Artist of the Week: Simon Mack

Words by Sinead Nunes, Editor

Simon Mack is a conceptual artist, working mostly with video, photography and installation. 

How long have you been an exhibiting artist in Liverpool?

I started exhibiting in London and Liverpool in 2000, as a socially concerned multi-media artist. I now use digital media exclusively. I would describe myself as a conceptual / digital / video artist, photographer and curator, and have exhibited both in the UK and Internationally.

Was it a background in the arts that inspired you to create your work? 

Not formally – only avidly walking around the Liverpool and London galleries for over 20 years. This was my formative “training” actually – it was living, studying and working in London in particular from 1996-2004. The whole stimulus overload, everyday sights and sounds, the sharp contrasts of poverty and excess, the urban verticality and isolation… the list goes on. But in essence, a keen sense of social outrage; the imperfections of society but also a positive outlook regarding digital exchange of ideas and artforms across international and cultural boundaries. My early heroes include Turner, the Contructivists, Bauhaus, and Designers Republic.

What draws you to digital media over other art mediums?

Digital media is simply the most exciting, boundless and easiest way to produce, experiment and distribute across the globe. Digital is dynamic, malleable media that can be shared across a multiplicity of channels all over the globe instantly. There are also no postage bills, which helps when sending works around the world of course!

I have no interest in traditional media such as painting. Much of it is utterly derivative and as Tracy Emin said, “Stuck! Stuck! Stuck!” Imperfections in digital media are a particular favourite, as I believe perfection is boring. I occasionally work on site specific installation though, for example Berlin in 2009, Liverpool in 2013.

What are your main preoccupations in your work? :

For the last few years it has been belief systems, but overall, society; its imperfections, loss of innocence/naivety, and consumerism. My current GLitch/ICONS series tackles false gods or icons head on, whilst my series The Garden of Eden alludes to the Biblical loss of innocence in contemporary society.

What projects are you currently working on?

My current projects are many and varied;

  • Video collaborations as part of my curated international project NORM/No-madic Lives (which has already exhibited in Melbourne, Liverpool and Beirut). We are looking at spaces in Copenhagen, Sri Lanka and beyond for this year.
  • Several collaborations in three different media, with different artists: video, sound and photography, with artists in Leipzig, Colombo and Liverpool in 2014. This continues on from successful projects last year. Global, cross–cultural pollination, and the exchange of ideas, aesthetics and values are the driving force behind this project.
  • Glitch online experiments and social media interaction, inspiration and distribution
  • Music experiments, both solo and a remix collaborations with German and UK artists such as Emes, Phil Hargreaves, AshSteel and Venusian.
  • I am always creating and uploading new exciting art forms to my youtube channel TheSmack77, which I have been running since 2009.

You’re so busy – what drives you ?

The central message and driving force for me is to constantly reach out, experiment and have fun with new media.  I enjoy messing up preconceived ideas of “taste” and connecting with other creatives across the globe via the myriad digital channels out there.

Where do you like to go to see art in Liverpool and beyond? 

Liverpool boasts some fine galleries and not just the big ones – the Open Eye , Bluecoat, FACT and Walker invariably have strong work showing. London is always interesting too – Saatchi gallery is the easiest way to see alot of good contemporary art in one place, however lazy that might sound!

You can see more of Simon’s Smack 77 Youtube channel here:

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