Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Artist of the Week - SAM CHIVERS

Sam Chivers

At the moment I make Screenprints and collage. I constantly draw in my sketchbook.
I like the infinite possibilities working digitally affords, coupled with the limitations that screenprint imposes, I see it as a challenge to get as much mileage out of each layer as possible. I'm forced to accept a level of serendipity in the print process.
Presently I'm fascinated by Tantric art, and various forms of symbolism.
I like balancing appropriated imagery with drawings and vectors.

One favourite living artist?
I didn't really get Neasden Control Centre's work when I first saw it, but it really planted itself in my head early on and over the years I've become a total fan.
NCCs work ties together various disciplines like graphic design, animation, installation etc whilst all the time retaining this brut edge to everything. It dances on an indistinguishable knife edge between order and chaos, but all the way through there's this seam of humour and enthusiasm.

When and where did you first want to do what you do?
I've always been busy with drawing, if I was having a bit of a rubbish time, drawing would make me invisible. When I was about 12 I got into 2000ad in a big way and that set me off on an altogether more serious trajectory. All I wanted to do was illustrate Judge Dredd (something I still intend to do), Rogue Trooper, Strontium Dog or Slaine. Then I started getting into European stuff like Moebius and Enki Bilal. Later I ended up making comics of my own, self publishing a small Zine/Comic called 'Apocalypso'
Then I made a comic called 'Headcase' that was more of a picture story - (there's an online version here

What place in the world has inspired you?
My dad has lived in the south of France since the late 70's, so from an early age my sister and I would be packed off every summer for our yearly visit. That place has always been an intense influence. His village is sandwiched between vineyards to the south and the more mountainous regions to the north, compared to where I grew up (Portsmouth) it's pretty isolated, and with the exception of odd gunshots here and there of Chassuers shooting wild pigs it's pretty quiet. It's a very beautiful place, and that combined with not being able to speak the language too well has given it added potency.

Do you work best on your own or in collaboration?
I'm a total control freak when it comes to my work so I probably wouldn't be any good at collaborations, I'd give it a go though depending on who it was with...

At age 15 who influenced your style?
When I was fifteen Simon Bisley was the biggest influence on my work wheather I liked it or not, that was back in the days when it was cool to paint comic pages in full colour, I can't imagine the amount of time that guy spent illustrating Slaine: The Horned God, but it was worth every minute. At art collage in the early nineties doing comics was akin to blasphemy - the lecturers equated it with fantasy art (which I guess it sort of is) but that just made me more determined As Bisley did quite painterly stuff I could practice my Bisley skills easily avoiding the idiot lecturer's fantasy art detectors.

Last best read?
Iain Sinclair's London: City of disappearances

How much do you bend your 'vision' to suit the marketplace?
I practice illustration pretty much full time, between the hours of 9 to 5 I'll bend my vision as far as I have to. Out of hours when I do my self initiated work I won't bend at all.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I have a list of pictures I want to make in my head, most of them are drawn out in my sketchbook, some of them have been queuing for years, others get lucky and jump into existence ahead of their time.

What is your favourite website?
htttp:// is one of my favourites, it's well laid out and they always have a good selection interviews.

What one word would describe your feeling of doing your work?

Do you think art and craft has any real importance?
I agree with what Alan Moore says about Art, in that he equates any artistic expression as an act of magic 'the use of words, images, and actions to affect people and the way they think'.I think art can be a tool to understand the universe and one's place in it, so yes, it is important. Sometimes though, people just want a nice picture to put on their wall.

Can anything be 'art'?
Put anything it into the right context and it's case could be argued for. I think it's all about language, and the viewers emotional response to it, or the viewers ability to decode it. I think that's why some conceptualist stuff gets criticised sometimes, because only a tiny percentage of people are either well read enough in art history or can be bothered to to decode what they're being presented with. Whether it's any good or not is an entirely different question.

What do think are crimes against good taste & decency in art/craft/design?
Lazy stencilling, heavy reliance on Photoshop filters, badly executed plagarism. The Chapman brothers seem to have a fairly successful offensive against good taste and decency, they made my mum ''want to get a f**king machine gun and shoot it all to hell!" If Alan Moore is correct then those two are a pair of Aleister Crowleys.

One favourite historical maker.
Marcel Duchamp - I like his good humoured approach to everything, he wasn't too serious yet he's credited with giving birth to conceptualism. But nobody really knew who he was.

Most underated artist?
Victor Savelkoul. - Savelkoul's drawings are beautiful, he even did a series in blue biro and they're outstanding, in a similar way to Neasden Control Centre he dances on a knife edge between order and chaos, you can't work out what was planned and what was a happy accident.

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