1.If you weren’t an artist, what else would you be?
No paint splats all over my best clothes?
No sleepless nights worrying about deadlines?
No late nights alone in a dark room somewhere?
No feeling rude because your thinking about a piece when you should be listening to someone else?
No constant paranoia of being shit, and self judging / loathing?
No constant crippling jealousy?
No free time to relax with your girlfriend?
What would I be?
2. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express?
I don’t pretend my work is good, great or better than anyone else, but I know that my art is mine. My work is me. It is me egotistically documenting or projecting what goes on in my life, my world, what interests me, what scares me, what I find beautiful or what I find confusing. I have art A.D.D so I don’t study or master any particular style or media, I move onto the next, whatever interests or excites me. I am cursed with having more ideas than time. I know I’m not going to live forever, so I want to wring out every moment of my life. I want to share what I find beautiful, I want to make people laugh, think or provide cheap escapism. I want to challenge – what is good art, thoughts, I want my art to reflect my life, my influences, my trials, my passions. I have no ‘game plan’ or strict esthetic or code to follow, I just need to create what comes into my head.
My first London show, The Daily Standard, is a perfect introduction to me – on the surface it collects images I made from newspapers…so you think its some anarchic punk collection, but look at it closely and it reveals my opinions on the world, and becomes quite political…look at it another way and it can be a visual diary of my life – being unemployed, day dreaming of money, girls, personal fears and escape.
3. How do you start the process of making work?
Inspiration and Opportunity.
Every day I get inspired – I make it my aim each day to be inspired, by music, tumblrs, magazines or books. Ideas come at unpredictable times so I scribble them down on my iphone or in a sketch book.
Every day I draw so that often is the seed to something bigger…a shape might lead to a pattern, a pattern to a border or a larger illustration and so on. I also find travelling particularly inspiring. I never stop looking or making. Most of the time its not very good, but if you keep going you will always make or come across something a bit special.
Opportunities are either given or self made. They can be from invitations to do a poster, wall or a show, which then starts my brainstorming (who is the artist? where is the space?). Being offered projects that you couldn’t plan, but that spark of ideas and excitement.
4. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
Yes and No
No in so much that I don’t water my work down for anyone. It is what it is. If I get an idea or image and I have to make it – Peoples opinions don’t come into it. Making work to appease people, to tailor make it specifically to be a success or popular is the definition of commercial art to me, and not what I want my name to be associated with. Everyone wants to be a success and to sell work, and anyone telling you otherwise is lying, but there’s a difference between wanting your work to be liked but through work that you made from an honest place, and then theres altering and cosmetically enhancing the artwork so its chances of selling is greater…I know which side I want to be on.
I do think about people in one area. And that’s when I think I have the work to the public…I question is this the best it can be? Have I made it as good as possible? do I wan t people to see this? I am hugely self critical and looking back at this I realise how emo I sound…
5. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work?
The list is endless, and constantly changing, and Id like to think it will always be updated and amended but as of this moment in time I would say The Rolling Stones, Christopher Wren and Todd James. Close runner ups include Peter Blake, Keiichi Tanaami and the Beastie Boys.
6. Name 3 of your least favourite artists.
I don’t like calling anyone out in particular, and I’m a great believer in karma. So sorry I’m not going to answer…sorry.
7. What defines something as a work of art?
Everything. There is nothing that can’t be art. Any point can be argued. If it is good art or bad art though, and if I like it… that is a whole other question…
8.In times of austerity, do you think art has a moral obligation to respond topically?
Art should not be moral or be obliged to do anything for anyone. That’s what propganda is for. It is up the artist specifically. For example if you’re an overtly political artist then yes, you should reflect the politics of the times, because politics is your theme.
Art can be the most perfect political statement, but then it can also be the most perfect escapism…Politics and daily life seep into art regardless of if we let it or not but no artist should ever be obliged to create anything on any theme simply due to the days that they exist in. During times of peace and prosperity (if there is such a time) should we respond to that topically and not criticise the status quo and just paint twee landscapes? oh course not. Plus also great art is bigger and touches on more important things than politics and money (life, death, human emotions).
9. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
I thought about Jackson Pollock for the good looks, the jazz and the beatnik lifestyle. Then Toulouse Lautrec for the partying. Damian Hirst for the fuck you money. Leonardo Da Vinci for the hand skills to draw a perfect circle but then it had to be Picasso – the skills, the longevity and amazing body of work, the women, the continental lifestyl… he lived for a long time and didn’t seem to have a hugely sad or depressing life, so Picasso for me.
10. What is your favourite ‘ism’?
11. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?
“I like it. I don’t know why”
12. And the dumbest?
“I like it. I don’t know why”
13. Which artists would you most like to rip off, sorry, I mean appropriate as a critique of originality and authorship?
Again my belief in Karma stops my full disclosure, but if I did have to ‘rip’ someone off as a critique, I guess I would have to turn the mirror to many contemporary urban artists (mostly in the ‘street art’ category) whose works sell for vast sums, but are comprised of other peoples ideas and imagery, but with little or no intelligence, wit, style or innovation – to the point where it is a boring theft. I would carbon copy their work and see it at a higher level for more money, and if they were to complain quote verbatim some of the choice quotes they have used or follow about subversion, “all art is theft” etc etc
14. Do you care what your art costs? State your reasons!
In a financial sense 1000% No I don’t care. And that’s the gods honest truth.
Except for the 2 month period when I created work for the Daily standard, I have never concentrated fully on my art. I was never a student and never a full time artist. I have never been taught to value my work, and I have never needed to rely on selling work to cover rent. I have always had a full time job that’s separate from my art. This non reliance on the commercial aspect of my work to survive, has in fact been the making of me. It means I am free to experiment, I am free to do, say and create however I please. I have no stress about covering bills, no need to water down work to sell it, or the humiliation of hustling my work like a beggar. I have sold pieces in shows, but I have never relied on selling, nor have I expected it and planned it. Art has never equated money to me – unless its someone else’s.
I want to keep it that way. Its pure. I do it for the love. I make it to make. I make art because I need to, I have too…and a thousand other clichés. To me its about art not business, and forget that Warhol cliché. I am not averse to making money, or even to selling out. Do whatever you want, but for me? to answer this question, no, I don’t care about what my art costs.
When I had my last solo exhibition in Hamburg I gave away everything I decided wasn’t going up. I have lots and lots of art littered around Europe, and I have no care for it, it was created for the exhibition, and once that’s over its on to the next exhibition. I don’t need the work anymore.
I would obviously love to see a painting for enough money so me and my girlfriend can live happily for years and not have to work 9-5, but in truth its not what drives me or is my aim. The greatest thing that still makes me happy is when people buy my work simply because they want to live with it on the walls in their homes. To have something I created be part of their daily environments, by their choice and is the biggest compliment to me, and that is the first thing that excites me when and if I am lucky enough to sell. Also when the work sells I am grateful too as it makes the gallery and curator happy, which increases my chance of having another exhibition to show my work in.
15. If Moma and the Tate and the Pompidou wanted to acquire one of your works each, which would you want them to have?
I don’t think I have created any pieces worthy of them yet, but I will. I actually have a piece in mind for the Pompidou that they will love. Tell them to get in touch. Lets talk.
16. What’s next for you?
Well 2012 was a little bit of a foundation builder – I moved into a new flat with my girlfriend, set up my first studio and started getting back into the art scene…To date this year I’ve re-launched my website, had my first solo exhibition in London, been commissioned to do posters for amazing bands, released an affordable poster that got sold to every continent on the planet, released my first personal zine in years and launched my new blog YES LIFE.
For the rest of the year id like to drop another Zine – perhaps even a book of my Daily Standard exhibition work. Release a screenprint, perhaps get round to making my first music video and separate documentary. I think like a chess player – so im always planning a few moves ahead, and will working hard on material for 2013.
In 2013 I will take things up a notch with solo exhibitions in London and Europe.
I have a few joint shows with some artists who I love and admire – which will be very exciting and I would love to have a few solo shows – if you have a nice space and want some nice work, get in touch.
As well as my personal art I will be launching a vinyl record label with Lyndsey Murray from the garage psych band The Hypnotic Eye, carrying on with YES Life blog and launching a printing press and a few other projects I have on the drawing board. All in all, its full steam ahead… more, more more!
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