Show: Séance, mixed media. Kid Acne.
Tell: “For a while now I’ve been interested in the notion of graffiti being like modern-day folklore, in the sense that the work is ephemeral and the documentation is often biased or inaccurate. Stories circulate through word-of-mouth and, while some artists gain mythical status, others are generally forgotten.
“Like many youth movements, it’s very hard to find out what the ‘truth’ actually is, and for the most part, most people don’t seem to care – the myth is part of the appeal. More recently, I’ve been exploring this idea further, taking inspiration from Paganism, Freemasonry and the Occult. So this installation is the result of a series of experiments and explorations, mixing various techniques and medium to help tell some kind of story.
“This piece has taught me to work instinctively and not to overcomplicate things. I think it’s in our nature to be analytical, especially in art. So for me, I aim to go with a general feeling now and not worry too much about the finer details. It’s easier said than done as obviously, you want the work to be ‘perfect’, which it can never be.
“Working in the museum environment was fantastic, I loved it. I’ve painted many large-scale pieces in the street, but working in 3D is actually very new to me, as is putting together solo exhibitions such as this. It’s been a steep learning curve, but an enjoyable one. I think it’s really important to challenge yourself and to work outside of your comfort zone.
“I had a pretty clear idea of how I wanted to use the exhibition space from the beginning. As in, I knew I wanted to include certain elements to break up the space in certain ways. It was more a question of what was achievable in the time frame and how were these things going to fit together in a cohesive way, as opposed to looking like a dog’s dinner.
“I appointed my friends and colleagues Peter and Paul to help design the space a little more accurately. Firstly to have someone to bat ideas about with and, secondly, so there were no Spinal Tap ‘Stone Henge’ surprises at the end. We refined the ideas together along with Rowena at the gallery, but it wasn’t until the day before the show opened that I was actually stood back to see it come together for the first time. For me, the museum rope is the best bit. That’s the bit that makes it look official and made me say ‘perfect’.
“The illustrations are very open to interpretation. I enjoy drawing and although most of my work has some kind of narrative element, I’m not trying to tell a story in a linear way. Largely because I don’t always know what’s going on myself until much later on, but also because I don’t think the specifics really matter too much. I like hearing people’s interpretations – some are really crackers.
“On the whole, people in Sheffield have only ever seen my street pieces, so I guess they’ve not really known what to expect from a show such as this. Most people seem intrigued by the various elements and pleasantly surprised by the diversity of work. The film has received a fantastic response, which is a collaborative piece I’ve worked on with director Dscreet and my friend Cherrystones, who composed the soundtrack. The gold leaf Ouija Board graphic, hand-carved into an old Victorian table is very much a talking piece. Everyone has a crazy Ouija Board experience they want to share with you.
“The notion of ‘urban’ art seems a bit ridiculous to me. Since the beginning I’ve also painted in rural environments, as have most ‘urban artists’. When I began painting my female warrior characters eight or nine years ago, I intended them as an alternative to the misogynistic characters of women I’d see painted throughout the graffiti scene and it seemed to link in with the folklore concept. They’re meant to represent a forgotten tribe, haunting or protecting the abandoned and derelict spaces I’d paint them in. I guess it is a bit wistful, but I’ve never been into the whole bravado thing so that suits me just fine.”
Info: Kid Acne began painting graffiti at the age of twelve inspired by its infinite scale, colour and immediacy. He lives and works in Sheffield, England.
Kill Your Darlings, his first solo show in his home town, can be seen at Millennium Gallery, Sheffield until Sunday 23 October 2011.
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