Friday, March 13, 2009

Art Space Talk: James Cropper

James Cropper is an emerging artist from the UK. Cropper is concerned with the re-use of discarded items/objects that are of specific interest to him as materials and function. Cropper searches discarded junk-- metals, plastics, wood, fibrous materials-- in order to create ‘Constructs‘. His process is selective-- and involves preliminary sketches in order for him to decide which material to integrate together.

Cropper’s Constructs invent new possibilities, combining completely opposite objects within the same structure, eliminating their functions and partially their identity to initially confuse the viewer. One could say that Cropper’s Constructs echo the wisdom of Marcel Duchamp. However, Cropper's Constructs are a hybrid of conceptual and contemporary ideas.

Brian Sherwin: James, tell us about your academic background. Did you study art formally? What about influential instructors that you have had?

James Cropper: Yes I did A-level art at school, then did a Foundation Diploma in College and I am now currently in my 3rd year at Loughborough University in England studying Fine Art and will be graduating in June this year. My tutors Alan Bunkum and Nelson Diplexcito have been fantastic and a great help in developing my concepts since I started the course in September 2006.
Construct - James Cropper

BS: Tell us about the thoughts behind your art. Can you give our readers some insight into any specific themes that you explore?

JC: I have been attracted to the idea of using junk objects like I was using any of the strange combination of materials in my developing studio work over the past 2 ½ years. The reason I do this is because I have an uncontrollable urge to merge the most unlikely materials and objects together, thus creating these strange but intriguing structures.
One of the concepts of my work is influenced by Duchamp’s Ready-mades of the 1920’s which were ideas on the elimination of an objects function or a transformation of its function and/or its practicality as an object. Quintessentially though the concepts of my Constructs are a hybrid of conceptual and contemporary ideas.
Construct - James Cropper

BS: With that in mind, is there a specific message you strive to convey to viewers concerning your art?

JC: Yes…I hope that people viewing my work will strive to challenge art boundaries.

BS: What can you tell us about your process in general? Give us some insight into how you work… as in turning an idea into reality, so to speak? How do you determine what to use? What about your process in general?

JC: Well, my work is concerned with the recycle if you like, of Junk objects; of any shape, size and material, although I draw a firm line between Junk and everyday rubbish, such as food packaging, bottles... etc. I am also very selective and specific with the junk that I collect from the skips, the choice of which junk objects I pick up depends on the characteristics and previous functions of the junk and also personal preference. Then I collect it in my studio and then methodically sketch varying ways in which I can join the objects together to become a single unified structure.
In my work I have used as many ways as I can invent to attach the objects to one another, such as using nails, screws, cable ties, glues, tying objects together, hanging objects, balancing objects, and slotting or placing objects on top of one another. Also the creative processes involved in making the Constructs are before hand made using intuitive decision’s throughout, such as how am going to attach such and such an object together? Are these two materials pliable? How will the viewer interact with this Construct?
Construct - James Cropper

BS: You mentioned Duchamp-- what about other influences? For example, are you influenced by any specific artists, world events, or art movements?

JC: My primary influence is Conceptualism of the 60’s, such as Robert Morris, Sol LeWitt, Joseph Kossuth but my current work is influenced in particular by Marcel Duchamp and Robert Rauschenberg. I have also looked Fischli/Weiss and Tomoko Takahashi to aid the development of my concepts.

BS: Where can your art be viewed at this time? Will you be involved with any upcoming exhibits?

JC: At the end of this year (June) there is a Degree show held in the Fine Art Studio’s in LUSAD at Loughborough University which attracts people from all over Leicester and the general public. This will be my first exhibition if you like, but I am going to enter the 2009 London Calling Exhibition held at the Scream London Gallery later this year.

Construct - James Cropper

BS: Do you have any concerns about the art world at this? There has been a lot of debate recently about copyright and the rights of artists. Do you have an opinion on issues such as that?

JC: I haven’t read any debates recently on this but I think that art work should certainly not be copied it should always be the right of the artist to be able to preserve his individuality in which ever medium he or she works in.

BS: What about the internet? One could say that the art world is starting to catch up-- more galleries are turning to the World Wide Web in order to further exposure for their artists. How do you think the internet will impact the art world in say… a decade? Can you see a meshing between the traditional market and alternative (online) markets taking shape?

JC: I think that the internet, from now on will always help upcoming artists promote their work. Then again I think it’s more important to view art physically in a gallery than on the internet, and I don’t think that the internet will ever replace the gallery. I can definitely see online markets taking full effect in the sale of some art in the future, although I am a little bit skeptical of sale of 3D and sculptural works.

Construct - James Cropper

BS: Finally, is there anything else you would like to say about your art or the goals that you have?

JC: Yes my favourite and famous quote by Ad Reinhardt 1963, ‘The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing, art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.’ If you remember this you can’t go wrong.
James Cropper is currently a member of the community-- You can read more of my interviews by visiting the following page--
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin
Senior Editor
New York Art Exchange
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1 comment:

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