Why do artists do what they do, and how they do it?

Something To Do With Art is a podcast that explores and celebrates artistic creativity and experimentation. Seven brand new episodes are now live on SoundCloud, featuring conversations with artists Amanda Couch, Egidija Čiricaitė, Karen Frances Eng, Madi Acharya-Baskerville, MOOGZ, Matthew Chesney and Philip Harris.

In this series you can hear about hacking into a nuclear installation (legally) and making art from it (MOOGZ), divining the future using entrails (Amanda Couch), being in the naughty corner at an exhibition (Madi Acharya-Baskerville) and much more besides. Plus Matthew Chesney, director of Backlit Gallery Nottingham shares the importance of art and community, and why art is never more needed in the current times.

Starting next week, this blog will feature each artist in turn and I will share some thoughts about the episode and discuss some of my favourite moments and learning points. First up will be Amanda Couch.

In the meantime, do head over to soundcloud.com/robertgood_art and take a listen.


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Matt Chesney is an artist whose own work is based around performance, video and sculpture. He is also the founder and director of Backlit Nottingham, a gallery and studio complex based in a large industrial building with a fascinating history and links to human rights, anti-slavery and adult education for all.

Our conversation took place at Backlit in the summer just as lockdown ended and we were all trying to find our feet again and emerge back into the world. Matt showed me round the site and we previewed the first show that they were installing since lockdown. Matt was also very excited for a special visitor to Backlit who was arriving later in the day.

I particularly wanted to catch up with Matt to find out more about how he sees the role of the gallery and the curator in the art ecosystem. What choices does he make and why? I also was keen to hear the Backlit story and how he had managed to build up such a successful and thriving art community from a standing start. I was super-impressed by Matt’s commitment and drive, and his real sense of care and responsibility for all that they do.

This turned into one of those heart-warming conversations where you really feel the positive way in which art is such an important part of our social fabric. Thanks Matt!

You can listen to this episode here: https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art/matthew-chesney

Next week: sound artist and ethical hacker MOOGZ tells me about his project [Malignancy], recorded over the course of 12 years as his mother Angela underwent radiotherapy, and how he has a soft spot for hacking nuclear installations.


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Madi Acharya-Baskerville creates mixed media sculptures using found objects and discarded ephemera to explore themes including environmental concerns, migration and exile and gender issues.  Our conversation took place at her studio in Oxford, which was full of neatly piled boxes of found materials waiting to be used.

I particularly wanted to catch up with Madi after she had made a chance remark to me about the possibility of a Library of Lies as a conceptual counterpoint to my own Library of Truth. But in fact our discussions ranged widely over a number of topics to do with the creative process, and Madi shows me some of her recent work, including a three-buttocked sculpture that takes me somewhat by surprise.

I always enjoy recording these podcasts and being curious about what everyone is getting up to, and this episode felt like it was the most playful of the current series.

In this episode we also consider the relationship between art and ideas, and  Madi also tells me that she is thinking about writing a novel. I’m very much looking forward to reading it.

You can listen to this episode here: https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art/madi-acharya-baskerville

Next week: Matt Chesney, director of Backlit Gallery Nottingham, tells me how (and why) he started the gallery and he explains the importance of community in everything that they do.


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Karen Eng is a writer and artist who works in both analogue and digital media. She has experimented with VR, blockchain and NFTs, and is especially interested in art as a catalyst for innovation, cooperation and creating communities.

My conversation with Karen took place at her home in King’s Lynn where she told me about her involvement in a large-scale sci-fi time travel adventure taking place around the town. The multi-media installation is the culmination of a two-year project run by Collusion to use art and technology to find new and positive ways to engage people with the perils of climate change. We then took to the streets to see the artworks in situ.

So I wanted to catch up with Karen to find out about how she uses art as a force for social engagement and change, but I was also intrigued to learn more about her use of technology. Karen is an early adopter and an experimenter: by her own admission she has a restless curiosity about all forms of art making – whether it is letterpress and pastels or VR and crypto.

In this episode Karen also tells me about the importance of finding a supportive online community, and how the brave new world of crypto art is here to stay.

You can listen to this episode here: https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art/karen-eng

Next week: Madi Acharya-Baskerville discusses her mixed media sculptures that she makes using found objects and discarded ephemera, and we attempt to find cake.


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Egidija Čiricaitė is an artist, poet and PhD candidate at the Slade School of Fine Art and UCL Linguistics, where she is researching Relevance Theory and metaphor.

My conversation with Egidija took place at her home in South London, where she has a small office and creative space, crammed full with notes, books, materials and papers. Down the middle hangs what appears to be a washing line, pegged up with pages of drawings, ideas and experiments. We began, however, in the kitchen, where I attempted to pronounce Egijia’s surname – with mixed results.

I particularly wanted to catch up with Egidija because I wanted to find out more about the world of book arts. I am interested myself in the interplay between the visual and the verbal, but I confess that I have never really ‘got’ artists books, so I was hoping to find out where I was going wrong.

In this episode we talk about how books function as cultural objects, how our preconceptions inform our expectations of what the contents might be and how readers of books are portrayed on social media. We also discuss the relationship between academic research and artistic practice – what, if any, is the link between the two?

I especially liked the way in which Egidija tells me how she finally decided that she had become a poet, and I remember in this regard thinking at the time how vividly Egidija was able to describe scenes and situations she was talking about. I also enjoyed hearing about Relevance Theory and the way in which our brains construct reality from their surroundings.

Thank you to Egidija for a fascinating visit.

You can listen to this episode here: https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art/egidija-ciricaite

Next week: Karen Eng takes me on a tour of Kings Lynn to see some large scale outdoor projections and we discuss her early adoption of new technologies such as VR, AR and NFTs.


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My conversation with Amanda Couch took place at the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading, where Amanda is co-curator and contributing artist for The Commons: Re-Enchanting the World, a collaborative artistic response to the many ways in which the commons – land, air and water – are a vital shared social resource.

I particularly wanted to catch up with Amanda because I was intrigued by the way in which she uses guts, entrails, offal and all things intestinal in her work – where did this interest come from and how does it manifest itself in her work? Her answer definitely surprised me and was not what I was expecting!

In this episode Amanda prepares me a picnic to sample some of her foraged food – an offer which I couldn’t resist – although things don’t quite go according to plan, and I attempt to persuade Amanda that I have wild carrot growing in my garden.

I especially liked the way in which Amanda considers her role as an artist not so much as a creator of a work as an initiator of a process. Amanda also pointed out to me (sadly during a moment when we were not recording) that she thinks this podcast forms part of my research practice, which I had never thought of, but she is right: it is my way of learning more about the artistic process.

The sound quality in this episode is not the best in places, as our outdoor conversation takes place against a backdrop – rather fittingly, in the context of Amanda’s concerns to re-engage with community and tradition – of families enjoying an afternoon out in a shared open space.

Many thanks to Amanda for a lovely visit.

You can listen to this episode here: https://soundcloud.com/robertgood_art/amanda-couch

Next week: Egidija Čiricaitė discusses artists books and her researches into relevance theory.


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