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A Dozen : Robert Bermingham

This week A Dozen visits British artist, Robert Bermingham. He currently works in collaboration with Rich Robinson- you can see more of their work here.



What led you to become an artist?

An inability to do much else with my life. I made the decision at a young age, and my plan to be a rock star was failing due to my singing voice, my lack of friends and the scorn of girls.

Who were your best teacher/s in guiding your evolution?

Two of the best teachers were Bernard Hodgkin, drama teacher at Archway Comp. who inspired me to enjoy life, and Vivian Luxton at Stroud College, who recognized my abilities and helped me to evolve them and apply to art school (I think she even filled out my form!)

How have you seen your art change over the years?

Art to me used to be bits of paper and canvas with pictures on them, of objects that you bumped into when you stood back to look at a painting. Now I see art as anything that excites the imagination or makes the world a more interesting place.



What theme ties your works together?

Me, Rich (My collaborative partner) and a range of glues, tapes, screws etc. There is always the right thing to use…

What materials do you find yourself using?

I will use anything that i find surrounds me if it is interesting or relevant to the work. Notably wall paper, paint, wood, objects…

What styles do you employ in your art?

They say that contemporary art doesn’t have style anymore. by this I think they mean that artists find beauty in many things, but i believe when they look back at our time they will see a style. I guess my work uses the style of the everyday.

How do you view the art industry as an entity?


What problems/strengths do you see in most galleries?

Problems are that most art is rubbish, and that puts people off returning. Also, there is a feeling that people have to intellectualize art, but whether this is the gallery or the public’s perception, I am not sure. Basically are is perceived as pretentious. I don’t know where that came from, I don’t know a higher percentage of pretentious people in the arts than any other walk of life- and there seems to be a barrier that stops people engaging with art. The strengths are that galleries are often free, at openings you get free wine, hot chicks, interesting banter and sometimes really interesting stuff.



How do you use technology to your advantage?

To email, store photos, what videos, same as everyone else. I do use a computer as a making tool, but have often found it problematic. Basically programs are designed to do a specific task and the nature of art is that you are often trying to do something different. For instance, a laser cutter gets confused by the textures of flock wall paper, and so in the end of the day, we often revert to hand-tools.

When do you feel that a piece is finished?

Rich and I are very specific about what the end result will be. When we have decided to leave something as it is, we have a system. If we both feel happy, we leave it, if either of us aren’t we continue.

How do you view the collaborative process?

democratic. our art is inevitably political because it is about a shared identity. This goes for any collaboration- artists often make work as reflection of the self, whereas collaborators make work about a group.



What advice can you give to the upcoming artist?

-Don’t be intimidated by anyone. Even Nicholas Serota would like to think he can listen to a new young artist, and is just as shy as you are.

-Whatever you make, make it well. The world does not need another shonky film and another badly painted painting, its a waste of materials. If you got a good idea, make it to the best of you ability.

-Probably get another trade. there is no money in art, and there are lots of useless people at art school. You may need to have a part-time job, but also the skills you get from doing a job can be used to help your art career.

::images are courtesy of Robert Bermingam ::


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Posted: December 29th, 2009
at 4:32pm by Koookiecrumbles

Tagged with

Categories: contemporary,a dozen

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