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My Own Worst Enemy: Artwork by Will Sergeant

Will Sergeant (Photo Credit: Alex Hurst)
(Photo Credit: Alex Hurst)

Songwriter and guitarist Will Sergeant is best known for his work with the band Echo & The Bunnymen. Sergeant was a founding member of the band, formed in the late 1970s in Liverpool, England. He has also done solo and collaborative music projects. Will Sergeant is also an artist. He has been creating art as long as he has been creating music. The most recent exhibition of his artwork was at Penny Lane Gallery in Liverpool, England. Sergeant also exhibited a few pieces in Los Angeles at the Mr. Brainwash Art Show 2011.

My Own Worst Enemy, Will Sergeant’s first major U.S. exhibition, will open May 18, 2012 at Substrate Fine Art Gallery in Los Angeles. The show will feature Sergeant’s abstracts, collages and screen prints. Sergeant will be present at the opening on May 18th from 7pm to 11pm and will make an additional personal appearance on May 19th from 2pm to 6pm. The exhibit, curated by Los Angeles based artist Ramses, continues through June 16, 2012.

The Vanity of Plumage by Will Sergeant
The Vanity of Plumage by Will Sergeant

I am happy to say that Will Sergeant agreed to answer some questions for me about his artwork.

Lorrie: When did you begin creating art and how did you get started?

Will: As far back as my teens in the 70′s, I was interested in art and would enjoy making art just for the joy of it. At this point I was mainly drawing. At the school I went to, you were given very little encouragement or knowledge of artists. I cannot remember one teacher ever mentioning any artists. I think at that time, art was seen as an easy lesson and one that the teachers could relax in so I never took art as a serious option for employment. Nobody did from a working class background. It was leave school get a job and start earning some money. So I did. In 1976, I got a job as a Commis Chef in a Liverpool Department store.

Because I was in Liverpool this led me to finding about a punk club in Liverpool called Eric’s and that became my Obsession. I became a punk. Punk and art go hand in hand and I started to be exposed to a lot more art. The Dada movement came into my consciousness as punk had borrowed many ideas from Dada. I became aware of avant-garde music and videos of The Residents and Pere Ubu.

Record companies suddenly had lost control and small bands were selling lots of records. This was an inspiration behind me starting the band. The band went on to some success and the traveling exposed me to a lot more art. I never thought I could be an ‘artist’ and I believed I would have had to have gone to art school. I kept making art just for fun.

Lorrie: In addition to painting, what other types of visual art do you create?

Will: I have made a few short videos and have been involved with light shows and projections, that sort of thing. I also have been developing screen printing skills. As mentioned, I have been involved with sound art. A list of my artistic endeavors over the last 30 plus years can be found here  http://www.willsergeant.com/about.html.

Lorrie: Do You have any formal education or training in art.

Will: I have no formal education in art. Although, I have been a visiting fellow at the Liverpool Art School on and off since 2002. I have also been involved in several sound art projects in collaboration with Professor Colin Fallows from the art school. I have been making sound art since about 1978 and Colin knew of this. He had invited me to collaborate on several events and sound work projects over the years. I am in the process of working on a Master of Philosophy at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. I am collecting as much as I can of my past artistic ventures, both in the visual and sound realms for a catalogue raisonné.

Lorrie: Do you have a studio, or a particular place where you work on your art?

Will: I started out on my kitchen table, which was a challenge. If the weather was good in the summer, the larger pieces I took outside and worked there. Having links with the art school, I was able to make screen prints there. I have now got a huge workshop studio just round the corner from my house. It’s a disused section of a giant greenhouse with a room built inside. I can now make anything there. I also like to frame the pictures myself. This is all part of my DIY punk work ethic.

Lorrie: Is there something in particular that inspires your artwork?

Will: All things are inspirational not just art. Good things and bad things get into my brain and gestate into ideas which can become art. A lot of the art is autobiographical and concerns things that have happened on my journey. As for artist or art movements, I love the New York School, Colour field painters like Barnett Newman, Constructivism, Suprematism, the Dada movement and lots of modern day artists still in action like Gerhard Richter, Gilbert and George and Sir Peter Blake.

Lorrie: Is there a relationship between your music and your art?

Will: I think art and music are linked by chains of iron. I think of all the bands that started out with an art school background, everyone from David Bowie to Lady Gaga. The same mind set is in force when making and layering sounds as when joining form and colours in the visual world. I feel there is also a magical element to the art and music something that’s not tangible.

Chocolate Orange by Will Sergeant
Chocolate Orange by Will Sergeant

Thanks so much to Will for taking the time to answer my questions. For more information about Will Sergeant and to see many more images of his artwork visit http://www.willsergeant.com/.

For more information about Substrate Gallery visit http://substrategallery.com/.

You Lucky People by Will Sergeant
You Lucky People by Will Sergeant

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