“Alas, the gates of life never swing open except upon death, never open except upon the palaces and gardens of death. And the universe appears to me like an immense, inexorable torture-garden. Blood everywhere and, where there is most life, horrible tormentors who dig your flesh, saw your bones, and retract your skin with sinister, joyful faces.”
Octave Mirbeau, Torture Garden.
Memories of creating art!
At my age, memories all blur into one another! I can’t remember much from my younger days apart from a tiger in a cage, hot air balloons floating over fields and entering a Blue Peter portrait competition. I did “A” level art (badly) but do remember liking my Bauhaus band poster I created. Around this time, I also decorated my art folder with the raven and palm trees from the Stranglers “Raven” album – I liked that a lot! When I went to University to study Psychology I spent most of my time writing to friends, cutting up magazines and personal passport photos to create funnier letters. One of my friends always used to laugh when he came to visit – he expected me to be neck deep in Freud and Jung; what he found was me sticking pictures of my head on a variety of celebrities and royalty photographs ready for the next postal delivery!
I have entered one or two competitions with limited success. I have also attended a few life drawing classes in my time and have had the chance to help in the design of book covers. This really was about the time when I was exploring collage in a real sense and to move away from painting and drawing.
What is your art trying to say? Feelings you would like to invoke?
I never start a collage piece with a picture or end point in mind. Perhaps it’s the power of the unconscious, but I just let things run their natural course. I start with a blank sheet of card and a pile of magazines and things just organically evolve. Once a picture is complete it then tells its story (whatever that may be). I have done a few recently which have made me think retrospectively about America/Trump and the NHS.
Creation of art!
Creating art just gives me an opportunity to forget the normal routine of life. No rules, no commitments, no restrictions. Just doing something I love in my own time. My girlfriend does sometimes wonder why I create such dark and weird pictures when I am so “normal” but I believe that everybody has a fascination with the macabre and strange at a basic level. I certainly do. I much prefer a picture by Hieronymus Bosch that Turner. Hence my love of Evil Blizzard gigs!
Timing and creation of your art!
It’s more sporadic for me although I do prefer to work in the evenings/night rather than the early part of the day. I can go for periods without doing anything but then something will trigger off a rush of activity. It could be a new magazine or just something I have read or listened to. My ideal time to work would be between 10pm and 2am although unfortunately the day job restricts this somewhat!
Music and art!
Always! I can’t create in silence and I have a wide range of tastes. Recently I have been listening to a lot of Protomartyr but over the past few years I have been getting back into punk music again so I will go from something like this to GBH, Bratakus, Pizzatramp or the Skids. A friend recently introduced me to the Swedish band Burning kitchen which I can’t get enough of at the moment.
Feelings about your own art!
I am never proud of what I do. Every time I create a new collage all others seems to become second rate. I suppose it does push you on to try and do better every time.
What is the most important creative tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio or workspace?
A ready supply of magazines. At some point you get to a stage where the magazine can give you no more and so goes to recycling. Also, and this might sound very basic, but the most practical piece of equipment I use is a sheet of glass. When you are putting lots of small pieces of magazine together on a sheet of card the last thing you want to happen is to accidently knock them and they end up on the floor. I place a piece of glass over the top of my initial ideas to hold them in position. This then allows me to further work over the top to try out other ideas.
Between the different art mediums you work with, which do you feel most comfortable with?
I now only work with collage. Could never go back to the others.
Do you think the internet enhances or stifles the creativity of the mind?
From my perspective I think the internet is fantastic and does provide a wealth of ideas to build on. Most of these ideas are probably buried in my head somewhere waiting for me to put on a record and pick up the scissors before making an appearance!