4SERIES 12/1 STEPHEN SHEEHAN - MA FINE ART | Art Week

4SERIES 12/1 STEPHEN SHEEHAN - MA FINE ART

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Tell us about yourself, your medium and the main focus of your practise?

I got fed up wasting my time going from job to job after leaving school so I went back to college when I was 24 to do an access course in Art and Design at Wirral Metropolitan College. I did that for two years. I felt as though I was doing something worthwhile. From there, I enrolled on the BA Fine Art course at Wirral Met. The course literally changed my life. The lecturers were immense. They opened my mind, not just to art, but to life. It was here where I started to experiment and begin doing performance work. I started taking my work outside and into the public. I used the 3 years as an opportunity to explore. After 3 years I obtained a 1st class BA HONS Degree. After my BA, I enrolled on the two-year part-time MA course at LJMU in 2014.  While there, I developed my interest in video and film. It was at LJMU where I made my first film work called Cabbage.  During the MA I was nominated amongst 50 other artists in the north of England for International showcasing, a new programme developed by the Liverpool Biennial called: Liverpool Biennial Associate Artist Programme. The programme aims to develop the careers of the chosen artists on the international stage. Only ten artists from the fifty were chosen and I was fortunately one of those 10. I graduated in November 2016 with a Distinction.

 

The mediums I use are performance, mainly public performance, film/video. The majority of my film/video work is shot in the public realm too, so the scenes themselves become micro performances. It would be fair to say that my practice operates within the public realm. It’s a more direct way to take art or ideas to people. I like the unpredictable nature of being in the public realm. In a sense, there are no rules to obey when viewing art in public and the public can be brutally opinionated, verbal or physical. There is less protection. It’s exciting. The actions play to the primitive trait of curiosity and curiosity is what entices people. People who wouldn’t have talked to each other, for what ever reason, are gathered around debating, laughing and creating a dialogue in an attempt to make sense as to what is going on in their public space. If the performance is a constant thing, it becomes the norm and loses its enticement. For me, it’s important for it to be transient as a physical presence. It has a nice relation to life. It’s here one moment and gone the next. Only the documentation or rumours keep it alive, similar to the photographs/videos of special moments or stories we create during our existence that keep us alive once we face our demise. My work portrays and comments upon the absurd, beautiful, fragile and transient nature of life, and attempts to provoke questions about the way we live; though I’m sure there is an abundance of subconscious elements creeping out amongst it all that could be interpret in a different way.  I’m happy to keep exploring those outcomes and the absurd world i’m existing in.

 

 

 

What have you been doing since graduation – where could we have seen your work, what projects have you been working on and how’re you finding life as a grad?

I’ve only been a ‘graduate’ since the end of November but everything is going good!  I have been working on new short film that should be completed in early January. The new work is called “There is a fly on my screen” (I may change the title). I like the name “There is a wasp in my room”.  There is a sense of panic and unpredictability to it.  The work is talking about the human condition and the confusion of it.  We (as a species) have either become grossly complicated and hover on the edge of an impending implosion, or we have become grossly aware of ourselves and hover on the edge of utopian breakthrough. Similar to a wasp in the room, you don’t know if it’s angry and it will sting you, or its come to say hello?  Our future all relies on the wasp in the room. That wasp could be a metaphor for something…

 

Earlier this year (2016) I completed two, one month residencies. The first residency was in New York at ALN where I made and exhibited a work called Parrot Reflection. The second residency was in Kulttuurikeskus Vanha Paukku, Lapua, Finland, where I made and exhibited a film called Behind the lights: All blonde people should be shot.  Besides the two residencies, I showed Parrot Reflection in the Liverpool Biennial, 2016 and exhibited Behind the lights: All blonde people should be shot at Griesbadgalerie in Ulm, Germany.  My most recent performance was in St Helens Town Centre. I performed a new work called A Party For A Dead Fish.

 

 

 

 

What’s next, what’ve you got in the pipeline and what new things are you working on?

I am excited for 2017! I was very honoured to have been invited to live, create and exhibit a new work in Pakistan for the first Karachi Biennial later next year.  My film Parrot Reflection will also be shown in the Karachi Biennial, but before I travel there, I travel to Armenia as an artist in residence at ACSL for 6 weeks. I have several new projects in discussions with the possibility to travel to a few other countries, but they are  premature, though I will be hopefully conforming them in the new year! Hopefully! I have recently ordered three beach balls from Amazon…and I’m teetering on the decision to by a sledgehammer.  Somethings going down.

 

 

FOR MORE STEPHENS WORK CHECK OUT www.stephen-sheehan.com

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH