Interview with Gary Sollars (Dollman)

Interview with Gary Sollars by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney
His Art and Dollman… and Dollman Carnivalesque Discotheque at the Vines
8th May 2006. Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney. Photographs Tony Knox

Sweeney:
Describe briefly what is your art form and your interests as an artist?

Sollars:
My practice lies mainly around painting, photorealist painting. Although I have combined this in installations. Other examples are soft sculptures, art based around text and letters and indeed Dollman. Everything I do has a quirky cheeky take on life.

Sweeney:
How did Dollman come about?

Sollars:
Dollman was first derived from my observations when I first moved to Liverpool. I would see younger tracksuit generations on the back of the bus, wide eyed, obviously looking for their mates. It is a homage to the tracksuit generation of Liverpool.

Sweeney:
How did this evolve into Dollman Disco?

Sollars:
The seed for Dollman Disco was at the Transvoyeur Exhibition in the Liverpool Biennial 2004. From the character embodied in the paintings set on younger generations, I transformed it from the two dimensional surface of the canvas and brought it alive. A latex head was made of Dollman and with a tracksuit I became this persona from the paintings. This took a performance element and at the opening in 2004 dressed as Dollman I had some portable music with me I had previously mixed. I noticed the members of audience at the opening loved the music and were inquisitive by this character of Dollman. People were dancing, singing and then the concept was born of Dollman Disco. It has now become established from this as an events evening on a far corner of the planet called Liverpool and each individually themed and unique. It makes people smile and have fun, which makes it all worthwhile.

Sweeney:
What makes Dollman and Dollman Disco different and unique to anything else?

Sollars:
Dollman Disco is unique because it is something born from myself, Gary. It is everything I like and it has my stamp all over it. From the ideas conceived to the orchestration, everything is choreographed by me and I select those who participate, so it is one of like minded people. Dollman Disco is something where there is good music, funny singers who can not sing, but exceptional entertainer, pork scratchings and single cigarettes for sale, games, shared fun and people smile throughout the night. This is the most important thing that everyone has fun. Dollman gets lots of help from friends, such as Sean Kenny, who one of the mad singers and has helped with the decorations, etc., for the events.

Sweeney:
Your most recent event of Dollman Disco was Dollman Carnivalesque Discotheque. Can you please describe the theme behind this and what happened on the night?

Sollars:
Dollman Carnivalesque Discotheque was set on clown motifs and psychedelic flowers. Clowns are odd and psychedelic flowers are happy. The core element of Dollman are a combination of these, ‘oddity’ and ‘happiness’. So, if ‘you’ are both ‘odd’ and ‘happy’ then get down to the next Dollman Disco!

Sweeney:
What are your future objectives for Dollman and his disco mania? Do you have any proposed events coming up?

Sollars:
After all the functions of Dollman and his discos, ‘he’ has finally secured his first private event in the coming few months. The public events of Dollman Disco are currently being planned too. These include not only the core event of Dollman Disco as a social, arts and cultural event, but two further creative events which will links into this, but will be set around music and performance. More information will be available on this in the coming months.

Sweeney:
In terms of your art work as a painter what is your next significant project for that?

Sollars:
I have been short listed for the John Moores Prize at the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, Hooray!

Hooray! Also, I have planned an installation for the Biennial, which I am currently developing in my studio at the Bridewell. There are currently four projects under research and development and will be present over the coming twelve months at different events and exhibitions.

Sweeney:
Anything else in the pipeline from Gary Sollar’s, whether artist or Dollman?

Sollars:
I have been invited to Salford in March 2007 for an upcoming exhibition. The details on this are yet to be confirmed, but keep an eye out for updates. Also, I want to take my mum and dad on holiday, so any donations welcome!!

Dollman Carnivalesque Discotheque Review on Saturday 6 May 2006 at Vines, Liverpool…

The recent Dollman Carnivalesque Discotheque was a fusion of wonderful mayhem, fun and frolics. Bizarre characters, singers, entertainers and events to amuse the audience. The visitors could participate in an array of games of ‘Steeple chase’ where the participants wore unlaundered underpants and horses heads, while on all fours another rode on their backs against another two contestants. There was pass the parcel of several games at once. The audience adorned moustaches and became a throng of Freddie Mercurys in a cacophony to Queen Anthems. ‘Match Dog Men and Match Dog Cats and Dogs’ echoed through the air as the audience joined in with Dollman and Kenny and participants at the back with cardboard cut out brass band instruments. The manifestations of Dollman Disco are each unique with different themes, not making it the same as the one before.

For more information on Gary Sollars and associated art and events, please check his website at www.garysollars.co.uk or email him at itsgarys@hotmail.com.

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