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60 Seconds with our PROJECTS Artists – PROJECT 01: Stephen Nelson

28 March 2013 By
PROJECT 01: Stephen Nelson at 59 Central Street, London EC1V 3AF. Image: Presepe Legs, mixed media, 2012, 31 x 26.5 x 17cm
PROJECT 01: Stephen Nelson at 59 Central Street, London EC1V 3AF. Image: Presepe Legs, mixed media, 2012, 31 x 26.5 x 17cm, © the artist, photo by:Joe Plommer

How did you become an artist?
I didn’t know you could be an artist, I sort of fell into it. Taking ‘A’ levels the only thing I loved was art, then somebody mentioned doing a Foundation course for which I was accepted. I loved the experimenting and I met my first artist who was teaching, it seemed a cool life so I just kept going. Inspirational and encouraging teachers brought me here.

Where do you find the inspiration for your work?
My travels, the gutter, in the objects I collect and more recently journeys at low tide along the Thames. I am always looking.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m buying a few ready-mades and altering them. I’m in southern Italy and some of the things in the hardware store seem otherworldly to me.

If you hadn’t become an artist, what else would you be?
My careers advisor wanted me to do business studies, but I think without art I would be working in a factory, or given where I am from perhaps unemployed.

Which artists – living or dead – do you admire and why?
Hans Haake for making image and the political mean something. Simone Martini for his sensous lines, Francis Picabia for his sports cars and David Hammons because I wanna be as good as him.

Many artists have told us that encountering art in museums when they were young inspired them to become an artist. Is this true for you, and if so, can you share with us you recollections?
Going to Walker Art Gallery Liverpool with my father I wanted to own Simone Martini’s tiny, golden, shimmering and tender Christ Discovered in the Temple (1342), or make something just like it. My dad considered the Walker to be part of our Liverpool heritage, of course it holds the John Moores Painting Prize exhibition, I also saw early Richard Hamilton and Mary Martin exhibitions there. Modern and weird. It’s still one of the best museums ever.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’ve been in the wolf enclosure and been amongst the wolf pack at Longleat.

March 2013

For further information on Stephen Nelson click here