Badge is a unique artist from North Wales who has just joined us as a contributor. Badge will be interviewing creatives and talking about what is going on in his area. He was christened ‘Badge’ back in school for reasons unknown and adopted it as an alias for his artwork when he started college. We posed some questions to him so you can all get to know him better…
Badge, tell us more about your creative background…
Art was always by far my favourite subject in school, even in Primary School every project I did revolved around art. Towards the end of High School I’d become a bit disenchanted with it as a subject, it’d become very prescriptive so I never did an A-Level in it, and I almost went to university to study English Lit instead, fortunately I was convinced by friends to check out the art courses at the local college, and that’s where I ended up.
My time in Llandrillo College was amazing, I loved every second of it, and thankfully they prepared us well for the big bad world of art! I completed my Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Llandrillo and then nearly went onto uni to study something else I wasn’t sure about, so I took two years out from art education again, all the time filling up sketchbooks!
I then ended up back in the same college on the FdA in Art & Design – taking Fine Art as a major, loving every second of my time on the course and made some amazing friends and contacts! I topped that up with a nightmare final year at a university to give me the full BA hons.
What made you start making art?
I’ve always drawn/painted/coloured/made things ever since I can remember, I used to draw a family of teapots when I first started Primary School, and it quickly became second nature to draw and make things, I can remember begging for Skeletor’s Snake Mountain and the Thundercats Lair and never getting them so I built my own versions using cardboard boxes and papier-mache. Fortunately my folks were both very encouraging of my creative side and approved of my ‘Art Attack’ approach to toy related dilemmas!
I also used to spend hours poring over encyclopaedias’ – usually reading up on things like natural disasters, cannibals and apocalypses – normal kid stuff! But it was also there I first realized that people actually made art for a living – and it was there the idea of becoming an artist set in.
As I got older I started to use art as a way of dealing with all the things floating around in my head, I used to have really bad nightmares as a child [no wonder considering the things I used to read!] and I’ve suffered with insomnia since I was little too, so dream and reality blur – art has been a great way to channel that and has proved a rich source of inspiration!
What career paths have you taken?
I’ve had ordinary ho-hum day jobs since I was 14 [cleaning hotels, retail, gardening etc] when I graduated I was fortunate to be invited to be part of an artist co-operative on the North Wales coast [Oriel Scala Artists Co-operative] complete with an artist run gallery. It quickly became a crash-course and very steep learning curve in maintaining a commercial gallery and community arts projects, I took on the marketing and online publicity – which having no real previous experience of was a true baptism of fire, but we banded together and I came out of it with far more confidence about myself and my artwork, and having a regular space to show/sell my work was a huge boost especially just after coming out of art school!
That experience helped me to secure a temporary position in the Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno working in the craft shop, and then to a permanent position as a gallery assistant, I’m still there as front of house and assisting on exhibition changeovers, and my studio which I share with 3 others from work and two from college is right next door – which comes in very handy! The studio [casc artist studios and project space] has a project space in the front which we use to stage exhibitions and workshops for ourselves and other artists, we’re hoping to develop its profile and make it a hub for the artistic community.
Who inspires you both locally and internationally?
We’ve got some amazingly talented folks in North Wales; I met an illustrator called Karen Cheung last year on the annual open studios trail and fell in love with her drawings of specimens in jar drawn in science museums and her quirky semi-autobiographical rabbit cartoons.
Bedwyr Williams is also a big favourite of mine; he mixes self-deprecating humour and observations of Welsh culture with installations and performances, I was lucky enough to be taught by him as a visiting lecturer in college.
Also…Glenn Brown, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Conor Harrington, Audrey Kawasaki, Frida Kahlo, Goya, Antony Micallef, Jenny Saville, Eelus, Mark Titchner, Derek Riggs, Ian Francis, Egon Schiele, Edvard Munch, the list is endless!
I tend to draw inspiration from a lot of places, music is big one for me I’ve always got music on in the studio, headphones on the bus home, and for each project I’ll make a soundtrack that I’ll listen along to whilst working and more often than not lyrics end up being used as titles. Popular culture, literature, fears and science also inform my work.
What would you like to achieve in the future?
The dream for me is to be in the financial situation where I can just be in the studio 7 days a week painting and making, but at the moment I need the day job, however I’m very lucky to work within the arts so it’s not too bad – I can network and get inspired/sketch whilst in work so it could be worse!
I’ve always said I want to help encourage the art scene in North Wales, we have a real variety of media and styles here it needs showcasing to a wider audience! So if I can somehow aid that I’d be very happy with myself
Can you recommend a creative website you love?
www.juxtapoz.com is a must! The magazine is also somewhat of a Bible to me!
www.myloveforyou.com is also great for finding quirky and unusual creative’s!
We are really glad Badge is working with us and we really look forward to hearing more about the creative scene in North Wales!
To find out more about Badge please visit :
Area – Wales