Artist of the Month April 2015
Each month, we showcase the work of one of the artists represented on our website via our Social Media channels including Facebook, Twitter and our Blog, and ask them a few questions about their work and life as an artist. This month, it's PIZZAFACE.
When and how did your interest in art develop?
I loved drawing as a kid. It felt like a very different kind of activity from playing with the matchbox cars my parents endlessly foisted upon me. I’ve heard people talking about art in terms of the response to "losing oneself" in the act of creating. I experienced two opposites; losing and discovering. I felt as if I had found myself in the act of drawing but the self I found was somehow connected to something old and powerful, something strange and bigger than myself. It created a tiny spark that got quashed through indifference, incomprehension and criticism. I turned to music in my mid-teens as a form of work and expression. After these attempts fell apart I stumbled into illness, drug addiction and eventually homelessness. I started to focus again on the tiny sparks of music, drawing and writing after I got clean four years ago.
What influences your art?
I think most people have some urge toward legacy or at least leaving some scratchings on the cave wall. A healthy kind of extenuated egotism I reckon.
What process do you go through when you are creating a piece (starting with the initial idea)?
My process utilises the 'collecting threads' method. My approach is non-conceptual and uncomplicated; a loosening of intent allowing chance - on purpose but messy and disordered. No perfectionism in ideal realms here. The artwork mostly arrives towards the end of a day doing music, as a by-product almost. I’d be tired but still have the urge so I’d pick up my tools and see what presented itself. I’d then file these in my old suitcase. The conceptualising would appear only in retrospect in the form of titles that would act as a (sometimes oblique) commentary on the content. Only at this point did the work seem finished, or at least abandoned!
Which artists, if any, have you drawn inspiration from?
Growing up I really liked cartoons and comics, also LP sleeves ( "reign in blood" by Slayer made quite an impression on my teen-brain). I’ve got a soft spot for artists who straddle other mediums; whose work seems to form part of a general stream of creativity such as William Blake, David Lynch, Carl Jung (although I’m sure he wouldn't have considered himself an artist as such) William S. Burroughs, Alejandro Jodorowski, Dudley D Watkins and more recently Antonin Artaud. I watched the Alan Yentob documentary about Outsider Art and sensing a bit of kinship I got some books on the subject. I had heard of Adolf Wolfli, Madge Gill and Howard Finster. The latter through the REM sleeve. Through these I discovered stuff by Heinrich Muller, Scottie Wilson, Guillame Pujolle, Raymond Morris and Edmund Monsiel. I have been stunned by the beautiful mad witchery of Ody Saban’s pulsing organic webs. Anyone who sees themselves as the incarnation of Lillith ready to spit in Adam’s eye and Jehovah’s hidden face; anyone who sees their art as a kind of magical transformation, who understands art as a form of "continual metamorphosis" gets my vote.
What sort of ideas do you explore in your work?
I’m interested in how art can open "portals" or offer a “transcendent function” that can unite things seemingly opposed or disparate, such as the continuous and discontinuous, the object and subject or more primarily, you and me. I’m reading a book by Georges Bataille in which he talks about, with regards to ritual sacrifice, how an act of violence can deprive "a creature of its limited particularity and bestow upon it the limitless, infinite nature of sacred things.” My work (my music and writing as well as drawing) may well be an attempt to deal with trauma through repetition and ritual, through acts of violence against silence and the blank space. I think most people deal with trauma by utilising these methods in some form or another.
Has being a part of Outside In been beneficial for you? If so, how?
My outlook, for too long, has been one made opaque and murky by years of long term drug addiction. The seeds of distrust that can flower in beds of isolation turn the world into a crazy kind of hall of mirrors. I reckon that if it hadn't been for the warm encouragement from Outside In’s Hannah Whitlock my sense of withdrawal would have continued to increase. At the beginning of this year I joined a creative writing course – something that would have been impossible for me to handle a year ago. I utterly lacked confidence in myself and my abilities. I couldn't work out if my stuff was worthwhile. Someone presenting me with the possibilities that it might be really gave me a boost when I was at the tipping point. Also it’s nice to be able to say "hey check out my scribbling on the Outside In online gallery."
What is next for you as an artist?
If I can keep pushing through to reverse my current situation and like Blake or Saban continue to dream dreams and see visions, I would consider this a true achievement.