When did you start making art? What drew you to it, and in what form was it?
Like most people I have the vague childhood stirrings associated with making art. As a child I remember reading books on Mazes, Greek and Egyptian Mythology, coupled with the psychological attributes that come with playing a lot of Playstation games.
The dawn of the World Wide Web was probably largely influential, along with the coming millennium. Of course I had no idea of their relevance at the time, but I think this was the departure point of my journey into collage. I also used to play the Surrealist game of Cadavre Exquis. Although at around eleven years old,
I confess that it was just a game where you could collaborate with chance, in order to create strange monsters and cyborgs. Whether it was in the avatar of a virtual football player or in the centre of the Labyrinth, the idea of becoming lost in this aspect of ‘otherness’ I think appealed to me.
For me, collage in general represents the immediacy of a revelation, a revolutionary spark or flash, not in a clumsy sense, or not even necessarily by chance, but instead by listening to what the relationships between the images are saying.
Many of your collages seem to deal overtly with migration or travel. Other works, such as the floating mountain (pictured below) and the child on top of the statue of liberty (left) combine different worlds in ways that seem organic, seamless. What draws you to these kinds of motifs?
I think the nature of art, outside of any context, is a kind of migration. Whether its a migration from preliterate tribal societies into post literate modern societies, tools to computers, academia to the digital democratisation of knowledge, birth to death, seed to fruit, the relationships we establish with our natural environments are mediated through our technologies, in a kind of ever increasing feedback loop (broadband width) from a common origin. Jung would probably call these motifs ‘archetypes’, some Buddhists would call them something like the ‘tathāgatagarbha–buddhadhātu’ (a kind of endless embryonic state of luminescence in all things, like the potential energy of a child or a seed). So I think the entire linguistic environment describing these worlds are pretty organic, and when it doesn’t seem organic and seamless there’s probably something awry.
How do you create meaning in your artworks? What kind of meaning are you creating?
We have to look at what ‘meaning’ is by itself. Be it in the framework of science, mathematics, polytheism, atheism, alchemy, computers, music, and all the kinds of worlds these things create. These frameworks, or technologies can lead the most avant-garde movements into fascism, social segregation, economic vulnerability, and all the other negative aspects highly organised systems of thought can bring about. For me, collage in general represents the immediacy of a revelation, a revolutionary spark or flash, not in a clumsy sense, or not even necessarily by chance, but instead by listening to what the relationships between the images are saying. It can feel like a bit of an alchemical pursuit sometimes. I think maybe that is the meaning, but I’m definitely not creating it in the sense of assembling a table. Although collage can have quite necessary limitations, just as tables can be useful.
From what artworks, books, and/or music do you drawn inspiration?
There are too many to list. Recently I’ve been listening to Robert Ashley’s ‘Perfect Lives’ series. It was written as an Opera for TV, made in the 80’s. It is largely conversational in tone and ranges from colloquial ‘bar talk’, to the more far reaching philosophical musings of Giordano Bruno, the Renaissance, phenomenology and learning how to shave.
I tend to work a lot with musicians, so sound is a constant companion when I’m making things. There can be a sharp divide between the kind of music I listen to for pleasure and the kind I listen to to aid inspiration so to speak. The Icaros songs of Cristina [provided at right] are particularly beautiful. I have no pretence with regards to knowing the traditions of the Icaros, but I wrote a little about them on Visual Melt
Tell us about Tiny Library and the philosophy behind it.
I started Tiny Library in 2015 with the intention of creating a fluid space where creative intention could manifest in the dimensions of an audio cassette. The libraries themselves are cassette tape carry cases, so they are perfect vessels in which culture can fragment and converge in this kind of shoddy homemade eighties science fiction basement bedroom prophesy style. You can read a more coherent description over on the site’s info page. In short it’s a catalyst for free and meaningful social interaction through art and music.
What advice and/or assignment would you give to someone wishing to get into collage?
I’m always tempted to quote Bukowski when he was asked the same question, “Don’t Try.” But if you really do want to try (which I advise against) then listen to the audio book of James Joyce’s ‘Finnegans Wake.’ Start to read all your books upside down. Buy a craft knife, some glue and a table. Open your window. Sleep regularly.