Origin: Isle of Wight
Education: BA in Philosophy (Cardiff), MA in Philosophy and PhD in Aesthetics (Nottingham)
Why do you do what you do?After I left academia, I wanted to find a way of applying philosophy to real-world problems. Since my field was aesthetics, I thought art criticism was the obvious route. So I set out on a mission to extrapolate modern and contemporary art in philosophical terms, which is quite different from art historical approaches. I think it gives a deeper insight into the meaning of art.
Could you describe your style and how it developed? I’m acutely aware that my style is unusual. On the one hand, I do not shy away from critical judgement, and on the other hand, it takes the form of a narrative as if criticism is a story. My style developed out of a desire to capture the experience of art in literary terms and a need to philosophically capture the essence of value as something that is absolute and yet felt rather than codified.
Where do you get inspiration from? Aside from the art I see, which inspires me to work at all, my philosophical inspiration is the German tradition of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer, Heidegger, as if art is some consolation for our being thrown in to the cruel theatre of life!
What is the best part about working within the creative industries? The people and the parties.
What do you wish you knew about your business before you got started? I wish I had known that the artworld is adverse to criticism. It wants everyone to say that everything is wonderful all the time. Therefore, you can never say anything negative, so we end up living in this disingenuous fantasy land. You can only ever say what artists, galleries, editors want to say and not wat you really think. It breaks my heart.
Has your style develop/change over the time being active? If yes, how? I don’t know as if my style has changed, but it has certainly improved. I am more concise than I have ever been. I am increasingly committed to, and able to articulate, a sense of objectivity.
Who would you like to work with? No one in particular. Anyone who will publish the book I’m writing!
What is your idea of success? Diminishing insecurity.
Is there a message that you are trying to portray through your work? I want to shut out the noise of romanticism and mythology, and illustrate how art is pure aesthetic experience. And that experience is of things-in-the-world, in a Heideggerian sense – it’s not magic or mysterious, it’s just stuff, made by people for other people to engage with. And sometimes it entails capitalism and celebrity as essential elements of the experience. If you try to treat contemporary art as some kind of bohemian, romantic product of subjectivity, you’re missing the point and living in a dream world. I want to try to break down that way of thinking. It’s more Dionysus than Apollo, as Nietzsche would say.
Do you believe it is important to raise artistic awareness in your country? In the UK we like art, but it is not well understood. I think it is important to raise awareness of the diversity of contemporary art but also to teach people new ways of experiencing it.
In your opinion, how important is it to culturally educate through art? To understand a culture is to understand people, and therefore the importance of educating through art cannot be underestimated.