You studied architecture but dropped out after one year. Did you feel at the wrong place?
The first day I was there they told me I was at the wrong place. All the students were sent outside to sketch Soho Square and when we were finished we got a public critique from the architecture staff. They viciously criticized everybody and saved me for last. When they looked at my painting they said: »This is a fabulous drawing. We really like this but it's absolutely useless for architecture. You should be in art school.«
So they initially made you feel that you don't belong there?
Yes. But I did quite enjoy being there. I learned a lot and got attached to various ways of working that still effect how I work today. In many ways I got more out of my two terms in architecture school than I did in several years of art school.
How do you start a new project? Do you develop a concept or is it more like an experimental process?
It's a mixture of both. Sometimes I know what I want to do and it's just there. Other times I don't have a clue and I start all sorts of things. I can tackle the same subject many times and it doesn't work and then at an opportune moment it does work.
Can you tell me a little bit about the shift of your work process when you started working digitally?
In the beginning I did my studies on draft paper with grids and layers of tracing paper. When I got my first computer I discovered that you can work with digital layers and grids much more comfortable and that you can paint absolute straight lines this way. So suddenly I had this tool with which I could produce my studies for canvases much easier. From that on the computer became part of my creative process and later became a tool to create work itself.
What do you think about the process of releasing content through digital media like you do with »Just around the corner«?
I only really started taking photographs since I have a mobile phone. I had cameras before but they all had viewfinders which inhibited me. And once I got on Facebook I started »Just around the corner« literally just around the corner. Then I was getting more followers and strangers approached me on the street because of it. Those things obviously were an encouragement to keep on going.
The full interview is available in the printed issue of Point of View.
- Fields briefly studied architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic before embarking studies in 1964 at the Chelsea School of Art for four years.
- Social documentary diary, photographs taken on mobile phone by Earls Court based artist Duggie Fields.