Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF
Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019
Image: Alexander Stevenson, The Mechanical and Chemical Processes of 16mm (2016) 16mm film.
Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. April's Artist of the Month is Alexander Stevenson.
Hello, what do you do?
I make artworks, journeys and films.
Where are you based and how long have you been there?
I'm currently based in Bristol. I moved from Glasgow about 3 years ago and before that was in Nottingham.
Where do you work? Tell us a bit about your workspace and work habits
I used to say that I collect collectives! Since arriving in Bristol I've joined Bristol Experimental Expanded Film, Interval performance collective and set up an ongoing group residency project on Orkney; all while continuing to run Unit 7- a studio collective in Glasgow. So I'd say my practice is quite social and responsive. I also have a studio at Spike Island in the sculpture area which is full of old costumes and props from past projects, and currently a huge wooden construction that i'm making into a spherical stage/sculpture.
What’s the best thing about the area you live and work in?
Bristol and the South West just seem incredibly generous and inclusive, especially the art festivals.
What does 'success' mean to you?
I suppose it means being invited to do things, rather than always having to apply! That said, most of my projects are self-initiated and I kind of like being in that independent position.
Do you earn a living from making art?
Yes. I've tried to reduce the amount of things I do for free. It used to be more than half of my time which isn't sustainable in the long term. Mostly, I earn a living from self-generated projects where I seek public funding (arts councils, trusts & foundations, local government, partnerships with institutions etc) with the odd commission here and there. Regional festivals are also a big thing for me since arriving in the South West.
What have you been up to recently?
I'm very proud of a dance film I created last year, my one and only work on 16mm film. It involved translating incredibly technical information (the mechanical and chemical processes of 16mm) into dance movements.
Over the past two years I've also been undertaking residencies on Orkney with a group called the Odysseans. This project started because I wanted to have a residency at one of the Stevenson lighthouses (I have a tenuous family connection!), and ended up with me placing myself and four other artists on islands all across the archipelago in strange and interesting situations.
What have you got coming up?
We're finally going to show some of the outcomes of Odyssean at Hestercombe in Somerset this December which I'm really excited about. I’m going to show a video projected into the interior of a huge ocean-going buoy, hence my studio being taken up with a huge wooden stage construction!
I'm also Visiting Fellow at DCRC at UWE, where I’m looking for creative ways to translate visual aberrations on digital cameras into theatre or visual art. It's still early days but I’m looking to create elaborate sets and costumes that effectively break digital cameras!
Born: Maidenhead, UK
Alexander Stevenson is an independent artist working on commissions in the public realm, within international festivals, self-initiated projects and with contemporary galleries. In his practice, he mines information using processes usually associated with anthropologists, historians and researchers to create artworks, journeys and films. Recent commissions include: The Mechanical & Chemical processes of 16mm, a 16mm dance film for The Centre for Moving Image Research Bristol and Rogue Studios, Manchester; Quilt Cowboy, an exhibition and film, commissioned by Situations for The American Museum in Britain, Bath; and Odyssean, an artist residency in North Ronaldsay Lighthouse, Orkney Isles. He is currently Visiting Artist at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, Bristol.
Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.
Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network