In advance of the imminent launch of the Cupar Arts Festival, on 18 June, we’d like to focus on the work of SSA and CAF artist Mike Inglis
Tell us what got you into art – How you got started – What first excited you?
After 10 unfulfilling years as a design draughtsman in the offshore construction industry I knew I needed to get back onto a creative pathway and did foundation level courses at a local college building experience and a portfolio to get a place in art school. Creativity is like a drug and a religion to me – it’s a way of living and being, without it I would curl up and fade away. My early inspirations were and remain auto biographical comics, street art, music graphics. They sustained me in the empty years before I got back into art seriously in my late twenties.
Where do you make your work?
I have two studios – a little studio in my house which I share with my partner who is a fine artist, printmaker and illustrator. I only work on clean things there, drawing and screen based stuff. I have another larger (and colder) studio where I can make a real mess, spray painting and sawing and building stuff. Its nearby about 15 minutes away by car. I’m also a member of two screen print studios, Edinburgh printmakers and Dundee print studio. I do all my editions there and love the help both studios can give you with technical and critical advice from really great studio staff who are expert artist and printmakers. I also enjoy the communities you join there, working alone in my own studio can get lonely sometimes.
What are your main influences and sources of inspiration?
I absolutely love and am deeply fascinated with outsider art. It comes with many names, Art Brut, outsider art, raw art, extraordinary art, even folk art although I see that as something quite different. My practice often draws on the experience of the outsider and this art form for me is deeply energising and extremely pure in its direct approach to materials and messaging. I find it an endlessly rewarding area of research that constantly informs and inspires.
Is there some piece of advice / information / knowledge that you’d like to share?
To young artists – Never give up. To my peers – keep the faith. Its not easy making a living and producing work. We are underfunded, sometimes undervalued and most often misunderstood. It’s a tough profession, emotionally, psychologically and financially but there is absolutely nothing else I can compare that has been as rewarding on a personal level.
Tell us about a project you are working on at present. This could be an exhibition, commission, public art or curatorial project, a residency, travel opportunity or an area of research.
I’m making a new site specific piece for Cupar Arts festival which is very exciting both the making and the being invited to what’s fast becoming the best small environmental arts festivals in Scotland. It’s a piece which will extend ideas into a more sculptural and architectural form that I’ve begun exploring in the last couple of years. Its going to be sited in the grounds of a psychiatric hospital with a deconstructed piece in the nearby town. It explores perception and ideas around what it is to be normal. I’m also creating a typographic installation for a hospice in the highlands and preparing for a 3 man show again making new work for an interesting white cube space which is situated inside a huge hospital in Aberdeen. Things are pretty busy right now and its an exciting time for my practice as I’m experimenting a lot with new processes and ways of communicating.
SSA Webpage: www.s-s-a.org/member/mikeinglis