The Independent profiles YBA artist, Gary Hume. The unaffecting painter bristles as being called a decorative artist:
Hume loves gloss paint because of its ability to reflect light and change colour under different conditions and at different times of day. He flinches a little when I say that some might see his works as decorative. Certainly, their aesthetic qualities make them considerably more accessible than, say, one of the Chapman brothers’ penis-nosed dolls, and are undoubtedly the kind of paintings that people want to own.
A few years ago Elton John asked Hume to make something for his shower at home.
“I said to him, ‘of course, what a nice idea,’ but inside I was thinking: ‘Are you fucking mad? Of course I don’t want to make anything for your shower. How insulting!’ After that, every time I saw him he would say, ‘how’s the shower piece going?’ and I’d say, ‘fine.’ Then, after about two years, he said: ‘Look, Gary, what’s happening?’ So I said that I didn’t want to do it after all. So he said: “Well, why don’t you get a can of spray paint, write, ‘Elton’s a cunt’ in my shower, and I’ll buy it.”
In the end Hume built a marble piece inspired by William Blake’s gravestone for John’s shower. It was a huge success, and led to him making more for exhibition. “It was a problem-solving exercise – how do you create something beautiful and worthwhile for a shower-room? – that resulted in me making something that I would never have thought of in other circumstances. So I was pleased. But I still wrote ‘Elton is a cunt’ on the back of it. Ha ha!”
Gary Hume: ‘Now My Sculptures Stand Up’ (The Independent)