I want to use this blog in some way to make it all better, slightly. I am a realist.
Interview with Richard Emslie.
T.H I haven’t worked out any questions, im not very good at preparing.
R.E its ok, we can ad lib.
T.H whats your favourite dinosaur?
R.E oh wow. erm, I don’t know what its called, but it swims. It got a really long neck, like nessie. something-opidous. I don’t know. But yeh, that one. Small head, big flippers, it swims.
T.H Is there a conviction to your interest in eastern spirituality? Or is it simply another reference for research?
R.E I’d like to think that there was. I’d like to think I’ve touched upon something, which is the beginning of something that will shape my life from now on. I think I’ve found a calmness I’ve never really had before.
T.H can you explain to me your reasoning behind the personal nature of your page in the degree show catalogue?
R.E Do you mean the dedication. there are a lot of people that I missed out. Friends family and influences…There are other things in that, like my dad and granddad’s ill health at the moment.
T.H Are you then not using the catalogue as a means to promote yourself as an artist?
R.E I never really wanted a catalogue, and I was always gong to use it for that purpose. Because without their love and support I wouldn’t be here now. There are things in my past, that…I wouldn’t actually physically be here now. It was always a way of thanking them for giving me the support that enabled me to find out what I wanted to do with my life.
T.H you have more of a past then most.
R.E As far as times concerned, definitely, yeh.
T.H what’s the title of the work?
R.E A self an centred action, on a free standing wardrobe.
T.H What’s research?
R.E what’s research!
T.H Nun chucks, meditation, zen?
R.E everything is, everything. When you’re sitting on a bus, when you’re walking through town. Falling asleep. It’s all formative. It all informs. I could be reading a Wilber smith book set in the nineteen twenties about a bloke who’s trying to fly around the world. There may be something in there that you read into some kind of philosophical thought. You can think, I understand that. I count that as research.
T.H whats your interest in philosophy?
R.E I don’t know what I’m interested in, but I’m interested in being interested in things. I’m interested in so many things, and I’m disinterested in so many things. Then again there are things that I’m disinterested in that tweak my attention. If you forced me to say something. I’d say right now I’m discovering a new way of appraising things. I think that will always be apart of me, but I know it will not always inform my practice.
R.E yeh but. At the moment the work is the action. It’s a moment-to-moment recognition of what I doing. I like to work in process because, one it gives me a kind of framework of stability, a routine to stick to. Because you’re focusing on it, whether its cutting up pieces of paper or drilling hole in wood, anything you are aware of yourself and the action that your doing. When the rule dictate that this piece will stop, the works over. What’s left is the end point, a reminder, detritus, a frozen moment in time. However you perceive that. Really I don’t care. If I’m doing anything to insight a reaction, its to interest people enough to wander why.
T.H Do you think that’s where an aesthetic concern has to happen?
R.E I think I’m doing that for me as well, I think I wander what it would look like to see a wardrobe completely full of holes. I think it would look great. I’m going to do it and see what it looks like. Because I’m making art for people. Yeh, there is a concession to make. I think the concession was the house hold object to entice them in, to create that engagement. But I don’t really mind if they don’t like it or not. It would be nice to think that they do, but I’m not thinking, ‘shit everybody’s gotta love my work’. The question they ask don’t interest me. I’m not asking any question, I’m not looking for answers.
A lot of what I’m saying, you’ll listen back and think, ‘well he’s contradicted himself there’. I think a lot of that is art, is zen, is everything. Because it’s all a paradox, everything is. Less is more, more is less. There are so many paradoxes in art, Im doing this for me. But people are going to see it, so it’s for them too. I don’t care what they think, well there is a part of me that does care.
T.H Do you think these terms like process as a throw away and easy work are born out of this place, as an institution?
R.E I think its born out of art. I think that people like labels. Its what we do, we form opinions and we label.
Can I just pull back to something you said earlier, you said something before about how it’s not clear why the work ended where it did? That point has been raised a few times with a few things I’ve done. You enter into this agreement with the object, where you are going to apply a process to you. In a way id likes to think I change the way people think about it, or would look at it. I change its visual, and that’s the begging. Its changed, so why and this that and the other. Part of that contract that you set up is that it had to stay standing. So the point I had to stop is the point It was ready to collapse. Right now, if you were to open the door the weight of the door pulling open pulls it into to half’s. There is where the titles work, because it had to be a freestanding wardrobe. Maybe I need to clarify that more. Maybe that will be the feedback I get.
How much do you think you are a product of this institution? (Nottingham Trent fine art)
That’s a really good question. IN A SENSE I’D LIKE TO THINK THAT THE UNIVERISTY IS A PRODUCT OF ME. On a superficial level, I guess I am. Because they will give me the piece of paper that says. you have come through this institution. I don’t like to think that my work is influenced by the tutors. I’d like to think that I created the influence and they’ve helped me find it. Not that they’ve steered me in a particular direction. Maybe if id have taken more onboard, and maybe if id listened to and done exactly what they said then id probably end up with a first. Well, I don’t men that in a sense that ‘oh he’s done what we’ve said so we’ll give him a first’. They just know what there talking about, when the tutors says you need to consider this aspect of your work, then you really think about what they told you to consider. Then there is this selfish part of it, I don’t like authority. I don’t know why I said that thing about the university being a product of me. That was a bullshit throwaway statement. You can edit that bit out.
T.H Its going to be in capitals.