INTERVIEW_NAWRAS / Marcus_Dove. Sept, 2017.
How did you get into Art? Was there any incident/any person/inspiration that triggered your interest in the field?
I was always creative in school but at the same time disliked authority, Art was the only subject where there seemed to be no rules and could seize my full attention. For several years after I left school I was a lost young boy and constantly in trouble with the authorities for various things. I was faced with the choice of either going to prison or college, I chose to study Art & Design and never looked back.
Tell us something about the kind of art you make.
Impactful. My most recent practice explores creation through acts of destruction. Highly expressive, and sometimes explosive, I use pyrotechnics to create performance led paintings using a hand made electrical missile launcher and also smoke grenades.
You do paintings, photography as well as performances. Tell us something about your involvement in all of these.
Sure, for photography I've ignited and photographed smoke grenades in cities from Leicester UK to Harlem NY for an on-going project I call 'Urban Play'.
The paintings and performances came together very naturally once I started to play with the missile launcher and smoke grenades, it's an important specticle of the works process so I record a video of every piece i make being created. This naturally lead into me doing live performances, something I only recently learned to enjoy doing whilst performing for the Ghandi family this summer.
How different/similar are the three fields...does it take any adaptation to switch from one to another, especially mentally?
With all three there's always an element of danger and uncertainty about how the finished work will look, which keeps me engaged. What's interesting is that I feel the same anxieties and anticipation within all three fields, firing the missile launcher can sometimes make me feel on edge the same way igniting a smoke grenade in Harlem at 5:00am can. Mentally I have to stay calm, collected and confident that I can produce good artwork as a result of the madness.
What is the thought process behind 'creation via destruction'? How did the idea to play with missiles and grenades to make art come about?
After talking to my Grandad about war and conflict, I began to think about how the weapons used could be manipulated to instead breed art instead of hate. Pablo Picasso once said ''Every act of creation is first an act of destruction.'' and this really resonated with me in relation to my current practice. 'creation via destruction.' is present throughout the world we live, even the smallest seed has to destroy the minerals in the soil before it can grow.
What inspires you to work on a piece? In other words, how do you choose your subjects or topics to work on?
I tend to choose visual metaphors for freedom, birds are perfect for this which is why I've used them the most so far. Every piece i make needs to have the right feelings of freedom, elements of danger and solidity for it to work and make me feel satisfied. I'm practicing more with abstract lately which is heavily inspired by natural intuition.
Tell us something about your growing up years. Did you always want to be an artist?
I naively wanted to be in the Army, being young I was unaware about the politics of war, and just thought it would be cool to be like Action Man. My childhood was a bit rocky at times to say the least.
Who are your favourite artists?
Yves Klein for the fire paintings he did with a flamethrower. And also Cai Guo-Qiang because of his gunpowder drawings. I like most artists who are prepared to expose themselves to real risks. Gordon Matta-Clark is also a favourite.
Out of all the work you've done so far, what is your personal favourite. Anything that has a special place in your heart, and why?
'Two Birds and The Sun' will always be special, it was the first painting I did on a large scale with the missile launcher and smoke grenades. It was also the main piece that got me accepted in to the START Art Fair at Saatchi Gallery.
What advice will you give to the budding artists today?
Stay on the right side of my missile launcher and don't actively copy anything I do, or any other artist for that matter, be yourself and think hard about how you want to make an impact in your own way, no one else has experienced the events you have in the same order, it's what makes each of us unique so try and gain inspiration from that.
In your free time, what do you like to do – your hobbies and pastimes
I'm pretty much always in the studio working and planning future projects.
I go to the gym and workout every morning, it keeps me focused and feeling confident but you wouldn't believe how much time I spend in the studio at the moment.
When i get more free time I want to take up Jiu-Jitsu and car racing.