The British graffiti artist on his new San Francisco expo and how London's science museums inspired him
'Wonder Club' is an exploration of an artist's dreams. It's a show which allows Sickboy to fuse and explore his wide variety of interests and inspirations, ranging from anatomical studies to comic books and fairytales. The British graffiti artist has been let loose like Charlie in the Chocolate Factory, and at this San Francisco expo you're given a taste of the unique and diverse detailes in his colourful mixed media paintings and installations. 'Wonder Club' is a surreal place where anything is possible, and a club that will make you want to join-up to enjoy the element of intrigue and surprise.
My artwork has become so much a part of my life that the evolution of my life and what I paint is intertwined to the point that I don't focus on one specific topic or how it will be perceived
Dazed Digital: Tell me about 'Wonder Club'. What is the concept behind this body of work?
Sickboy: It's a show about dreams, about me relaxing my artistic sensibilities and revisiting my childhood to get in touch with a more impulsive creativity. When I was 18, 19 friends and I would paint all night until eight in the morning, then draw in the morning, just make the freshest shit, all drawing on top of each other and being experimental. As you get older and involved with galleries you refine yourself. For this show I wanted to leave that behind a bit. I wanted a more relaxed output.
DD: You explore a lot of ideas in this show, is it fair to say that you are not scared to push the boundaries when it comes to experimenting with topics?
Sickboy: I live in London and there is a whole wealth of nature and science museums. Every week I'd make sure to go to one. Walking through the Hunterian Museum you can see albatross heads, tiny foetuses, some quite dark stuff... all these models made to study anatomy during the renaissance before we properly understood it. It gave me a new idea about how to go about portraits, not just capturing the face but the inner workings of mankind, the complexities of the brain and physical body.
DD: Can you tell me about the intricate anatomical studies?
Sickboy: My artwork has become so much a part of my life that the evolution of my life and what I paint is intertwined to the point that I don't focus on one specific topic or how it will be perceived. I try to keep it all natural. It's all interconnected. Looking at the human body, looking at how we interact, essentially art is created by trying to learn about myself and the world... life is always the focus.
It's a show about dreams, about me relaxing my artistic sensibilities and revisiting my childhood to get in touch with a more impulsive creativity
DD: Can you tell me about the 'Artists Refuge'?
Sickboy: I suppose I'm trying to create a resting place. I wanted to have a representation of a personal space with the exhibit. There's a video with Viktor Vauthier that is an essential part of this. I was followed by a photographer for twenty four hours and all of those moments are divulged within the space.
DD: How important is it for you to create an interactive show?
Sickboy: I like to bring my paintings to life, so when you come into the exhibit you can see the painting as a 2D piece, but also see the idea extended into a 3D environment, so I'm not just leaving my vocabulary in the work but making small talk with the viewers.
DD: The press release states the show is 'uncurated' by Eine, what does this mean?
Sickboy: Eine is a close friend from way back and we've always wanted to work together. His affiliation with White Walls allowed that to come together and bring us into a loose collaboration.
Sickboy's Wonder Club: An Exhibition of Dreams, White Walls, 835 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94109, March 17 - April 7, 2012
Text by Helen Soteriou
Images by Joanna Dudderidge