Neil Metzner – Influences

Art & Culture

Every now and again I find myself flicking through the arts pages of a magazine in search of something interesting that might catch my eye and set my sense of intrigue ablaze. When I first came across the upcoming Lucy In The Sky exhibit at Transition Gallery my curiosity was piqued and I became determined to find out more about this marvellous event. So I did. If you're in London and have even the slightest hint of artistic intrigue about you then I strongly urge you don't miss the chance to see works from the likes of Neil Metzner who has been kind enough to let us know about some of the things that most inspire his life and his art.

"For the past few years I’ve been painting things that are: vanishing, sinking, melting or slightly out of reach. My pictures are not directly about their central motifs (for instance, a plane crash or someone drowning) instead, these themes offer an entry point and also a clue. I’m trying to create something particular, perhaps a glimpse into the future, that has been shaped over time and, in part, by events that have left some kind of scar."

Here's one of his lovely paintings for you to marvel at before I hand over the reigns;

Doge Leonardo Loredan (1501-2) by Giovanni Bellini

My dad bought me a set of encyclopedias when I was a kid which I never read, but I liked to look at the pictures and this painting by Bellini fascinated me. It’s the first piece of art I ever engaged with and it opened the door to painting for me.

Punk / Post Punk

This music was my year zero moment. It took me out of suburbia, acquainted me with the real world and encouraged me to question it.

Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

I discovered this book after watching Apocalypse Now – which I’d read about in the NME. There are certain things in Heart Of Darkness that have stuck with me – that forever seem to be looming, and they’ve seeped into my work.

Chelsea School Of Art 1985-1988

Chelsea really opened up my eyes and it sowed lots of seeds. It was an interesting place to be and I met some great people there too. It’s where I first started using landscape in my work and it’s been an ongoing project ever since.

Van Gogh’s Chair (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

I love this picture. It absolutely encapsulates the pure magic and power of what a painting can do and where it can take you – genius!


I’m pretty much always listening to music while I’m working and I like to listen to albums. They seem to give the perfect amount of time and energy in which to get things done before needing to stand back and see what’s going on!

The Guardian

My link with the outside world – it’s got most things I need to know about in it and the photography is fantastic. I’ve always got clippings from the Guardian lying around my studio.

The Studio (1969) by Philip Guston

This is a bit like an invitation in to ‘the zone’ in Tarkovsky’s Stalker – essential, potentially dangerous and a little bit baffling. It exists where all good paintings do – in the imagination.

See Neil's work at Transition Gallery as part of the Lucy In The Sky exhibition from 5th June – 5th July, find out more on the gallery's website.