The arty interview: Guy Armitage, photographer and founder of artists' platform, Zealous



I caught up with Guy Armitage, founder of multi-arts platform Zealous and part-time photographer, to discuss art, art and art. Well, this is Artwork Wednesdays.

What is Zealous, and what does it aim to do for the artistic community?

Zealous aims to bring together artists from across all fields to help them promote themselves, collaborate on future projects, generate opportunities and support them with best practice, both online and offline. As an artist, it's really important to have a tool like Zealous so you can meet other creatives and start new projects together. Ultimately Zealous enables artists to connect and collaborate with creatives from all over the world.

Zealous X is coming to London’s Bargehouse from 29th November – December 1st - what exhibiting artists stand out to you and why?

It’s hard for me to favour anyone at this point, but if you were to twist my arm, a very small selection would be:

Photography-wise, I like Catherine Théry’s saturated photos in “Second Life” giving value to the mundane waste of society, also a fan of Manos Chatzikonstantis black and white urban photos and Samuel Bland’s “The Long Walk” which grabs me by the hand and takes me on a journey.

I’m also deeply attracted to the whimsical at the moment; Dominique Hoffer’s work and Agata’s “Institute Of Cloud Colouring” both satisfy my current hunger to tickle my imagination, which would best be followed by “Bee”, a delightful short 3D animation by Vladimir Loginov.

I could go on forever, with that much content on the platform it’s getting harder and harder to pick!

You're a photographer as well - what is your main subject matter?

I’ve always used photography as a medium to chronicle the experiences in my life, not thinking too hard about the subject matter, more about how places and people make me feel. This has led me to take a lot of street portraits and scenes, especially whilst I was based in Cairo. Everywhere I turned was worthy of a photograph.

Guy Armitage, Faces of Cairo

I’m also attracted by the dark and derelict, and how a minimal amount of light can focus your eye on the mundane and make it extraordinary. The best example I could find was of this solitary traffic cone in Tokyo taken one day before the earthquake shook the capital. A link can also be made naturally with light, like associating the café with the rubbish in the back in “Consumerism”.

Faces of Cairo, Consumerism

Recently, I’ve moved to still photography for film. There’s something magical about filmmaking which presents you with constant moments which deserve to be shared, most people love films but so few know the gruelling journeys the filmmakers go through in order to weave the products that entertain/challenge and inspire you. Unfortunately I can’t show you any at this point since the films are just being released now, (Soulmate by Axelle Carolyn).

With your own photography work, where do you draw your inspiration from?

People, places and light. I’ve been told I mumble to myself when the lighting is perfect, or I find an interesting portrait and my camera is at home (yes, it happens unfortunately).

It’s all about people telling stories, often through their appearance or surroundings, the beauty of older people who’ve embraced their age and share their journey through every wrinkle on their faces, the unbound delight on children’s faces before society teaches them to contain themselves, the contrast of our perception of good and bad, and how often it’s misconstrued.

Favourite artwork of all time?

My favourite piece has not been created yet, not because I don’t like the near infinite pieces to date, but because I love the opportunity the future provides us with.

To you, what is an artistic outlook on life?

Look around you right now. Does anything inspire you (however big or small, abstract or real…)? If you answered ‘yes’, then as far as I am concerned you have an artistic outlook.  It’s seeing the opportunity where others don’t, and acting on bringing it to their attention.

Guy Armitage, Bird Ballet

Guy Armitage, Tokyo Cone

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