Talking with Alex McNamee

Alex McNamee is an Artist, and the Director and Curator of Muddy Yard, an artist-led project space in Brixton, London. Below she shares some favourite things with us 🙂 

Where did you study and which was your favourite class?

I went to a secondary school called Wheatley Park, I failed everything except art and photography. I slipped through the net and went on to study sculpture at the Slade in London, which changed my life – such a dramatic statement but true.

What was the first piece of art you made?

My dad and I were talking about this the other day. When I was at nursery I did a painting that was painted bright red with one purple brush stroke in the corner. My dad LOVED it and stuck it up in the dining room: it was on the wall my whole childhood until we moved house. He thought it was so sassy for a 4-year-old.

What are you currently working on?

I’m working towards a solo show at my project space called Muddy Yard which is based in Brixton. My show will be on 28th September, I’m pushing myself so I’m currently making loads of sculptures, working on a photograph and potentially a video.

What do you love most about running Muddy Yard?

The gallery space of Muddy Yard is actually my bedroom / studio and in the beginning, I was making work by myself which was good but it was lonely. The thing that I love now about Muddy Yard is being able to have discussions with the artists that take part and being able to better each other. I’ve made some beaut friendships!

What is most important to you as an artist?

Being able to change my mind with regard to materials I use and the reasons why I make art.

Who is your current favourite artist?

He’s not contemporary but Bonnard gets me so emotional.

What is your favourite work of art?

Degas’ La Coiffure. I love the colour, love the movement. My friend and I brush each others hair and chat; it’s such an intimate activity. I go and see it at The National Gallery when I feel blue.

What is your favourite colour?

Love this question, makes me think of school. When I got asked at school I used to say black but now I think it’s green.

What are you reading?

I’m mad dyslexic and so have a really short attention span when it comes to reading, so almost always have a couple on the go. At the moment it’s Essays on Love by Alain De Botton, Some Thoughts on the Common Toad by George Orwell and Blink by Malcolm Gladwell.

 What are you watching?

We don’t have internet which is really sad – our building can’t technically have it for some reason? I don’t know … but luckily Brixton has a massive CeX shop. You can buy DVD’s for 50p: sure it’s mostly The Mummy returns etc. but you can find some gems, I watched The Mask the other day.

What are you listening / dancing to?

I live with a band so by default I listen to them everyday. They’re called Wooze, BUT DISCO SOUL DISCO Gladys Knight, Shirley & Co, Esther Williams, Aretha Franklin forever and always.

What are you drinking / eating?

Fizzy water and my everyday staple – rice, tinned mackerel and whatever vegetables are ready from my garden.

What are you growing?

Courgettes, beans, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots and herbs (so cheap so delish).

Town or countryside?

A bit of both is good for me.

 Cat or dog?

I love cats! But I do have a plan to one day live in a van then I would need a dog to look after me and keep me warm but for now … a goat for the free milk and cheese?

Tea or Coffee?

With my eggs, tea; but with my toast, coffee. Do you like how I can’t stick to one thing?

Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings?

Don’t hurt me but I never read Harry Potter. I had a nap to the 4th film the other day which was perfect. But Lord of the Rings I guess.

If you could have 3 people to dinner dead or alive who would they be and why?

  1. James Stewart – He’s so kind, so talented. I’d love to hear his stories about the golden age of Hollywood.
  2. Susan Sontag – So intelligent and to hear her opinions on culture now would be amazing, although I would find her terrifying.
  3. My grandma – I never had the chance to meet her in person. She was a tough Italian mama from another world.

Favourite place in the world?

At the moment Muddy Yard. I never leave! I have no bedroom and no internet but I’ve got my vegetable garden, my studio space, board games, and I live with my best friends:


Ode to Something Nice, Alex McNamee
Ode to Something Nice, 2017
Relics of Looking, Alex McNamee
Relics of Looking, 2017
Molten and Inconsistency - preserved waves, Alex Mcnamee
Molten and Inconsistency – preserved waves, 2017
Eyelid Reports, Alex Mcnamee
Eyelid Reports, 2014
A Collection of Smiling Rocks, Alex McNamee
A Collection of Smiling Rocks, 2014

Alex McNamee’s most recent project Relics of Looking was part of Anthony Gormley’s High House Residency; her next solo show will be at Muddy Yard in Brixton on 28th September 2017.

The next Muddy Yard event is Dissolutions on 30th September, a cross-city collaboration with The Icing Room. They will take over the final carriage on the Victoria Line for a nighttime journey from Brixton to Walthamstow and back, with many ‘happenings, interventions and playful interruptions’ find out more here.  

Alex McNamee

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