Thursday, 25 September 2008

Artist of the Week - CHRIS KNIGHT

Chris Knight. everywherenowhere

I’ve always wanted to make art that people who don’t necessarily enjoy art will like. Maybe that they wouldn’t even call art because its not labeled that way, it's just general alteration to an environment and hopefully an improvement. I have a lot of respect for good quality street and public art, my ideas are always designed for the public realm but often sneak their way in from the cold. Still if you can trip over something or walk into it I like it.

Money spent on travel is never wasted
Even if you end up somewhere you don’t want to be, even if you get lost. I love getting lost; I do it all the time much to the annoyance of my friends. But you’re never really lost, just somewhere you haven’t been yet and besides you get to see a lot in the process.

One favourite living artist
Ron Mueck. I just think he’s incredibly skilled and perfect in what he does. I think I wish I could produce pieces so physically perfect, I’ve spent ages looking at his work trying to find faults but there aren’t any. Plus I love the distortion in scale and often placing of his work in a gallery, once I almost tripped over an impossibly small boy behind a door and it just made me laugh.

One favourite historical maker?
Everyone and everything that came before because it gave us what we have and everything that surrounds us today. That includes ‘God’, Nature and your Granddad, it’s a rich tapestry and everyone contributes in their own way.

What place in the world has inspired you?
I’d love to say somewhere exotic but Manchester really inspires me. It’s beautiful in its own way, dark dirty-bricked back streets and urban wildlife, rain and in turn puddles. It’s not a perfect or amazingly beautiful city but when there’s a lot of room for improvement there’s more room for ideas of improvement. Besides that the sea, or the view of the land from the sea when I’m surfing, out there alone its easy to think.

What was the last art/craft/design thing you purchased?
I don’t often buy art; I’ve nowhere really to put it at the moment. The last piece I bought though was about two years ago, it’s a little ceramic bird by Jeremy McLachan and you can blow three musical notes through it. I absolutely love it but unfortunately so does my Mum so she ‘borrowed’ it.

At age 15 who influenced your style? Was there any individual who very much helped you on your way?
My high school art teacher really seemed to believe in me and gave me a worryingly free rein for my work. Of course I took advantage and got silly with my interest in ‘shock’ art but I had to go there to realise that wasn’t what I wanted to do. It’s not easy to be fifteen and it’s even harder to be around a fifteen year old but she put the time in.

How do you set about starting a new project?
I don’t dither too much with my ideas; I take them half-baked and try to make it physical. In doing this I always discover I don’t have the necessary ingredients to make it happen and get slowed down giving me time to think, reconsider and start over. After doing this a few times I usually end up with something I’m really pleased with and a small trail of destruction.

What do you have on your pinboard?
I stick things up above my desk with magnets attached to random nails so it can be quite disordered but generally I have a silly poem a good friend wrote (to keep me company), my list of how many birds I’ve made, random reminders that always fall down and never get to remind me and my collection of minute drill bits that I’d lose otherwise.

Where and what is your studio? Do you work alone? In silence, radio?
My studio is usually wherever I’m living but my favourite was an old warehouse in Ancoats, Manchester. It was freezing cold and a little bit lonely but I felt really comfortable and energetic there. I played the same Bright Eyes album over and over until I knew every single word. I can’t imagine my neighbours appreciated that. Otherwise I like to keep the TV on, just for conversation.

Surprising activity/hobby?
People watching but that’s not so unusual really. I get in trouble for staring too much but really I’m just in my own world.

Would you rather be doing something else?
Yes and No. There’s nothing I’d rather do if the creating was all I had to do. The paperwork and networking in between gets to me a bit. Every week I have an idea for a new skill I’d like to learn but it always comes down to art in the end.
I want to be a jack-of-all-trades.

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