Oscar Romp

"Very interesting and impressive."
Fine Arts Society

Northern Soul Reprised

These images were made between the years of '96-'06. Most of them have never been shown publicly.

Dance, in whatever form, is about "drawing with the body". My love of music and dancing prompt me to draw human figures in actual activity, in real situations, where I can explore the figure in movement within the context of a dance club.

I cannot make music, but I can draw dancers dancing to music. I can suggest and inform the kind of music being played by the rhythms, tones, and energy through the marks I make and my choreographed depiction of the dancers and their physicality.

They are, for me, a natural subject for drawing or painting. The resulting pictures are not just about visually recording dance moves, but about evoking the texture of the experience: the atmosphere, excitement and cultural rituals of the dance event where, it seems, ordinary life is left suspended.

Whilst the dance floor lights move in a harsh directional way, the moving figures are glimpsed fleetingly, sometimes jumping into light like shooting stars, shedding light, and yet others appear as looming shadows.

These figures are sketched notionally and tentatively at first, and are then reworked and strengthened with continued observation.

I stop drawing and move to the dance floor — I dance, soaking up the energy from the music and then return to the picture with a refreshed eye. With the basics of the image established, I am now less tentative. Soon the picture takes on a life of its own, fed by the excitement and spirit of the music and the dance.

These images that I create are depictions of a strange aspect of contemporary, urban life that is at once ancestral as well as modern — a metaphor for the miraculous energy of life itself.

I have no belief in religion or in an after life as such; the meaning of life and the spirituality of it, have to be sought in the present, from the ordinary and the everyday, where each of us is a miracle.