The eXTra finGer

...''He was counting on his fingers.One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven.Eleven?Had he been born with an extra finger?''...

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Location: Italy

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Interview with Stuart Semple

Q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?

A)I’m Stuart Semple, I’m old enough to know better and I prefer foregrounds to backgrounds.

Q)How did you get started making art?

A)I’ve made things for as long as I can remember. When I was a very young child my grandmother gave me some oil paints, I used ot make paintings of Van Gogh and Monet with those paints and a stick. In 1999 I became very ill and nearly died. It was art that saved me because I realized it was one of the only things worth living for, since then I have made art my life, sort of like trying to repay a debt to it.

Q)How would you describe your art?

A)I’m useless at describing it. They are visual things and written language doesn’t translate to them that well. Vaguely, they are figurative paintings, often with bright colours and words on them. It’s best to look at them, to get an idea really.

Q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?

A)Magazines, internet, music videos, pop songs, over heard conversations. But I group those fragments acording to my emotions at the time, so it all starts with a feeling.

Q)What are you working on now?

A)Well I’m just putting the finishing touches on some paintings for an exhibition during the Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. This one’s a piece called ‘is anybody out there’. These are all to do with my feeling of being alone, like a painting’s out there to communicate. Like I’m always speaking out but very rarely is there a reply that comes back. A bit like tipping paint into a void.

Q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recommend? Artists, art communities, xxx,...!?

A)That’s so vast. I don’t tend to spend too long online looking at art. This is a chance to plug some guys who’s works I really like. , ,, , , I find that lot inspiring maybe some of your readers will too.

Q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?

A)Paint, spraypaint, charcoal. Actually you know charcoal is something I love. It’s the one things that you can get so much out of. One little stick contains every tone you need. It’s weird because I’ve used it forever but it keeps opening up to me. Just yesterday I found something new to do with it. If I was stuck on a dessert island, a stick of charcoal would do the trick for me.

Q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?

A)If you love making things, make them. If you’re after a career don’t expect art to do it. If you want to be an art star leave art school and do a marketing degree, read about finance. Generally though, if you’re expecing some sort of lifestyle there are much easier ways to get it than this.

Q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?

A)Life is being alive, breathing and moving and being able to do stuff. It’s the flip side to death. Art is something that I have no real clue how to define. I don’t know what that is. I’ll have a go though... an object or idea that has no other direct useful function, that may entertain or perhaps provoke or induce an aesthetic experience. That it’s creator or it’s observer has assigned the category of ‘art’ to. However due to it’s inherent subjective nature it could just as well be something that transcends my previous description. Everything else in between, well that’s just the bits between bits, random detritus, objects, silence and death.

Q)If your persona were immortalized as a cartoon character, who would it be?

A)Who knows, if I would be a super hero I’d like to be Clark Kent, then I could be all smart and businesslike during the day and at night save the world. That’s not a cartoon character though. Lets have Christopher Robin from Winnie the Pooh.

Q)What are your artistic influences?

A)I honestly try not to refer to other artists, I think that just causes a continual art loop. I’m bored of art that’s about art. I prefer to look to life and the things that are around me. I’m aware of the history and what other artists do. There are artists I admire, but there are also musicians and filmmakers I admire a lot more. I’m going to say Thom Yorke from Radiohead. I’m going to say Warhol, Jack Kerouak, Gus Van Sant. But there’s hundreds of things that flow in and out it changes almost hourly.

Q)How are the reactions on your work in general?

A)I realized that people are always looking at places I’ve been. They are watching the past. I’ve already made the stuff that they react to. I don’t listen to reaction because it’s only an opinion on where I’ve already gone. It’s irrelevant how people react because it’s already made.

Q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?

A)Thinking about creating art.

Q) Tell us about a recent dream you had.

A)I can’t. They are too elaborate. I’d seriously be here all day. They are always really vivid and so close to real life situations that they are believable.

Q)What is freedom to you as an artist?

A)The ability to make what I want when I want without the pressure to have to do it for demand.

Q)Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?

A)Hard to say really, because my mind is already way ahead of them by the time they are complete. I’m never totally satisfied with them. I made one recently called ‘Monster’ it was huge. I guess that’s one that I like quite a lot of at the moment.

Q)Last Books you read?

A)I’ve been reading a book called ‘Tipping Point’. Penny Broadhurst’s book of poetry. The Damien Hirst ‘on my way to work’ for like the 10th time. I have lots of books on the go actually.

Q)Last records you bought?

A)I buy so many but the last GREAT one I bought was Thom Yorke’s ‘Eraser’. It’s brilliant.

Q)Who are your favorite artists & Your favorite galleries?

A)There’s so many.... I could write pages. Galleries that help artists to make things they couldn’t do otherwise. And artists who keep moving, Jake and Dinos, Graham Dolphin, Stanley Donwood, Anthony Micallef. Galleries like Bischoff Weiss, Victoria Miro, the photographers gallery in London. Rosy Wilde.

Q)Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?

A)Neither. People get caught by style, it’s a trap for artists. And people strive so hard to be original that they forget what it is to express who they are. I don’t see what the big deal about having to be the first to do something new is, I prefer people who refine things. And stylishness well it’s often forced. I think genuine style is a fluid thing.

Q)Your contacts…E-mail…Links



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