I Am The Protagonist With The Boiled Bone Render - August 2010
Artists in Their Own Words
What you are working on right now?
I am building a sculptural carousel, about five metres across that will house sculptural and drawn elements and that the audience can become part of. It’s for a show later in the year in London and the loose working title is The Protagonist. My summer was set aside for drawing, planning and production. The residency at Cooper Gallery is an ideal opportunity to expand on that. I am also working on the more sculptural, pictorial elements. All around here are drawings, collages and texts forming a bank of material which will either become the source for the carousel or end up residing within it.
Text seems to feature in about 80 percent of your drawings, does this stem from an interest in narrative or language?
I like titles, they are as important as the work. They are sometimes the start of a story, crude poetry or a couple of words that rhyme. Often a two-word title will get longer over time. Phrases like ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘our’ are prevalent in my works and I will make a giant text piece to frame this work.
Is making temporary architecture a key element to your practice?
There has always been an architectural strand and the space the work is made for often informs the work. A recent piece shown under an octagonal cupola was an eight-panelled structure. I don’t have an academic interest in architecture but I enjoy the physicality of working on a big scale. Not controlling space but making a sizeable change to how that space operates. Designs for living, roller panels and Ikea-style, over-compartmentalised living come through in my work as sculptural spaces which move.
Usually, unlike architecture, large sculptures aren’t an inhabited space, are you making them to be inhabited?
I like the idea of the audience having to get into something, to introduce pleasure into their experience through its physicality. Play is key to my making process and for the audience.
Has this emerged from a background in participatory practice?
Totally, since graduating I have worked as a technician for galleries and as part of an art collective, often making structures for public events to happen in. My own practice has developed alongside this. I have relaxed about my anxieties to resolve the three separately, thinking all creative activity I enjoy is valid. Discussing things with my peer group has been really important in developing the ambition of my work.
Do you draw any distinction between your different types of 2D work?
The technical ones are resolving a practical problem and getting me started in visualising things. The smaller sketches are ideas for larger drawings that are more labour intensive. There is older sketchbook stuff, which is still ripe now. I will start a day by making the decision to scale up a section and see where that goes.
How has it affected you being able to work here?
Scale is really important. The larger drawings I am able to do here can be part of the final piece, not just part of the process. I have space to pull everything together here.
Extracts from interviews conducted by John Dummett