AN INTERVIEW WITH JAMIE F. SIMPSON
Jamie F Simpson’s work is concerned with an ongoing inquiry into identity, absence, repetition, time, place and memory, exploring the intrinsic connections between narrative, text and image. Through these bold and provocative notions and concepts, the artist attempts to influence a change in the mind of the viewer by forcing them to imagine their own life and memories as art. His work evoked an instant uncanny feeling within us, so we sat down and spoke with him about the 'being of photography' and the signification of image and text.
"Tell us a bit about yourself and your work."
I’m a contemporary visual artist, curator, director at a contemporary art space and editor of a zine. In terms of practice, I’m a multidisciplinary artist, so it varies a lot it can be anything from text and moving image, to photography and site specific installations. My work discusses concepts of identity, absence, repetition, time, place and memory whilst exploring the intrinsic connections between narrative, text, and image.
"Your Abandoned Thoughts series is visually stunning but the theme running through seems rather melancholic; what do you hope people get from looking at this series, and how does your aesthetic impact the message behind your images?"
I think in principle I want to make the viewer feel something. Abandoned Thoughts started off as thoughts I would have at 4 in the morning, thoughts that
never became anything, I would write them down in the hope of becoming a poem but they remained as one line statements. When I tried them as stand-alone text pieces people would comment on how they made them feel, which is when I realised the power of the text and began to incorporate images as another layer of the work.
To me, great art is 50% aesthetic and 50% conceptual, so I always make work with that in mind. I want to make the viewer think and to evoke an emotional response. Being dyslexic, I’ve become obsessed with the relationship between text and image, I watch everything with subtitles so I think that comes across in my work as if there’s a voice with each image.
"Who inspires you creatively?"
Christian Boltanski, Jenny Holzer, John Baldessari, Nam June Paik, Joseph Kosuth etc. Also, a lot of the time it’s the every day; conversations, philosophy, film, and music.
"How did you end up creating work that was so digitally created over something more traditional like painting/drawing?"
The photographs used in Abandoned Thoughts are from a previous work called Hoc est Corpus Meum, in which I bleached out the faces of a full family as an act of loss of memory. I tried various forms of printing on the photographs; screen printing, blind printing but it was more successful digitally. I actually begin art school as an abstract painter and left as a photographer, printmaker, sculptor, poet, painter, and filmmaker. My ideas still begin with a sketch or a scribble but they evolve digitally as my laptop has in a way become my studio.
It’s the wondrous thing about technology, it’s so instantaneous.
"Can you tell us your thoughts on the theme of Beyond Photography, where is photography heading in this time period and how do you think post production/collage/rendering etc. impacts this?"
Photography is still evolving.
I think the fundamental problem is that now everyone has access to a camera and editing software but that does not necessarily make them a photographer or an artist. However, it has allowed people to think that there’s no skill in photography anymore in much the same way that much of conceptual art has affected the art world to the outside viewer.
Technology has stepped its game up and we need to respond.
"We could not have phrased it any better. Thank you, Jamie!"