1) How did you become involved in creating art and at what point did you realise you wanted to make art your career?
I began making art like many children do by drawing cartoons and the like in the playground. Everyone can make art and most of us do when we are little. Somehow that gets knocked out of us as we grow up.
For me all was well and I enjoyed drawing until I was told “I was doing it wrong”, in a formal art class at 11. It doesn't take much to extinguish creativity, its a fragile thing , so I stopped until I was in my late teens.
At this time I was doing “A” levels, none of which were creative and I failed spectacularly and wandered into the world of dead end jobs . I ended up working on the oil rigs cooking. The shifts were 2 weeks on and two weeks off so I would work, bring back a bunch of money, get high, drink and make art. After a few years of this I went back into formal art education . By this stage I kind of figured this is what I do i.e. make art .
It wasn't so much as a career choice as an addiction, the challenge was how to pay the bills while making art.
Seven years later I emerged and set up a studio . I was selling fine sculptural pieces through galleries and art fairs globally and in the background experimenting with new concepts and the idea of working with content through imagery . It was a reinvention process from which the series on books evolved
2) Much of your work is done on sheet music or book pages. Can you explain the significance of this?
I like books, they have always been in my life. A few years ago I thought they were going to disappear but it turns out that because of the kindle and other hi tech gadgets they've become more popular. There’s something special about the qualities of an old book , the obvious aging , the stains , even the smell. Then there's the democracy of it, we all have books and they have a cultural significance. Tearing a page out of a book and using it is an act of creative vandalism. When I overlay an image onto a page it always relates somehow to the text.
3) Humour and double entendre seem to be an integral part of your practice. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Humour certainly. Art has many functions, it can be used as decoration, something to match your curtains, it can also be something to make you smile and maybe think about things.
I feel the stance an artists takes is important. Creating beautiful objects for very rich people to trade and use as status symbols is one thing but art can have a role beyond this. We live in a society, a place where we have beggars on our streets obviously in need of mental health and social care, while our elected government are making cuts in these areas and getting pay increases themselves. Don't you find this just a little crazy?
4) Do you have any future projects lined up you can share with us?
I’m involved with a project for the Alzeimer's society. Its a portrait of a famous composer with a motion device placed close by so that a 10 second snippet of music is played as the picture is observed. If you’d like to see how this develops feel free to follow me on facebook .https://www.facebook.com/orson.kartt
Have you always been an artist or was there a jump between your daily work to your artist profile all along the way? Like for example were you working in publication field or something like that?
I have always been an artist .... I was taught to draw by a guy in the school playing field when I was about 7 ...I used to love drawing until I went to “Big School” at the age of 11 and was told by the art teacher I was doing it wrong. Creativity can so easily be destroyed. I didn't dare do anything really creative again until I was in my early 20’s .. I got to art school at 25 and since then have been making things...
You have a statement in your web page about how you perceive art and on that statement there is part that says: "A silent smile that says, "ah"." Actually that was what I felt when I saw your work. Since you say you spend much time exploring and researching as you do making, how does the process work, you get an idea and begin looking for the right material or you see the material and begin looking for the idea, for example like the insomnia: Rust never sleeps
Where do ideas come from is a very good question and would take an age to answer. In short though being an artist is I believe about seeing . Seeing things in the world around us and seeing things in the minds eye. Asking questions , so the work becomes an observation of the universe we live in. Both the physical one around us and the internal one which is always trying to make some sense of it all. The piece “Rust never sleeps” came about due to loving the quality of the material. The texture, the multitude of colour and sense of warmth that sometimes happens when steel oxidizes and changes from being a strong supportive material . This beauty is so often overlooked in so many aspects of our lives. So in brief the idea came from loving something and wanting to share that viewpoint .
Why do you have count down to your death? Is it because according to the nature of art everything has an expiration date?
Science tells us that the nature of our lives are finite . My personal countdown was calculated using family and personal health records and lifestyle history
It is quite shocking to be presented with this data, a bit scary and yet strangely liberating . It is a very real , bitter/sweet perspective. A confrontation of reality.
"Post Irony exists in the aesthetic lineage of Dadaism and Surrealism" you say that your work has been described as post ironic and therefore Dadaist and Surrealist. In your own words how can you describe your work?
Art can be used as a tool to confront reality I like to think I work in this way.