Barbour International: Robert Montgomery Q&A

We're collaborating with Scottish artist, Robert Montgomery for London Fashion Week Men's and we thought we'd find out what makes him tick with an exclusive Q&A...

January 5th 2017

London Fashion Week Men's (LFWM) kick starts on Friday and as part of our presentation we've teamed up with Robert Montgomery, who has been the creative mind behind a small collection of bespoke Barbour International Original Wax Jackets.

Discover Robert's work as well as behind the scenes access to LFWM on our Snapchat channel from 1pm on Friday 6th January, using the snap code or user name below. 

Robert Montgomery creates billboard poems, light pieces, fire poems, woodcuts and watercolours, all of which have featured in solo exhibitions around Europe and Asia.

We're finding out more about Robert and his work in our exclusive behind the scenes Q&A...

You studied at the Edinburgh College of Art, when did you realise that art was a key interest of yours? Was there ever any particular artist or exhibition that inspired you?

The text art tradition that I come from goes back about 50 years really. There's iconic American text artists who are historically important like Lawrence Weiner and Jenny Holzer, but my first experience of text art was closer to home.

When I was 15 I visited my local art gallery - the MacLaurin Gallery in Ayr in Scotland - and stumbled upon a Scottish Arts Council touring exhibition called The Unpainted Landscape. At the time I wanted to be an expressionist painter- like Egon Schiele or Edvard Munch. But what I saw in this gallery was a completely new language- the language of conceptual art.

A lot of your work is text based and you’re part of a literary group called The New River Press, tell us about this and how it came about?

I started New River Press with my girlfriend Greta Bellamacina. It was really inspired by Greta. She had finished her collection "Perishing Tame" and I was a bit underwhelmed by the deals she was being offered from established publishers.

I felt her collection was really important and the established poetry publishers just weren't offering her enough. I'd read an account of how Virginia and Leonard Woolf started their own publishing press in their dining room and I liked the romance of that idea so I said, "let's publish this book ourselves." That was at the beginning of last year, then from there it sort of snow-balled.

Are there any particular poets or writers who influence your work?

Well I was very influenced by Jenny Holzer who is the text artist who influenced me most for sure. Then in terms of poets I was fascinated by the way John Ashbery mixed very complex language with very mundane language and by doing that transformed the mundane into the extraordinary.

List three poets/writers and three artists who you think are essential for us all to discover at some point

POETS: Allen Ginsberg, Sylvia Plath, Greta Bellamacina.

ARTISTS: Joseph Beuys, Jenny Holzer, David Fryer.

What’s been your career highlight so far?

I'm not sure, I've just been shortlisted to develop a proposal the National Holocaust Memorial in London, which feels like a big honour and also a big responsibility.  A personal highlight for me was when Michael Stipe from REM came to my show in New York and already knew the words of my texts, and bought a piece before the show opened.

Finally, which pieces did you select from the Barbour International collection and why?

The B.Intl Steve McQueen Nitro Overshirt in both Navy and Rich Red from the Steve McQueen collection and a cool black B.Intl Triumph Bonneville Waterproof Jacket. They're great things for me to wear in the studio- super comfortable to work in, and smart enough to wear to dinner afterwards.

Be sure to add us on our official BarbourInt Snapchat to see behind the scenes of LFWM on Friday. 

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