STEPHEN LEE SCOTT: BEAUTY AND OTHER FORMS OF VIOLENCE

Currently at the Vernon Public Art Gallery is the work of UBCO Fine Arts Grad Stephen Lee Scott in an exhibition titled “Beauty and Other Forms of Violence”. I had a chance to speak with Stephen at the opening of the show in early January. Hanss Lujan was also on hand to snap some photos. Stephen’s work is on view until March 22nd.

KB: Your previous seemed that it was more about fine pen work, whereas here you’re delving into other mediums as well.

SS: I think the previous work was more about body form and these have a lot more variety.

KB: The other work was also more about tattoos to some degree?

SS: Yeah, at that point I was more interested in making the body out off tattoos, rather than drawing the outline of the body. I also didn’t really finish out the faces to the same level of detail in those pieces.

 

 

 

KB: Here you’re also engaging with poster forms and things like that.

SS: Yeah, now I’m trying more to create stories. Making characters and having them interact with one another. Inevitably the eventual outcome will be an actual story. I’m actually working on a collaborative comic book right now with a friend of mine. So some of those characters are here and there, mixed in with a bunch of other random images. They’re kind of ironic characters in a way. It’s my humour, it’s irony, or my attempt at it.

KB: You’ve also incorporated Goya and Durer, which are big art names [famous artists] – what drew you to using them in your work?

SS: I think first and foremost, I really admire them as artists. Durer is just amazing. Goya as well. These classical art characters, who we learn about in art history and place on a pedestal. And yet, some of their work, especially Goya, is really violent in nature. So already there is this irony, the classic versus the violence. So I have Saturn devouring the Ramones mask and Durer having his own drawings tattooed on him, depicting the apocalypse.

KB: Ahh, in that piece I got so caught up in his hair that I missed that. You’ve actaully made the hair out of a stain. It got me thinking of Vancouver artist Steven Shearer and all his kind of 70’s rocker kind of portraits where his skill as an artist renders the hair absolutely beautifully. I was so caught by the contrast between the accidental nature of the stain versus the tightly rendered parts, that I totally missed that Durer was having his own drawings tattooed on him.

SS: That contrast is something I’ve been working on because I tend go and go and go and make things really tight.

KB: Like really labour all the detail?

SS: Yeah. It’s so much detail there isn’t just one free, expressive mark. There’s no room to put any more down. I’m trying to escape that and combine those two sensibilities.

KB: So what are you working on next? You’re got the comic book. How does it relate to this body of work?

SS:  The story from the comic book are all in the notes in these drawings. It’s people sending letters to this character, the protagonist. This part is a kind of side story in the whole scheme of the story. These are kind of just a funny interaction that I’ve made up between characters from the comic interacting with other points in time.

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