Aspex Gallery, The Vulcan, PO1 3BF
Monday 01 October 2018 – Thursday 31 October 2019
Image: Samuel Bassett, Hanging Out Down Hawkes Point, acrylic and ink on panel, 200cm x 215cm.
Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. February's Artist of the Month is Samuel Bassett.
Hello, what do you do?
I make a lot of work with drawing and painting at the heart of it I reckon, but I love making and attempting, questioning. I’m just open to all ways of communicating so, I ‘do’ anything I need to. I make.
Where are you based?
I live in St. Ives and have a studio at Porthmeor.
Where do you work?
I work in my studio or the house or wherever I can really. When I first started to really make work, I made it in my parents' garage, much to their delight. I used to work on the train too as I would use it a lot to get to Truro. That’s when I started scratching into Perspex and making that sort of stuff, stuff I could carry in my pocket and just add to. But, at the minute I am set up and making work across the two spaces. I try and save the cleaner stuff for home as I was ruining the house.
What’s the best thing about the area you live/work in?
I love where I am, I’ve always loved the town, Penwith and its people. People and community help me a lot. I work above the net lofts where some friends work, setting nets and making a lot noise in general, coming into my studio and telling me I am getting worse and the best thing is my studio floor. The Sloop's close, I love the smokies there. I can walk to the studio plus it's next to the beach. I’m lucky and thankful for what I have and the studios have more events on now with artists talks, performances and general activity. It's great as it gets people out of their spaces and talking.
What does 'success' mean to you?
I don’t know so I Googled it, it says ‘the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.’ I agree with that. I like getting stuff done. Success is being able to fail, success is to keep learning.
Do you earn a living from making art? If not, or only partially, what else do you do?
Yeah, I taught for a bit, loved working with the students but generally just making my own at the minute.
What makes a good artwork?
I don’t know but I know I connect with some things over others. As long as people are making art, I think that’s a good thing. I can just tell when it has worth, to me personally. I like what I like for reasons that I maybe don’t understand. Some things just tug on your heart strings or slap you like a salmon around the face, I like that art. Art that has soul, something very human and is conceptually sound as well as visually interesting. That’s just my opinion. Art that’s made with the hand, the eye and the heart.
What have you been up to recently?
I had a fun one last year starting off with a solo show at Joseph Clarke's Anima-Mundi Gallery in St. Ives. It was made up of images and work that pulled together ideas and from local traditions, feelings on community, isolation, displacement and my personal research into painting and just recording really. This lead into a project at Newlyn Gallery as part of The Palace of Culture and I met some great people over that month. I had small shows in Germany and Copenhagen and was part of the What Is This Place painting exhibition at Newlyn, curated by Blair Todd. I had some work at Falmouth Gallery for their Outspoken show and finished the year with a show in Brisbane Australia. I didn’t attend which was the worst bit. I could do with going away but I don’t like leaving the studio that much. So, I haven’t applied for residencies or stuff before...I'm looking into that as seeing some different things would be great. I have drawers of ideas for works so should be able to pull together a proposal or two. Just need to sit down and do the office stuff I suppose.
What have you got coming up?
I’m currently working on a private commission and am just spending a couple of months in the studio. I have some new materials and some animation equipment to play with. I'm taking part in an exhibition for the human rights charity Reprieve soon. Reprieve's founder Clive Stafford-Smith is a human rights lawyer and represents multiple past and present inmates in Guantanamo Bay prison. Some of the inmates are allowed basic art materials, which they use to create works about their internment, and the justice system in general. Because of Guantanamo's strict censorship, none of this artwork is allowed out, and no photos may be taken of it. Clive has seen the works and written detailed descriptions of them, and we'll use those to make works inspired by them. Some great people are involved so I'm excited to be part of that. I have a new series of paintings on the go too.
www.samuel-bassett.com (under construction)
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