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Q&A
Dex, let’s imagine we are sitting in a café, when you look upon the
street, can you describe your external reality— ho...
like a drug, an addiction. It’s everything. I couldn’t imagine my life without
creating art.
How does painting bring your ...
are being remixed again with paint. So a kind of analogue to digital and then
back to analogue.
Adapting your work, as you...
Sometimes I will have a title before a painting, or the painting can be interfered with
by the music I am listening to at ...
Elizabeth Sadoff Art Advisory
526 West 26th Street, Suite 303
New York NY 10001
646.823.4454 | esadoff.com
Designed & Crea...
Sésame
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Sésame

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Opening the door and taking you behind the scenes to share insights into how creative people see the world, and how they come to know the rules, break them and use the process to evolve their work, and their life. The inaugural edition of Sésame features UK artist, Dex Hannon, whose work is sold worldwide and featured in many books and magazines.

Published in: Business

Sésame

  1. 1. Q&A Dex, let’s imagine we are sitting in a café, when you look upon the street, can you describe your external reality— how you see the world? Everything becomes something else. The building, the street light, where these cross or connect, I look at, not the buildings and street signs, but the shapes that form in the spaces between and draw those— it changes the scene. The picture in front of me is something else. I am always looking at what it can be, building up a story, inventing a person’s narrative, why they are carrying that newspaper and not another, what makes them, them. What inspired you to become an artist? Ever since a child I’ve been drawing. I used to read the science fiction comic ‘2000AD’ and would draw, sketch, in pen or pencil, the characters from it, all of which felt very structured and safe— I worked in a very controlled way, same as the comics. There was fear of going on and using paint. Later on in college I started to change the way I thought, I started to think “that is what it is—what else could it be?” This questioning saw me begin letting going of the lines and I’d look at the shapes in between and drew those. Some 15 years ago I began working on canvas for the first time, and this saw me loosen up even further as a creative person. As I started to realize my work could have more freedom, my imagination was let loose. I realized I can change what the world looked like through art. It is where the line in my email signature comes from, “the world is a broken toy, fix it up the way you want it to be.” What drives you to create the work that you’re doing and keep going? As a kid, you want to be the greatest artist. You want to be something bigger than you are, continually pushing yourself. As you get older you realize there is no greatest, you can only to be the greatest version of yourself. Today, if I don’t paint, create something artistic I become intolerable— it’s
  2. 2. like a drug, an addiction. It’s everything. I couldn’t imagine my life without creating art. How does painting bring your unique talents to life? In what way does it give you personal fulfilment or a sense of purpose? People can be closed off as they become older. They hold things in, not expressing things as they would do as children. Artists, writers have the ability to bring out those things some may bottle up, to make something from those feelings, bringing some part of them to life—the talent is the ability to translate that ‘something within us’ into something physical. At times this can require extreme measures. When creating the first five works of Evil Jesus, a collection which reflects a dark part of my life that I had to release, I starved for 5 days— nothing to drink, no rest or sleep nor sustenance. To draw out such raw emotions, I needed to be in a more open state, a state of hallucinating. Every piece has a dark part of me inside it. Today, I feel lucky to be able to express purely, finding creating extremely cathartic, however, there is a downside. Recently I was on a train, surrounded by people, crying my eyes out as I was trying to finish typing a very sad story. I could feel the deep sadness of both characters— it was so hard to keep it reigned in, to see…. My current work creates a feeling of joy, which I want to continue, hence I am continuing to rework the pieces, extending the sense of emotion. To ‘remix’ the original painting and digitally change it. Now these digital works
  3. 3. are being remixed again with paint. So a kind of analogue to digital and then back to analogue. Adapting your work, as you mentioned from drawing, sketching with pens to painting on canvas can be a very unnerving; as can pushing boundaries, testing yourself. How do you overcome the feeling of being uncomfortable? I would feel more uncomfortable if I didn’t do it. I’ve always enjoyed trying to make my life complicated, challenging or uncomfortable. We only get one go around the block on this planet. If you only want to fit into one shape, just exist, what have you done? Life is an amazing gift. From the moment we are created we’re champions, out-swimming all to be the winner—the prize, life as a human being. Over time I have been surprised by the number of paintings that artists leave untitled. What are your thoughts on this? Titles can reflect what the artist has felt. Art can exist in the mystical realm, our worlds are different— two people can look at the same person and see someone different. We look at a piece, reflecting what we put into it. Sometimes we cry. Sometimes we leave things untitled. As with people, we each view art differently. Sometimes the title can cause more confusion than clarity, especially abstract works-- it meant something to the artist who was trying to bring all their experiences to the work, but the viewer is seeing through their own individual eyes, bringing their experiences to the work. Everything is in the eye of the beholder. So I can understand why they don’t title. Rather than give something to the work, it can take away.
  4. 4. Sometimes I will have a title before a painting, or the painting can be interfered with by the music I am listening to at the time, so the title may refer to that piece of music. For example ‘there is nothing subtle about humanity’ is a reference to the Talking Heads song ‘Nothing but Flowers.’ which was playing at a significant point of the paintings creation. What great lesson(s) have you learnt so far in life from creating art? The exciting thing about being a creative person is you are always the child playing and you never have to stop learning, for there’s no retirement clock. You can continue learning— every single brush stroke teaches you something new. Over the years there have been artists from the worlds of performance, literature, music and fine art that have left their indelible mark for all those that come after, how would you like to be remembered? I just carried on learning. I never see myself as a master craftsmen just someone who never stopped pushing boundaries, testing myself, trying to do more. That I never said no to a creative challenge. That I challenged perceptions, my own and others. Photographs  courtesy  of  Chrissy  Eastwood
  5. 5. Elizabeth Sadoff Art Advisory 526 West 26th Street, Suite 303 New York NY 10001 646.823.4454 | esadoff.com Designed & Created by: square shaped circles inc for Elizabeth Sadoff Art Advisory

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