CS Coates & Scarry

Side by side Colin and Sas Christian in London!

Q: Three things you couldn't be without? Colin: My wife Sas, my dogs & music Sas: My husband Colin, my dogs & my garden

Q: What/who are your major influences and inspirations? Colin: 2001 Space Odyssey, Barbarella & Ernst Haeckel Sas: These days it's difficult to say, so many things influence me. Originally I found anime and Tamara de Lempicka very inspirational to me, and now I find light and dream/subconscious states

Q: After so many successful solo shows in America why did you decide to show in London NOW? Colin/Sas: Being our home country of course it has always been our plan to come back and show here. And we're so proud that Opera Gallery has given us this opportunity. We felt we were finally ready & we hope that we've created a body of work for this show that people will respond to.

Q: The paintings for your upcoming show are quite different from previous shows, is there a reason? Sas: I've been trying to get more, um physical with my painting, less fixated on reality and more willing to let go which is difficult for me as I'm quite a restrained person and I tend to overthink things to death. I'm hoping with continuous effort that I will really start to find my voice, as I know it's in there somewhere.

Q: Have you ever considered painting or sculpting men? Colin: I am going to do a couple of capsule pieces containing male figures. As my women are somewhat caricatures of extreme femininity, the same would hold true with male subjects. Sas: I have painted some lovely men in the past but it's not something that I naturally gravitate towards and I'm not asked to do it too often on a private commission basis.

Q: Sas you talk briefly about the process of creating one of your paintings? Well, I start off with a very loose sketch to solidify my basic thoughts and then transfer that to my canvas. I like to keep my ideas quite open at this point because there's a certain amount of freeform that I like when painting. I like to paint an underpainting in umbers and then add on layers & layers of glazes and scrumbles. As a self-taught painter I've been slowly finding my way and researching the techniques of some of the painters I admire in the Venetian and Flemish traditions. It's been quite tough finding my way, I think that to be able to gain experience never having a teacher in these matters is a bit of an uphill struggle and there's definitely a part of me that feels like I'm playing catch up. The trick is to experiment & practice, which in my case is an on going process.

Q: Colin how do you make your sculpture pieces? The idea starts with a curved line and then I build an idea around that roughing out a form with foam or clay. Once I have something I'm happy with I make a mold of that and produce a hard copy in fiberglass which then I sand down and finesse over a period of many weeks. Depending on whether I plan to make a single piece or copies I will then produce a rubber mold for future editions. The latter part of the work is very similar to auto body finishing and uses many of the same materials and techniques. I prime and wet sand and paint the piece and add final detailing, eyes, lacing etc.

Q: Sas you ever considered using other mediums or doing 3D work? I had started painting in acrylics originally and moved over to oils in 2003. I'm always adjusting my process and the surfaces I paint on and I will continue to move on with what feels right. I think 3D work would be very interesting, but frankly I'm a horrible sculptor, lol. I've tried my hand at tapestry, knitting, and sculpey and there's a good reason why you've never seen the end result.

Q: Colin do you work in other mediums? I'm very lucky that I get to paint my pieces and apart from the initial sculpt the painting is my favorite part of the whole process and I am planning to do some large graphic canvases in the future. Bronze is always an option, but I'm more interested in stainless steel.

Q: What makes a good day in the studio? Colin: Sun is important! For both my mood and materials. My favorite days are taping off and prepping the piece ready for paint. The hours fly by Sas: A good audio book, a feeling of confidence and a strong vision of what I want to achieve that day. All while my two dogs sleep by my feet.

Q: Do you share a studio, if not why not? Colin/Sas: No, we have adjacent studios, and the reason is simple, DUST! Colin produces clouds of it. However we are no more than 20 feet away from each other throughout the day and constantly speak to each other and ask each other's opinions

Q: How many hours a week do you spend in the studio? Colin/Sas: It depends, anywhere from 40-60 hours. We like to start work early in the day when our energy is at it's highest. We are early risers and rely on natural daylight

Q: How do you spend your time when taking a break from creating? We spend a lot of time lying in our hammock in the garden. Listening to nature and hanging out with our dogs. Discussing philosophy, scientific advances, boobs and shoes. We also have a vast movie collection and consider ourselves movie buffs.

Q: If you didn't make art for a living what would you do? Colin: A marine biologist or a fashion designer Sas: A pastry chef. Or a vet. Or a vet who makes pastries

Q: This leads to me next question. You inspire so many people around the globe how does this affect you and your work? Colin: That's a surreal kind of question. It's not something I think about Sas: I like to feel like there isn't any age limit to taking a new direction in life. I think that I can inspire people to take things into their own hands and teach themselves when a formal education is not an option. It makes me want to push forward and not sit on my laurels.

Q: Greatest Joy? Colin/Sas: Our marriage

Q: Greatest sadness? Colin: Loss is the worst thing in the world so I try not to think about that. So I'll say ignorance & stupidity Sas: Loss

Q: As an artist what message do you carry? Colin: Above all, Hope. + some giggles Sas: Strength

Q: Hopes for the future? Colin: To be with Sas always, and flying cars and jet packs. Life on Mars Sas: To continue to love what I do with Colin by my side

Q: Advice for young or not so young emerging artists? Colin/Sas: Have a vision, be dedicated, strive, be brave. Consider it like an Olympic sport that you'll always be in training for. Don't ever let your age get in the way of your ambitions. It ain't over till it's over

Q: What can we look forward to with this show? Colin: I think this is my truest work so far the closest representation of what's going on in my brain. The things I think and care about. Sas: I think this is a transitional show for me and signals the beginning of a fresh direction, there are different avenues I want to explore

Q: Are you influenced by each other's work? Colin/Sas: Yes, constantly. We share the same tastes and influences and there's a crossover kind of merging and we work best at each other's sides and we wouldn't wish it any other way.

Q: What is date night like at your house? Colin/Sas: Trust me, that's not fit for publication! Thank you Colin and Sas for taking time out to share your new work and your insights on art and life. To anyone lucky enough to live in the U.K. make your way to the Opera Gallery in London and see these wonderful works for yourself. That's exactly what we're going to do. Richard Scarry and The Chipster

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