Art: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty, meaning or emotional power.
Simon Lowther – Industrial designer.
What is art to you? It is an outlet for our absurdity and hopeless questioning as to who we are, why we are here and what for. It also fulfils a primal need to create and construct and control. Despite this, art is ultimately useless (As Oscar Wilde put it). That’s not to say it does not hold value, enrich our lives, carry meaning, and tell stories.
Define and describe your art: I would define it with its title: industrial designer. So I’m not an artist, but I employ creative practices in my work nonetheless. I sketch, make models and employ 3D CAD programs.
Why this medium? I wanted to do something utilitarian and creative rather than just creative.
Does meaning have a place in your work? I don’t go out of my way to embed meaning into my design deliberately. That would be too contrived. Meaning will be inherent in a design if it has been designed well. A design also carries meaning purely by virtue of the time and place (culture) it originates from
Tattooed by himself
Tell me about the tattoo you’ve designed for yourself: It’s a very simple and small stick’n’poke tattoo of a Penny Farthing. It is the 3rd stick and poke tattoo I’ve done on myself so it’s a bit rough but I like it.
Does the tattoo have any significance/meaning? They are an object I find amusing and in a strange way beautiful. I like how utterly absurd and impractical the design is while still being a very pleasing form in its simple geometry and iconic profile. It also reminds me that people do ridiculous things.
Do you have an opinion on unoriginal and ubiquitous tattoos? When I’m on the way to work and feeling particularly misanthropic or severely hung-over or just in a bad mood I’ll arbitrarily choose things to hate. Sometimes it’s tattoos. Originality is a tenuous subject in art and especially in tattoos. For most people (excluding people from cultures with traditional tattooing) tattoos are just a way to feel better about themselves. It’s image based, and it’s about identifying with a particular milieu. It’s difficult to argue that getting a tattoo is appreciating art although I think the tattoo artists themselves can sometimes be considered artists. I can look at art or listen to music without having it painfully and permanently adhered to me.
What are your thoughts on tattoo artists and their profession vis-à-vis originality and art? Would you ever become one? I wouldn’t become one because I’m not passionate enough about tattoos and I think the noise of the guns would drive me insane. I’m sure plenty of tattoo artists are original in their work but ultimately they are not creating art for art’s sake. They are producing a product for a client, and that product needs to sell. That requires they tattoo what a customer wants and quite often their own design. A tattoo artist probably produces art some of the time while simply copy and pasting images onto people at other times.
This interview was conducted by Fareed Kaviani, as part of Artists, Tattoos, and Meaning: Pissing Ink in Duchamp’s Urinal? a feature in The Art Issue. It features an interview with Rik Lee Purchase a copy from: thingsandink.com