the occasion of first seeing it is still something I can vividly recollect.” Duggie Fields