Alex Buchan | Issue Nine Interview

December 5, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and your work

 

Recently graduated, I have decided to recluse myself from the real world for a while longer whilst I continue to develop my art and my work. My background is fairly normal. Grew up in an isolated house next to a field of hairy cows, in a small village in Norfolk, UK. I started my journey into art through research into very early video and animation, and I distinctly remember feeling a significant moment when watching Georges Méliès’ “A Trip to the Moon (1902)” that made me want to explore interactions between object and the viewer, and how a visual can affect lives and society. I started to explore philosophers and thinkers, and my curious mind was captured.

My work has developed into a minimalist approach mainly through a constant analysis of the world around me. Including my personality, how I interact with others, how things affect other things. My work aims to do exactly that. I want my work to be viewed and interpreted in one’s own way. I am merely creating a presentation for you to observe or ignore.

 

What do you think draws artists towards a more minimalist approach?

 

Minimalism surrounds us. The presence of minimalism, minimalist design - minimality is everywhere. This is because the philosophy of minimalism allows for quicker access, instantaneousness, and much faster response between object and viewer, which aligns nicely with our accelerated culture (Apple’s design philosophy is a prime example). This can be applied to most things - UI design, our dialogues, our buildings and architecture, our hardware, etc. It allows users to most quickly go through that method of processing the information presented before them and then reacting to it - because of its inherit simplicity. Many of us are drawn to many aspects of minimalism. It’s a counter-culture movement. It seems to fight against our consumer culture, and has many connections with spirituality, calmness, zen. Minimalists highly curate their consumption choices. Nature, peace, time, and space are now sought over social shortages, as Baudrillard stated in 1970. Minimalism’s desire for openness and zen then becomes a beneficial and desired asset, and I believe this is where connections to high wealth can be made. The minimalist approach, as well as it’s journey to people, is a complicated and very varied one.

 

Tell us about the themes you pursue in your work

 

A lot of my work has been from personal exploration, building on themes that I have found within myself and my life around me. As someone trying to make sense of this world, I have used art as a platform to express my perspectives. I find great pleasure in making people question their reality around them, in any sense. Questions, messages, thoughts, ideas, inspiration, feelings, anything that touches someone closer than their everyday interactions, I love that. The only other way to touch someone that deeply is to first establish a full understanding of that person, and this would be near enough impossible to achieve with more than a few people. This is why I love art, I love people appreciating newness in their reality. 

 

A lot of my digital work, especially my output on instagram, also involves exposing what’s behind the data that we see, through the use of glitch and corruption. The internet has accelerated modes of communication and information, and changed human consciousness and the world in so many ways. I try to remind users of the building blocks of everything we see through our screens. I think this reminder is important, as our digital realms can damage our perspective on our real lives.

I guess I am attempting to bring my perspectives of the world together in one defined and recognisable theme & aesthetic. My minimalistic approaches exposing the hidden layers of our realities, through subtle abstraction and corruption. This may be what I am truly working towards.

 

What art do you most identify with?

 

I would have to say minimalism, as this best aligns with my personality and who I am. I am minimalistic with my appearance, always avoiding logos and brands and opting for plain-coloured clothing. Only ever white, black, and beige. Minimalism is a very non-offensive, passive art philosophy. Clean, non-threatening, visually non-complicated, open - presenting nothing but the object for the viewers full interpretation. Within social interactions, I find myself as more of the listener rather than the talker. I find contradictions within the art philosophy that I can relate to back in my personality. The power of the interaction is in the viewer, and my social thought-pattern follows this.

 

More specifically though, I always see fragments of my imagination in the minimalist works of Rothko. One day I will visit those monolithic black paintings at the Rothko Chapel in Texas. Lee Ufan is another artist I adore to bask in. My mind was able to be captured in comfort when in the presence of “Dialogue - Silence (2013)”, appreciating and observing the space, coupled with subtle textures allowing an edge of detail into the scene. Works such as these, where I can identify my mind and being in the work, create such dimension for thought to wander through.

 

Is there something you couldn't live without in your studio? what is your most essential tool?

 

Something I couldn’t live without in my studio/working space? Most definitely natural light, be it sunlight or candle flame. I need natural, moving shadows. I need to look through a window and see a sky. I feel a strong connection with nature and always want to be reminded of that.

My most essential tool however, would be my sketchbook. I have a super nice Tibetan sketchbook at the moment, found at a market in Norwich and I love it. I almost answered this question with “a pen”, but my sketchbook is more important - it goes with me everywhere I go, and i’m always jotting down notes or drawings, and with no pen, I can still go about sticking things in there, whatever it may be at the time. I love daydreaming so ideas and inspiration come very sporadically.

 

What sense of feeling do you want your artworks to convey?

 

When people first view my work, especially my installations and sculptures, I want viewers to become aware of the space around the object and around themselves. After that moment, it is totally dependent on the specific project in terms of desired conveyed feelings. I want my work to be a place of exploration. You may feel calmness, you may feel anxiety. The main goal I want to achieve is a sense of consideration from the viewer. If I have allowed a place of thinking, if I have created a space of questioning, then for me, my work is successful.

 

What do you feel the role of artists and photographers is in society?

 

Artists, photographers, creatives, thinkers, believers, craftsmen, designers - the pursuit of contemplation, exploration, exposure, and imagination will always be a vital driving force in humans, as well as a recorded memory of the current ideologies of the work’s time.

We need critique, we need output, we need difference and we need creative endeavour - the basis of our culture and thinking rests on it. The idea that something is created and has value without being a practical tool to the benefit of mankind’s survival, instead catering to something deeper inside humans, is a testament to creative power. In any respect, creativity breeds innovation, as well as comforts our soul.

 

Are there any upcoming exhibitions or projects in the works?

 

I have just finished working with experimental musician Shiva Fesheraki for her track “Liquid Pyramid”, a glitchy and rapid sensory audiovisual mindf*ck. We started working together after I released a series of animations for Edited Arts earlier this year under my “digital artist” alias, alx000000. This was a super fun project I had almost free reign over, interpreting Shiva’s crazy and convoluted sound patterns into my own visual construction (or de-construction). It’s been released via Clash Mag and FACT. As well as this, I am currently in the preliminary planning stages of my first solo show next year! It will be hosted in the studios of Dot Athena, taking place in the first half of 2020. This will be a presentation of my reflections and development of myself and my work since moving back to my home county and finishing university. Following minimalist themes, I am experimenting more with subtle abstraction and deviation, something I’ve always want to incorporate in my minimalist approaches. I don’t expect this show to be the springboard into bringing my work and myself into the public eye though. I’m not ready for this stage. I feel as though much more personal development and learning needs to occur before I can truly tackle this world in my own way. I’ve also been creating a Zine with my images and writings, hinting and discussing at a number of issues, ranging from politics to abstract, nonsensical imagery. I’m not sure when my first one will be finished, and I have no idea where it’s going to go. I might try and have a few copies for sale at my local pub first. We’ll see.

 

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