The Strand Gallery has had the chance to catch up with a couple of the previous UKYA participants to ask them a few questions about their art and their experience exhibiting at such a prestigious event.
How did you get involved with UKYA?
Back in 2010, a few of my friends had mentioned they had been involved in earlier projects run by the group…been taken out of the UK and had been given the chance to meet other artists and display their work to a wider audience. I just finished a new series of work based on my degree show, ‘Abnormal Beauty’, so thought I would enter for the Derby event as I thought it would be a good place to get shown for the first time.
Your series ‘Abnormal Beauty’ is unusual and intriguing; tell us about the ideas behind the project?
It began back at University while I was writing my dissertation on the idea of hyper-reality. I was interested in the idea of the perfect image and how it could be captured, so I began to experiment with an ordinary flat bed scanner as a way of capturing images. I placed objects directly onto the glass and scanned them at a very high resolution. The images had a unique quality to them and a limitless level of detail, allowing me to examine objects more closely. I began scanning unusual objects, objects that would repulse people (eg. Pighearts, brains, bones etc.). I found a strange kind of beauty in them; and by juxtaposing them with other items I created vast patterns to entice a viewer, bringing them closer to see the beauty. I took the idea further and played with insects and meat to create epic patterns to draw people into the beauty of the detail of these grotesque objects. The ongoing experimentation is about playing with the process of photography and trying to find a beauty or something alluring about the hyper reality that has been captured.
Has photography always been an important part of your life? When did you realize it would be your chosen career?
Photography has always been a big part of my life. I used to love going through old photos that relatives had taken; my Granddad used to photography flowers as a hobby and he had a great collection of slides. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I thought of picking up a camera myself; at school I said I wanted to be a photographer, I hadn’t really thought about it before. I then started photographing things around me, which at that point tended to be skateboarders and bands. I took A-Level photography and had a passionate teacher, Mr. Lanchini – who inspired me to experiment with the medium itself. Having someone talk so passionately with so much knowledge, really got me thinking about possibilities and pushed me to do new things, playing with photography to take it further.
Are you working on any other projects at the moment? Tell us about it/them?
I am working on several projects; ‘Meat’ is a continuation of the ‘Abnormal Beauty’ series – looking at natural patters, colours and textures formed from scanning raw pieces of meat and breaking the patterns up with manmade ones to collage. I am also documenting a WWII airstrip close to my home, given the name Ghost Town, by local children. I hope to create a series that explore it with an accompanying video, to explore the history of the area. Video is something I would like to explore further as well as looking at how I can introduce pattern and digital collage into different scenes. This has taken the form of collaboration with musicians Michael Liggins and Pale Tide.
To see more of Steve’s work click here