“If death is the end. Then art is the means to the end.”
Art materials: Acrylic, water color, ink, crayon, marker, pen, glue, paper, canvas, wood, cardboard, spray paint, whatever I can find.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Narcossist. I live in New York City. Born in London. I’ve been creating art my entire life. But painting is a relatively new medium to me. I have blue eyes, prescriptions to two anti-depressants and have been sober for about six weeks.
How did you come up with the name “Narcossist”?
As I got older (I’m 30), my self-awareness grew and my depression got worse. To the point that I didn’t want to live anymore. And that’s when I realized that this self-indulgent behavior with drugs and alcohol was pure narcissism. I needed to stop being obsessed with my own existence; stop looking inwards all the time with drugs, pills, cigarettes and booze. Hence the name.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Inspiration comes from the people I look up to, things I despise, and my painfully deep empathy for animals. Kurt Cobain’s lyrics always left a deep impression on me; visually visceral, effortlessly tackling dark, intimate subject matters with a cheeky grin. Maynard James Keenan, too, manages to broach morbid subject matters in beautiful and humorous ways. I strive for this in my art – wrapping deep and dark emotions in a child-like innocence. Everything inspires me into overdrive, to the point that my brain crashes like a shitty desktop computer with too much 90’s porn downloaded on the hard drive. I have this romantic fascination for the world around me. And a lustful curiosity about life and death. Or mollusks.
Tell us about your creative process.
I start by creating shapes on the canvas with water. I let them evolve organically, imperfectly, by letting my wonky floor, gravity and my intentionally random flicks of agua to create a shape. Sometimes I slightly nudge these shapes in certain directions to suit my creative intentions. Then I start dropping the acrylic inks into these morphing shapes of water that still float above the paper/canvas. I let the colors flirt, mingle and merge in unpredictable and sometimes awkward ways. I follow this with chaotic flicks of water-color. Then I let it dry for one or two days. I live with the piece. If I start working without knowing what animal or monster I want to create, I need to look at the natural shapes in as many ways possible to see which one will be most interesting. Once the main shapes are in place, and the details of the monsters/animals are in a good spot, I start to attack the paintings with language, rips, splashes and spill.
I only have two rules:
1. Nothing is sacred – so never feel precious about any part of the piece. At any given moment I have to be prepared to completely change it, rip it up, cover it, and fuck around with it.
2. Be vulnerable – this is articulated in my use of language in my art. Every piece has words, names, sentences, metaphors, poems or prose that are revealing an intimate secret, or communicating something important to someone important. This is never explicitly, but if you look long enough you may start to see.
How did you come up with your two rules? And how does that feeling of vulnerability influence your work?
I think I came up with these two rules as a reaction to working in advertising. With art, I’m my own client. I don’t need everything to be perfect. I don’t need the logo to be 12 pixels bigger. I don’t need the messaging to be rooted in a bullshit strategy that no one will give a fuck about. No one ever looked at an ad and thought. “that brand totally gets me as a 21-29 year old ambitious female from a liberal background and entrepreneurial attitude to life – I think I may buy their conditioner after all and use the hashtag to tweet at a bot that responds in my tone of voice.”
In art, I celebrate imperfection. And if a decision sucks away any humanity out of it then I need to stop myself. Rip it up, start again, spill hair dye or coffee across it. It needs to be vulnerable, susceptible to criticism, potentially shocking or offensive or traumatic. Because that’s the way the world is.
What is the story behind your artwork, if any?
My favorite answer to this question is to tell the viewer to make their own mind up. But the truth is, it’s part of an eternal effort of mine to use creativity to appease the child in me. A child that still sees monsters and huge animals in his dreams and fantasies. A child that has no friends in the real world, so he befriends the monsters and animals in his imagination. So in a lot of my work I’m expressing this tension between the parallel worlds of childhood and adulthood. They coexist but are barely bridged. And when they do, it can be traumatic.
It celebrates my struggles, my madness, my mental health problems, and my love of life as an innocent child. It’s incredibly cathartic, and nothing gives me more creative satisfaction than when someone tells me that my work resonates with them. It’s a beautiful way to connect with people. And my art is no longer just about me, but it’s definitely all of me in my art.
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