WRITTEN BY AFSHIN FEIZ
Duggie Fields is delightfully original. As he opened his door to his London flat, the ever immaculately dressed man, an evolved version of a 50’s rockabilly, confronted me. His dedicated style of a coloured blazer, accentuated eyebrows and a single kiss curl is so recognizable that Rei Kawakubo was inspired to base part of her menswear collection on him and three other artists, all of whom walked in the Comme des Garcons show as the brand’s version of themselves.
Fields moved into his Earl’s Court Square flat in 1968. He initially lived with Syd Barrett, the original singer and founder of Pink Floyd. Fields still lives in the same flat and works in Barrett’s former room using it as his studio. Fields is full of anecdotes around the music business, “I was friendly with other musicians such as Roger Daltry of The Who and later became very friendly with Marc Bolan at the time of his biggest success. He played Get It On for me in the other room right after he wrote it. I saw Madonna when she wasn’t famous. I saw her do one song in a club in New York and met her backstage afterwards and thought she was a brilliant performer but didn’t think she looked great”.
It is here that I arrived, excited as much to see the infamous space as to see his artwork. Fields’ work is clearly reflected in his lifestyle and his lifestyle in his work. The two clearly coexist and it feels like he himself stepped out of one of his paintings. I witnessed a magically bohemian mélange of bright colours, paint splashed floors, and unique personally designed furniture mixed with some rare finds. Fields’ paintings manage to sustain a coherent signature style while adjacently adopting themes of promiscuity, religion, pop
culture and violence. Amputated Donald Ducks, mutilated Mickey Mouses with their scalps sliced off, headless Marilyn Munroes and images of Fields himself are interspersed with references to Mondrian and Jackson Pollock, religious icons, sexual imagery and ballroom dancing.
Born in a Small village called Tidworth in 1945, Fields spent his youth in the English countryside before moving to Boreham Wood. Fields briefly studied architecture at Regent Street Polytechnic. In 1964 Fields enrolled at the Chelsea School of Art where he studied for 4 years. As a student, Field’s work progressed from minimal, conceptual and constructivist phases to a more hardedge post-Pop figuration. At the time, his main influences included Jackson Pollock, Mondrian and the comic books of Stan Lee. By the mid 70’s his work included many elements that were later defined as Post-modernism. “I would say that all the artists I have ever loved growing up are still inside me so they inform my visual sensibility. It’s hard to describe but I can’t see art without seeing them. It has to be Dali, it has to be Léger, it has to be Picasso, and it has to be Mondrian or Miro. They’re the ones that I saw when I was growing up”.