“In my studio is where I spent most of my days. Chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’ all cool. And all shootin’ some B-ball outside of the school.”
Ian Stevenson’s influences of the everyday strangeness of people and the world around him shines through in his work. Drawing on walls, floors, rubbish and anything else he can find, his works bright cheery colours draw you into a sometimes dark world…
With numerous exhibitions, animations and books to his name, his work ultimately makes you laugh with his combination of words and imagery. Clients include Tate Modern, ICA, Microsoft, Perrier, Polydor, The Conran Shop, MTV, Warp Films, Nintendo and Paul Smith. As well as a featured guest at Berlins Pictoplasma Conference, Current TV also featured a documentary on Ian and his work.
IAN STEVENSON: Ideas often develop as a reaction to something I’ve seen or something I’ve been thinking for a while and it just comes out like art turrets.
FYD: What is your favorite sentimental object at your workspace and why?
IS: I’ve got some very odd things from charity shops and one is a wonderful get well soon glass ornament. If you’re ever given this, things don’t look good it’s quite a permanent object and I don’t think you’re getting well soon.
The cute ones are probably the most annoying just like with humans…
FYD: What is your favorite or most required work tool?
IS: Pens, brushes, paint, paper, canvas, camera, scanner, the Internet and a computer. And a cup of tea and that’s me pretty much sorted.
FYD: How has popular culture influenced your work?
IS: Lots and it’s what I feel the most about commenting on. I like to produce work that connects and responds to the world around us.
FYD: Take us through a perfect day. We are in your knapsack, walk us around and give us the tour.
IS: I’d check my emails and there would be someone who wanted to pay me money without fucking about. Then I’d go outside in the sunshine and draw on some rubbish and take photos. I’d watch an old movie in the afternoon, eat some food and then get down to doing some art late into the night while listening to the radio.
FYD: You are old school in that you like to draw. Are you altogether down on computers or just burnt out?
IS: I do prefer using real materials and creating the work by hand but those computers are very useful.
I like to produce work that connects and responds to the world around us.
FYD: Your work is humorous. Did you grow up around comedy?
IS: I think I’ve just developed a sense of humour to cope with the world. There is so much nonsense that it just makes sense to point it out and laugh.
FYD: I love your Lost Heroes. If you cast them in a movie, what is the premise?
IS: They would all generally be fuck ups but in a funny way. They’d be odd but honest and end up in all sort of interesting situations.
FYD: What engages you in the darker side of things, you know, a cute Snoopy looking dog saying “We All Die Alone.” Maybe we make cute characters too nice, because let’s be honest, cute characters aren’t always nice.
IS: The cute ones are probably the most annoying just like with humans as they often get treated differently by people and haven’t had any need to develop their personality. I think generally the more perfect people are on the outside the more empty up they are on the inside.
FYD: Talk about your “Made In Broken Britain.” Are you taking jabs at pop culture in the way, say, we dispense pills to ourselves like candy?
IS: I thought it was time to look at society considering the global economic crisis, talentless celebrity culture and the London riots last year. Many things seem to be at breaking point and the exhibition was about commenting on many things happening in the world today.
IS: The gold can is about seeing beauty in different places, a drink can is an everyday disposable item that is often crushed highlighting its uselessness after being used. It’s now just rubbish but I think it looks great and making it gold elevates it to levels of wealth and power.
FYD: What is your September motto?
IS: Be Better.