Dust For Lunch: Oli Epp on His London Studio
I’m in the studio at 9:00 am until 8:00 pm every day. I definitely haven’t got the best work and life balance, but I feel grateful for being able to paint full time. I harbor a lot of guilt when I’m not in the studio, so it’s fair to say that I’m a workaholic and I’m happiest there.
Possibly the best thing about my studio is its location. I’m based in the heart of London, which has been wildly beneficial. I have around two to three studio visits a week from artists, mentors and collectors. I’ve currently taken on three studio allocations to make one big space, but can’t say I’m particularly economical with that space. I constantly have to tiptoe over a field of bits and pieces that make up my studio floor.
Objects are often stripped of their functions very quickly in my studio; books become palettes and paint tubs become doorstops. I don’t have a table, and all the chairs are stacked with papers, scalpels and brushes, so I usually eat lunch cross-legged on the floor. As a result, I’m quite a dusty person. My flatmates are always mesmerized by the state of the bathtub in the evenings. They once thought someone had washed a stray dog. Sadly, the green clippings of masking tape floating in there revealed it was me.
I have a studio mascot—a brave little mouse, who makes a bold appearance once every two weeks. He gives me the fright of my life every time—most recently whilst failing to leap from a box to the top of my mini fridge. My fridge only stores sugary carbonated drinks, mostly ones with alcohol. I find the hum of the fridge quite soothing. My studio is not a quiet place, however, I am lucky to have the best studio partner. He’s really laid back and puts up with my noise. I’m always listening to artist interviews and lectures on YouTube or Spotify. Worst of all, I whistle when I’m nervous, and I'm always nervous.
It might sound lame, but painting is honestly like having constant therapy. My work is so autobiographical that I’m always reflecting on and analyzing my thoughts and behaviour. I don’t know how healthy this is, but it keeps me going. —Oli Epp
Photos by Ian Cox