Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Personal View

by Melanie Sims, writer and photographer

How did you and Stuart meet?

I met Stuart around thirty three years ago through a music festival in Dundee. It was a get together in a Dundee curry house that comes to mind. When he moved back to Glasgow from Aberdeen a couple of years later we got to know each other better though our mutual enthusiasm for music, art and inevitably curries.

What were your first impressions of his art?

I'd not known a 'real' artist until I met Stuart! As I got to know his work I was immediately struck by the depth and consistency of focus in his etchings which impressed me greatly. His art moved me. It was like discovering another world that I had not been aware of. It also opened my eyes to art in general and his work became a way by which I engaged with, and reviewed other work.

What are the elements in Stuart's work that resonate particularly with you?

Stuart's work connects with me in quite a powerful way. I think there is an honesty and directness that is rare. There is also a powerful depth of meaning in the art he produces. Stuart's strong beliefs and his stance on world issues are communicated in many subtle ways. They are revealed and developed further as you spend time with his art.  His technical strength also brings another dimension to the themes he explores – 

some of the minute details in his works are truly mind boggling! 

When did you begin to collaborate? What form did that collaboration take?

We collaborated musically in the late 1980’s when, along with Carol Moore, we formed 'The Moors'. Stuart was a fantastic bass player and writing and performing with him was a privilege and inspiration. In the years since we have continued to collaborate. An example is the collection of sounds that Stuart brought back from Jerusalem that I used to inspire and incorporate into a piece of music called Dreaming of Jerusalem. This in turn inspired a video piece using his photography from Israel. Stuart has presented this multimedia work as part of his artist’s talks in a number of places, including Jerusalem when he returned for a residency last year. 

So his work has influenced your music?

His approach to the creative process is inspirational. He tackles sometimes difficult issues, but always with grace and style, and the results are often breath taking. It has encouraged me not to shy away from challenging myself and to push boundaries.

What resonance does his work continue to have in your life and music?

Stuart has a great quality as a collaborator and his approach is to continue asking questions, seeking and exploring options long after most of us would have given up. His work and approach demonstrates a real zest for art, and life, and I've found that pushes me to strive just a little bit harder to achieve the best I can across my music and the collaborations I engage in.

Interview from the Reason or Revelation solo exhibition catalogue. 
Download the catalogue free.