Q&A: Duggie Fields

"Life is the big riddle ..."

Having grown up with a print by Duggie Fields on my wall I was pretty excited to meet and interview Duggie at his home and studio the other week. Soon after my parents met in the late 70s, and after so many attempts to win my mum’s attention, my dad bought her a print of Duggie Fields’ Dynamic Perversity … well at least he’s got good taste, she thought, and the rest is history.

L-R: Duggie Fields: Dynamic Perversity, 1980 and Dynamic Landscape, 2007

Duggie Fields arrived in a blaze of colour onto the 70s art scene. He’s known for his very graphic imagery, his use of bright colours and often features limbless figures reminiscent of Classical statuary but with his own take. Early on his work shifted between minimalism and constructivism, before turning to his signature style – what he terms post-Pop figuration.

L-R: Duggie Fields: Landscape into Art, 1999, Neo Classic, 1992 and Dancer, 1969

Duggie's home is an artwork in itself, a living gallery of Duggie’s work. We talked about everything from his inspiration and colour palette to his own music and video pieces, hanging out with Andrew Logan & Zandra Rhodes and being a style icon inspiring a Commes des Garcons catwalk show.

L-R: Duggie inspired Comme des Garcons Fall Catwalk 2007, Duggie with Andrew Logan in 2002

The video’s coming soon, so in the meantime here’s a little window into the vibrant, and vivacious world of Duggie Fields.

I’m curious to know how the change came about when you switched from studying architecture and moved to Chelsea to study fine art? Did that initial architecture training influence your painting?

I started painting when I was in my early teens and it was something I did everyday; a real passion. For years I drew using graph paper and tracing paper with a set square and T-square and I make my pictures geometrically. If you look at the figures, they have ruled and sometimes straight edged outlines. When I moved to digital I found that the computer put up a grid and I was already used to working on graph paper … so it was an easy transition.

So you started using computers in the 90s, how do you think new media affected your work – did it change it?

Yes, it allowed to me do things I’d never dreamed of doing. As for making music, the idea I can construct something that sounds musical myself is still a revelation to me.

Duggie Fields: The Big Riddle

What imagery initially influenced your work?

My earliest passion was comics, in the 60s I had a huge comic collection. When I was experimenting with paint in my teens I used to go outside and pour paint onto a canvas, letting the wind blow the paint onto the canvas from different heights. Then I gradually got more conceptual until I started seeing figurative elements without wanting to. I remember the transition; one day I had a Donald Duck pin and I stuck it in the middle of this 5ft minimal canvas and suddenly transformed it. That made my leap into figuration.

Do you have advice for young artists?

Think about what you enjoy doing most and how to keep yourself in touch with that, then you’ve got survive in the external world but keep that internal focus – that’s the toughest bit but that’s the most rewarding.

Thank you Duggie for a glimpse into your world ... the video's coming soon so watch this space!

Keep up with Duggie by following him on twitter @duggiefields or check out his website below