Photography G.N Playford

Photography G.N Playford

London based artist and portrait painter...

Duncan was born in Chertsey, Surrey, England in 1980.  He now resides in Hackney, London.  After successfully completing a foundation course at the Wimbledon School of Art, Duncan studied a BA in Fine Art at Nottingham Trent School of Art and Design, specialising in both painting and film making, graduating in 2003 with a first class honours degree.  After which he undertook a post-graduate course in Computer Animation at the NCCA in the form of a year-long Master of Arts course.

His joint directed MA animation film 'Riffs of Rage' was screened at SIGGRAPH in the United States and as well as a group show at the ICA London in 2004.  In 2012 he had his first solo exhibition at Ruby's Cafe in Hoxton Square in East London and is planning another personal show of his new portraits in 2019. Before starting at Art School, he worked as a studio assistant for painter and sculptor - Stefan Knapp in Brook, Surrey.   Assisting Knapp with his final mural “The Battle of Britain” for the Polish Metro in Warsaw. 

His studio is based in Hackney, where he is working on a mixture of personal work and private commissions.  

Artist Statement

 "I look to tell a story about a person through the medium of paint".

My most recent painted works have explored a more figurative theme; specifically portraiture.  The focus of my works is not only on the body but also its relationship with its surroundings.  I still put the use of colour in my figurative paintings at the forefront of the work.  Using of colour to inform and evoke the tone and mood of the painting. 

My paintings also explore the abstraction of both figurative and non-figurative forms into large colour-field paintings.  I look to create compositions that have an affinity with colour and mood, but also have an aspect of instability between the forms, visually and emotionally.  The compositions are created so that strong flashes of juxtaposed colour unfold with flowing movement, as the various shapes interact, creating an overall harmony

The aim is to abstract the composition as much as I can.  Mark making in a painterly, gestural way. Focusing the detail on the most important areas to draw the viewers eye; but still to maintain the relationship of the figures with its environment a representational one.

As well as painting, I have experimented in digital light film making and sound installations. Primarily focusing on the notions of obsession and repetition, I continued with these themes while studying animation.  The notion of repetition has always interested me as an artist, and the process behind doing the same thing again, and again, and again.  While each time viewing it in a different way and with an alternative perspective.

Personal Process

The basis and inspiration for my paintings are from lens-based media.  I interpret both the form and my perception of the image into an abstract composition.  The lens-based media can be from my own photography, film or other external influences, fused and blended together.  A common theme in all my work is the notion of light, interaction, and a  major personal excitement in digital colours is their electric vibrancy.  One benefit of this using the digital process in creating my paintings is the non-destructive natural of digital. All actions can be undone, reworked and re-ordered, giving me further freedom to experiment. 

From the digital conception of my paintings to the traditionally painted canvas output produce, I believe that I successfully endeavour to blend the two polar opposite mediums to successfully work together. 

Art practice history areas below:-

• Filtered Back projections – painting was given movement through projections and air movement.  In several works, I hung several sheets of silk very closely together, and back-projected the abstract organically themed films loops onto the textile ‘screen’.  The sheets were agitated through gentle artificial air movement in the installation space.

• Video art – abstract shorts inspired by Anthony McCall, Bill Viola.  Urban time-lapses, abstracted and set to ambient music

• Returning to portraiture as private commissions, as well as special projects with large abstract expressionist paintings and also pen and ink drawings

Experience & Education

I have been a keen and active member of the Chelsea Arts Club in West London for over 8-years -

Master of Arts M.A. Distinction  - Bournemouth University  Post Graduate Computer Animation - 2003 - 2004

Bachelor of Arts B.A. - 1st Class Honours  - Nottingham Trent School of Art and Design  Fine Art Undergraduate - 2001 - 2003

Foundation B-TEC - Distinction - Wimbledon School Of Art and Design - 2000 - 2001

I worked as a studio assistant for Stefan Knapp. I assisted him with his final mural “The Battle of Britain” for the Polish metro in Warsaw 1999.  His studio was in Sandhills, near Brook in Surrey.


The India Series - Ruby's cafe Hoxton Square, London - 2013

Broadway Cinema Film Shorts – Nottingham June 2006

Bonnington Building Exhibition – Nottingham, June 2005

ICA London – Video Arts Show – London, Aug 2005