Workshopshed: The Kuriologist creates timeless sculptures of animal forms, curios and nude males. These fascinating items are all the more amazing when you know that they are mainly made from recycled materials.
Many thanks for agreeing to be interviewed about your art, it is a most unique style. You describe your work as “assemblage” could you elaborate on what that means?
The Kuriologist: Others more knowledgeable than myself have informed me my work is mixed media ‘assemblage’. I’m self-taught, apparently, I’m what is known as an – ‘Outsider artist’ or ‘Brut art’. For me it was just a natural, organic development of joining component elements together. In particular in some of my reliquary cabinets of collectivity – like mini-cabinets of curiosity.
Workshopshed: Does the source material drive the design or do you lookout for parts to meet your idea?
The Kuriologist: I seek out some items specifically at car-boot & charity shops. I used to use a well-known internet auction site to source eclectic & serendipitous items, but now find less & less interesting objects there as they have become less of an auction site & more a bog-standard retail outlet like a certain poor man’s large Brazilian River… if you know what I mean.
Workshopshed: Many of your sculptures are papier-mâché based, what is the reason for using that?’ What are the benefits of using that material?
The Kuriologist: Money. Following a severe period of prolonged hate crimes against me, I’m clinically diagnosed as cognitively disabled & in the severe disability welfare group. For ten years I was housebound unless I was out in the company of someone I trusted. Therefore, being on disability benefits, materials have to be affordable, recycled…or better still free, especially if one is creativity prolific as I can be. Newspaper provides a free bulk material, but I source anywhere for materials. I recently scavenged a farmyard bonfire for melted window glass. The bubbled cooled fragmented glass was twisted, with iron nail inclusions – interesting. Don’t know what I’ll use it for…yet.
Workshopshed: You’ve cited many different influences, what is your current favourite?
The Kuriologist: My influences tend to be Natural History, tribal, shamanic, pagan & witchcraft. Object d’art created has to fit into my personal parameters of a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ collection. Currently I’m working on multiple folklore ‘Hand of glory’, pseudo mummified hands. Doesn’t everyone, no, just me then?
Workshopshed: Tell me about your workspace / studio?
The Kuriologist: I sit in my study in an old Victorian desk captain’s chair, to my right is my 1930’s partners desk. My workspace tends to be the desk corner square foot of space. That way I can binge on DVD box sets & still be creative at the same time. It’s a pretty small work area.
Workshopshed: What skills do you need for your sculptures? How did you acquire them?
The Kuriologist: My favourite toy as a kid was cardboard boxes, scissors & glue (Ok, I played with Lego & plasticine too). Since I continue to use both plasticine & cardboard boxes in my sculptures…I’m in my fifties & guess I’m still using a skill set acquired from when as a child?
Workshopshed: What’s currently in a work in progress or what is next?
The Kuriologist: Over the years I’ve collected several precious taxidermy objects. In recent years a combination of CITES (International agreement in the control of sale, import/export of wildlife specimens), interior decorator trends, & awareness of human pressures upon wildlife & habitats has made these both outside of my meagre disposable income & quite possibly morally wrong….so, I create Vegetarian taxidermy…made primarily from papier-mâché. Currently I’ve had a phase of making Antelope skulls…I guess that’s a case of – ‘just me then’. I’m not really that weird, – just a bit special!
Workshopshed: Thanks for sharing your art and experiences. I’ve learnt some new terminology e.g. “Brut Art” and find your work refreshingly different.