The London Paper / by Lucy

Yesterday's London Paper featured a brief interview with me,  as with most interviews much of the conversation is edited out, so if you're interested here's the edited version and below the non-edited...

Where were you born and when?

Birmingham.  (I'd omitted the year seeing as it was my birthday last week & I'd forgotten how old i was...but they had a guess, it was wrong.)

When did you first realise art was your thing? Were you always scribbling as a child?

I always had a pen in my hand. i think everyone should enjoy painting and drawing and not just during childhood.

You use permanent materials, eg Indian ink and marker pens - are you perpetually surrounded by scrunched up bits of drawings that have gone wrong?

Using permanent materials presents a challenge, the mistakes often turn into my favourite details within a piece.

How did you come to use marker pens etc?

I used marker pens as they were cheap and dried quickly, but attempting large scale work in such a medium caused me to suffer from chronic RSI. Fellow Brummie Will Barras suggested that I invest in some good quality paint brushes - which changed my entire working practice.

Describe your art in three words. If that's impossible, I'll take a sentence!

Improvised fluid mark-making.

Are you suspicious of Photoshop art, given that you prefer to use permanent markers and so live with any mishaps/errors and work through them?

I enjoy the expression of human hands and their results of such a personal physical involvement.  As a tool, the computer often takes that away.

What's Beat 13?

Myself and Matt Watkins set up Beat13 in 1999 as a website to organise ourselves and friends in an independent manner. We created various projects, exhibitions, comics, screen-prints...all involving friends and acquaintances. Eventually we opened a gallery space in Birmingham.

Where's your work heading these days?

I'm appreciating a simple life, painting has given me the opportunity to explore the world and I consider that a privilege.

Many of your prints are single colour/monochrome. Do you hate colour?

I enjoy concentrating on the line work, sometimes colour is distracting - i use it occasionally but find the tones already existing on the surfaces of the found objects i use more interesting.

What's your favourite personal artwork?

The short film TACIT documents me creating an installation from the local debris dumped in Walsall. Matt Watkins and I made the soundtrack using techniques inspried by John Cage 's chance music reflecting my own working process. You can watch it online. (www.Beat13.co.uk)

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I tend to hoard things i find to paint on, my house is like a skip attempting to save things from landfill.

Describe your working environment - is it a regimented 9 to 5 in a whitewashed studio, or more chaotic?

I'm lucky enough to live a lifestyle relatively free of normal restrictions... when inspired, I enjoy the chaos of working through the night and sleeping at the studio and if it's a sunny day I'd rather go for a bike ride, do some gardening or paint outside.

Do you listen to music while working - if so, what gets the creative juices flowing and what turns them off?

Bill hicks always inspires me, but it's distrurbing that so much of what he said 15 years ago has even more relevance now.Â

The big names in street/urban art these days are overwhelmingly male - at least in the mainstream. Is it a macho environment? Why? Where are all the women?

It's not a new situation for women to be disproportionately represented in the art world. New York's Guerilla Girls produce poster art that hi-lights the situation.

Describe your new show.

I've painted on riot shields. Coverage of recent events suggests that many peaceful protesters are "domestic extremists" and police involvement at demonstrations increasingly turns violent.Â

I wanted to remind us that our rights to freedom of speech and peaceful protest have shaped the way we live today, our most powerful voice and that peaceful protest is a vital part of our democratic society. We mustn't let violence deter us from standing together and supporting just causes.Â

What's your favourite London gallery/museum?

The Horse Hospital  - I had my first show there (as Beat13), curators Roger & James (two of the best I've dealt with) proudly said they were the only gallery with peach walls, i was impressed with their non-conformist attitude. They were the first place I saw shows with the likes of Shepherd Fairy, Ron English and my personal favourite Gee Vaucher.