Liz speaks to me about establishing the 105 Women project, Audre Lorde, doing things together, having a constant awkwardness with life, being an Art Doctor and their current project ‘Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art?’, not being good with authority, burning a giant bra, and almost setting herself on fire.
Matthew talks with me about growing up in East Africa whilst being sent to school in the UK, the influence this has had on his work, silversmithing, art sometimes interrupting life but being a threshold to somewhere else, not meeting ‘British Play Equipment Standards’, and starting a somewhat mysterious gallery in his studio in Todmorden.
Alfie tells me about only making his “first work” in 2014, joining the School of The Damned, doing exhibitions about his dad’s death - and his dad then getting involved, making work at work, not liking his own company, and how that has lead him to engage in quite intense collaborations.
Pavel speaks about the ever-changing definition of art, art being useless but having a purpose, ‘adding depth to talent’, the importance of experiencing a work of art and learning how to attend to it, the many ways art education has changed, showcasing, studio-groups, and his observations of today.
Charles talks to me about the influence that building dens, rafts and dams during his childhood had on the way he approaches projects, blagging being an important skill, unofficially turning street lights on, interrogating cities, and being able to do things in Preston he wouldn’t be able to do elsewhere.
Nina tells me about her background in embroidery and the difficulty of trying to remove its influence from her work, as well as her own, how the unanswerable question of “what is art?” keeps driving her towards it, leaps of faith, being a nurse, emotional resilience, and her love of paper.
Emma speaks to me about being denied access to the film department at the start of her Fine Art degree, becoming good at faking being a natural painter, her interest in scripts, screenplays, table reads and gifs, using academic platforms as an arena for performance, and being a self-declared harridan.
Pete talks with me about his differences with the hierarchy of image making in art education, why he always fought for every student, his artistic career taking off when he was unemployed and hopefully again now in retirement, bailiffs attempting to take his life work, and making art an adventure.
Michael chats to me about never documenting his work and letting it exist as oral history, being a trouble causer, how a dyslexia test gave his work a visual identity, setting up a new foundation course and gallery in Scunthorpe, and now running the only foundation course in South America.
Garry tells me about how making instructional drawings of machinery took him from his apprenticeship as an overhead crane fitter in Dudley to art school under the tutelage of Keith Arnatt, working as an industrial interior designer, his over four decades as an educator, and the importance of balancing the intellectual with the psychical.
Chris speaks about the influence of skateboarding and Quakerism on himself as an artist, establishing the English Disco Lovers group that sought to oppose and overtake the English Defence League, receiving death threats, not mentioning Michael Ashcroft, tucking in Marina Abramović and being among the youngest ever to give the Swarthmore Lecture.
Pamela speaks with me about not trusting memories, recording voices, giving sorrow words, kindness as a force, setting up a creative mothers peer support network, and how receiving Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing therapy to recover from the trauma of Guillain-Barré syndrome gave her a new found resolve to pursue her work.
Before going to art school Rory spent ten years street painting around Europe, was made an honorary gypsy and even exiled from Florence. We talk about fabricating an imaginary student on his Foundation course, being typecast as a joke artist, starting his own art fair and performing Beethoven without knowing how to play the piano.
George tells me about the significance of the local video store’s foreign language shelf when growing up, how much of his travels around the world have been a means to expand that shelf, and how spending time at the Jatiwangi Art Factory is making him re-think the potential of his hometown of Marsden.
Andy talks to me about not actually being that interesting, the awful experience of watching someone play a younger version of himself, embarrassment, self-financing public sculpture, truth humour, and not using art as an excuse to make less good versions of the things they are intending to be.
Nicola chats with me about her love of reading, libraries, and even knowledge itself; an artist being full of doubts, understanding not understanding conceptual art, self-flagellation being too easy, going against what’s expected of you, stubbornness, and also gives me lots of good advice on being a full-time artist.
Keith tells me about launching a full size Rover 75 made of clay through Cannock Chase forest, being banned from the ceramics studio on the first day of art college and still ending up studying ceramics, tripping the V&A’s electrical systems, collaborating with Napalm Death and embracing unpredictability.
Whilst on a brief return from Moscow, Sean speaks with me about his own seminal experience of doing a Foundation course in Carlisle, teaching painting through not painting, having multiple collaborative practices without necessarily having an individual one, and trying to capture the Loch Ness monster for the Museum of Modern Art.
Amanda talks with me about her scientific approach to art making, her background in biochemistry, family ties to Dolly the sheep, building a practice from volunteering at and now working to develop the creative mental health service Inkwell Arts, trees, finally getting a British Passport, and the many complications of working with fire.
Liar Hydrant and Ghoul Baby (aka artists Hardeep Pandhal and David Steans) talk with me about their rap personas and projects, the varying ways it is part of, or feeds into their respective practices, collaboration, not performing live, and it being an enjoyable, generative and sometimes uncomfortable thing to do.
Simeon recounts his journey from growing up in Huddersfield, clubbing around the country, spending sixteen years in industry before turning to art education, coming to find his past to be a useful resource, to ending up in Tate Britain. Along the way we talk masculinity, aspiration, peer influence, and Vogue magazine.
Emma joins me after a busy day running a pop up Playlab to talk about the influence of her pub landlady grandmother, realising she didn’t want to pursue an “artist’s life”, being nosey, the will to create, people having fun as being a higher pursuit, and the power of slime.
Harold tells me about discovering that conceptual art is funny, how art could be an investigatory process, the value of a good educational experience, house parties as an approach to performativity, and for him, why success is just someone figuring out what it is he even does.
Mick chats to me about his almost four decades working in social care, ending up as the Deputy Director of Adults and Health for Leeds City Council, as well as making Leeds United dementia friendly, commissioning a room dedicated to his mother and the Riverside Mission at the Art Hostel, and the potential for art as liberation.
Bryony shares her background in photography, newspapers, and why it wasn’t for her, visiting galleries on her own as a teenager, curating as piggybacking, and why artists should choose their practice carefully; whilst I reflect on doing the podcast, utilising artistic license, genuineness as subversion, and trying not to worry so much.
Mei runs the oldest store in New York’s Chinatown and tells me about her decision to take on the family business, facing the threat of gentrification (of which galleries are a big part), setting up the W.O.W Project in response, and the significance of her doing so as a young woman.
After having taken her Improv 101 course at UCB, Chelsea gives me my feedback and some extra lessons as well. She also tells me about originally intending to be a painter but instead finding improv, her approaches to teaching, how it differs to coaching, and how improv helped with her social anxiety.
Carolina speaks about growing up in “very rural” Sweden, leaving home at the age of sixteen, her early beginnings as a graffiti artist, becoming a mother, reawakening her New York alias, Swedish humour, and the story behind that particular painting on the side of a building in lower Manhattan.