Exploring the Shadows with Ian Wadsworth
When we first saw Ian's work we were so impressed we arranged a meet straight away.
With his art being quite somber but with amazing depth, we weren't sure what to expect his own image would be? A gothic outfit perhaps with ultra-high steel clad boots?
No...our imagination was far to overactive, a trilby, a smile, and an infectious enthusiasm about the Darker side of art...
RD: Hey Ian, tell us about yourself please dude, where are you from and does the place you live reflect in your art?
Ok, I’m an Artist from a place called Winshill which is a sort of ‘limbo land’ on the Derbyshire side of Burton. My Artwork fuses Street Art with Gothic Art and has a raw scratchy edge to it. The place I live definitely comes out in my work. It has a gritty, quirky, vibe to it. You have to be streetwise and have strength of mind to survive it. There is an honesty in the place I come from and an honesty in the people who live here. I hope this comes out in my work
RD: What forms of media have you experimented with and which ones have you decided to concentrate on?
Phew! I have experimented with acrylics, oil, photography, video, digital, surfwax - really anything I could get my hands on. I have had some really disastrous moments with some experiments but it’s part of the process. The mediums I have decided to concentrate on are spray paints, ink and digital I love the raw, scratchy, dusty elements of these mediums and digital is just a no brainer, especially when it comes to self-publishing.
RD: Are you a self-taught artist and who/what made you decide to take up drawing?
I’m mainly self taught. I did train and work as a Graphic Designer but my main job involved laying out brochures, and generally getting told to make it blue or bolder.
I have been drawing since I was a child, however, it didn’t really start going properly until I was a teenager which, in all honesty, was prompted by a druggy haze. I feel that if that hadn’t happened I probably would have stuck to a conventional life path.
RD: Your work seems to reflect the Dark Side of illustration, what is the reason for this?
Well partially it’s because I love horror movies, and ghost stories, but also it’s a visual theme that jars with people. It’s not something that can be easily absorbed into popular culture. I feel it’s reactionary. There is only so much glossy pop culture you can take before you have to react.
What inspired you to take the plunge and do the first one?
The first one came out of a need to change or to do something with my life. I realized I wanted to target and document the things which have influenced me and my artwork. I also wanted to introduce a playful element to it. That first book was the easiest. The next one was really painful to do. The Time Gambler was a graphic novel and graphic novels are incredibly difficult. I ended up doing 600 drawings and feeling physically ill from it.
RD: Which drawing are you most proud of and tell us why.
That’s really tricky. There is a special page in The Time Gambler which gets to me. It’s the third page. Something different happens here. The images and the words suddenly start to merge into one. It is about someone trying to recall a memory of a lover who is no longer with them. The sequence works really well. You never quite see the other persons face. It’s almost like you’re starting to forget what that person looks like. I think that, as a page, it works. It involves the viewer; you become the person trying to recall the memory.
RD: If you could re-live a moment in your life and change it, what would it be and how would you change the outcome?
I would have left London earlier. London was a great place to go and party but not such a good place if you’re skint. London always prides itself on being the Capital of Art but I remember a weird moment in London when I went to see a movie called Dead Man’s Shoes. Everyone in London was raving about it. I sat down watched it and suddenly had a dawning that I recognized the main actor and the locations. It was home! I had moved away to far flung places around the world to be inspired by creative, edgy stuff and all the time it was there under my nose. I should have respected my roots more, got on the train straight away, and gone back home.
RD: We hear you have an exhibition coming up at The Brewhouse in Burton, UK how's the prep going for that and what can we expect from the show.
It is stressful but exciting at the same time. This will be my first solo exhibition so I have to be aware of ‘over ambition meets practicalities’. I have done exhibitions before but usually with groups of people. The load is definitely a lot lighter if others are involved. At the moment I’m trying to concentrate on the promotion. Everything else is kind of ready - a few tweaks are needed but that is always the case. This exhibition is definitely going to have a dark, raw atmosphere. My work lends itself to that. There will also be some variations in mediums with underlying meanings attached to the work. Almost like a good movie with lots of twists.
RD: That's ace man, great to meet you, see you at your show on the 16th of April.
For more on Ian...go here.