Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Q & A with Scott King

(Above image: "Pink Cher" by Scott King 2008)
Read Scott's bio here: http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/artists/scott_king.htm?section_name=new_britannia

The Rebel: Hi Scott. What is your most recent project? Can you talk a bit about that? 
Scott King: “Well, I'm working on a series of found and manipulated quotations that will take various forms - some will form the basis of a lecture-type presentation to be shown alongside an old Richard Serra work at the Contemporary Art Museum, St Louis. Some will appear as ads in magazines and as fly-posters ... amongst other things. Maybe I'll try and do a self-published book that is a kind of lecture, built on fiction but presented as fact ... something like that, I'm still working it out.
I'm also working on these photo-texts, they're kind of inspired by Victor Burgin but are ultimately quite farcical ... maybe half Victor Burgin, half Viz.”

Are there any books, records or films you'd recommend to me? 
“Yes. 'Art Works' by Scott King, published by JRP|Ringier is a 'must read' at my house ... but if that's a little too heavy for you, I'd also recommend 'A Cavalier History of Surrealism' by Raoul Vaneigem. Also, 'Miracles of Life', the JG Ballard autobiography is fantastic, it's not new, but I've just read it - it's incredible that a man of such genius can be so unfailingly modest ... it puts things in perspective somewhat. With films, I loved the 'Pusher' trilogy directed by Nicolas Winding Refn ... I lent it to a friend a year ago and although he never bothers to watch it, he never bothers to bring it back either ... but I'd recommend watching all three films in a row. With music - I saw John Maus last year on the recommendation of another friend ... he was great ... and 'How Snakes Eat', the last album by Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts is also great ... but I've lost touch with music in the last few years really, I keep thinking about getting into some serious 80's AOR ... something big and bland, I think that's next, I've just bought the Top Gun soundtrack again, it's brilliant.”

What are your views on Andy Warhol? Has your appreciation of him pretty much stayed the same over the years? What is the best thing he ever did or said?
"I think he was just, like, reaaaaally so great .... I really do - it's a very big question that Harry, it really needs an essay kind of answer ... I'm as suspicious as anyone of Art Stars because of course they are fabricated by the needs (at that time) of The Art Industry, Art Stars are always created through a collusion of dark forces, the media and monetary concerns - but I think Warhol was possibly the first to make us aware of this collusion anyway, so ...
 I'm not sure about the best thing he ever said, but my favourite story is the one where he wants some freshly squeezed orange juice so sends an assistant out to buy oranges - famously he'd always demand a receipt for anything that he paid for (to give to the IRS, thus claim back his expenditure) ... so he asked the assistant to get a receipt for the oranges, when the assistant returned she said 'But Annnnndy ... you can't claim for a dozen oranges!' - he then arranged them into a 'still life', took a polaroid of them and declared the polariod an art work .... so the oranges became a legitimate expense."

Were you glad to be in the big Saatchi show? Did it make you feel more confident about your position in the art world?
 “It was a mixed blessing, I suppose.”

When Ian Dury released the single Spastacus Autisticus he was told it was career suicide. He responded by saying "Let's kill it then." Can you relate to that way of thinking? Have you ever felt depressed that you were an artist with a career doing all the right things rather that a wild beast of the art world with cut one of his ears off and caught v.d etc
“Well, I don't think I've ever done all the right things - I seem to do all the wrong things. I don't think I have a career to kill off ... I don't always think I'm an artist. I'm very interested in doing STUFF now, I'm less interested in trying to make something that might resemble art than I am in trying to do STUFF. I've almost managed to do STUFF before (like devising the term 'Prada Meinhof' with Matt Worley, like the Earl Brutus 'Tonight You Are The Special One' lp cover). STUFF demands a broader context than that of the rarefied art world ... so along with making some things that I can believe to be Art, I'd really like to do more STUFF.”

The Explosion Point of Ideology
2008
Matchsticks and glue
172.5 x 40 x 40 cm / 67.9 x 15.7 x 15.7 in

Are you bitter about things that happened to you at school or college? Have you ever wanted there to be a public apology and/or cash sum paid out to you to compensate you for being treated badly?
 “No - I was bitter about going to college where I did as it was too near where I come from ... so I never had a real 'going to college' experience ... but I just did what I wanted at college, so don't feel the need to blame anyone else.”

Who are your peers? Which friends did you hate when they became successful?
 “I'm not sure who my peers are, I have good friends who are artists - some of whom are very successful, in fact most of who are much more successful than me. Then I have quite a lot of friends who are graphic designers ... but I don't ever talk to them about graphic design ... not in the same way artist's talk about the art world ... the graphic design world (if there is one) isn't half as interesting, in fact, socially it's non-existent I think. Art people are much more fun as they're all very competitive and two-faced, I like that ... you know where you are with a two-faced egomaniac.”

Where is a great place to have lunch?
 “Trevi on the bottom end of Holloway Road is great ... but I don't know that many places to have lunch, I was always a pub person, but that's had to be curtailed.”

(Above: "The Peace Protestors" by Scott King)

What do you love?
 “King Prawn Madras from Anglo-Asian in Stoke Newington, talking about myself, Suzuki GSX-Rs, not being overdrawn at the bank, cheese and salad cream sandwiches.”

Are you getting better as an artist?
 “Yes, definitely - I never thought I was very good - but now I think I'm about to become very good.”

Is your life getting better? 
“Yes, it is Harry - I hope so anyway.”

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