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Nik Taylor monastic melodies made for norse woodmen

Richie Culver caravans, bacon and broken dreams inspire this quintessentially english artist

As David Cameron continues to tickle the balls of the bankers and cut deeper into the heart of arts funding, it’s easy to feel slightly sick at the detrimental effect it might have on the British artists of the future. However, Hull-born Londonbased artist Richie Culver should help put some of those concerns at ease. Having no art school education to speak of, Culver cultivated his trade through experience. William Blake famously stated that “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” and 28-year-old Culver draws on his personal history for his collage work, photographic pieces, films and sculptures, providing an unapologetic take on hopes and fears via ouija boards, mixed-media paintings and full-on installations.

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What were you doing before you were an artist? richie culver: Not much really; fucking about, moving around a lot… I was basically up to no good, to be honest. I was building little installations in my liver and heart and stuff, making the mistakes that would eventually give me the material to do this art thing for real. I wouldn’t change any of it, though – it’s made me who I am today. How much has growing up in Hull influenced your art? When I lived there all I did was fight on a weekend and work in the week. I grew up in a pretty poor, grey area with my beloved Hull City losing every week, and I worked in a caravan factory for years after leaving school. It was awful but at least I could dream all day. Looking back, I think I may have been at my happiest then. When you live there and work there the thought of becoming an artist is laughed at a little. The closest I got to making art at that point was abusing people on the back of the toilet door – I guess that’s where I learned my trade. What are the main narratives you touch upon in your forthcoming LN-C show? I touch upon loss and failure with nearly every piece I’ve ever made, and the main spine of the show is centred around these topics – loss and trying to stay in touch with the ones you have lost. How do love and relationships influence your work? They influence it a lot. I seem to have this thing where I constantly feel fucking heartbroken, even though the last time I had my heart broken was about ten years ago. I love England so much, and I believe my work is typically English in the same sense that The Smiths and The Cure are English. That’s the angle my head comes from. I’ve learned to deal with loss through my art.

ext Tom Giddins June 15 – July 15, LN-C, 18 Shacklewell Lane, Dalston E8 2EZ; Above: Curtain Twitcher, 2011. Left: Untitled, 2011; Quiet As You Go Up The Stairs Cos My Dad’s Got A Bad Back, 2011. All images courtesy of the artist

Nik Taylor likes a pseudonym. His last big show, five years ago, was a crazy installation that went under the name Cherrymead – a freakedout space filled with faux science objects. Emerging once again from his creative lair, his current project was created under the name ‘Morley Hill’. These alternate personas allow him to break away from any restrictions of style or medium, and create new narratives on the way.

The simple pleasure of making is at the heart of Taylor’s art. “Exhibiting is the least enjoyable part of this work for me. I have an urge to keep things hidden away until they’re ready to be seen, and the current work is only just ready,” he explains. His latest project – showing in a month-long residency in Norway – consists of 138 wooden objects made from found wood. “I was trying to learn how to cast in plaster and I made some quick wooden objects to use as tests to work out how to mould figures. I soon realised that the original test figures were themselves more interesting,” he says. “They became something more as their numbers grew.” The result is an installation pushing the boundaries of structure and freedom.

This former member of cult band Headshoppe created a dark monastic soundtrack to accompany the installation by overlaying his voice with two percussion instruments. “Richard Wagner used the word Gesamtkunstwerk, which means ‘total art work’, to describe the idea of unifying all works of art via the theatre,” he explains. “I use music as a tool to add more layers and manipulate the atmosphere.” We’re putty in his hands.

ik Taylor’s Five Top Reads upernature Lyall Watson Man Probes The Universe

Colin A Ronan Fattypuffs and Thinifers

Andre Maurois Grove Close Alwyn Lamerton At The Mountains Of Madness

HP Lovecraft TextFRANCESCA GAVIN July 1–31, Kråkeslottet, Bøvær, NO-9385 Skaland, Senja, Norway Below: Morley Hill – Prior Investigations. Exhibited in Covent Garden from June 2, 2011

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