Martin Creed was born in Wakefield, England, in 1968, and from 1986-90 attended the Slade School of Art in London. In 1993 his Work No. 81, ‘a one inch cube of masking tape in the middle of every wall in a building’ was installed in the offices of the London firm, Starkmann Ltd, and since then Creed has had eighteen solo exhibitions or projects in Europe and North America and has participated in numerous group exhibitions world wide. He lives and works in London. He won the 2001 Turner Prize with Work No. 227, the lights going on and off. An empty room in which the lights periodically switched on and off. Artist Jacqueline Crofton threw eggs at the walls of the room containing Creed’s work as a protest.Creed won the prize.
Do you like talking about you art?
I like trying to talk about it, but, talking about it is something in itself. I think talking is a whole work in itself, its very difficult to talk in a way that’s not a bit bull-shitty.
You don’t want to be bogged down in talking about your art?
Talking about something is not the thing. You can talk about music all you like but it will always be separate from the music itself. I like trying to discuss my work but it’s difficult not to talk in a fake way. You can easily slip into cliched ways of talking. I think it is ultimately good talking about your work, it creates a good relationship between you and what you do.
I really like your song “I like things.” Do you separate your music from your art? (mp3)
I think its all part of the same thing. I wouldn’t want to distinguish between different parts of my work. That song “I like things” came from me being quite depressed, I was trying to write the opposite of what I felt, rather than saying I wasn’t liking things I wrote about liking things.
Is there a strong element of humour in your work?
If work is funny I like it. I don’t think I’m good at telling jokes or trying to be funny. Anytime I have tried to be funny wasn’t very funny so I try not to be funny. I’m happy that people find the work amusing but I think it’s important to do things seriously. I don’t think its possible to be ironic, you can only say things straight, otherwise nothing has any meaning. I think it’s the same with being funny, i don’t try to be funny but I like humour in other people’s work, usually things that I like are things that make me smile or laugh.
What was your time at art school like
I had a really good time at art school. I don’t mean lots of partying etc, I was helped a lot by the teachers, I think I was very shy. I found art school helped me with my confidence a lot.
Was it your aim to become an artist?
I wouldn’t say that I wanted to become an artist, I think I have got lazy with using the terms art or artist, if people ask me what I do I say I’m an artist. I suppose I only really say that as I do a lot of work in art galleries, I don’t think its particularly helpful thinking about being an artist or not being an artist. The word art is not really a helpful word in my opinion.
So rather, doing things or making things?
Yes, Doing things that you want to do, things that excite you and may or may not be called art. I think people do lots of different things, very creative things, that are not exhibited in art galleries. I think its helpful to think of things in that way. It’s impossible to determine what art is so it’s pointless trying to. Before I went to art school I thought of studying literature, I was into books, psychology and architecture. In the end art seemed the best thing to study because it had everything.
And nothing in particular?
Yeah, I think other courses are more linear and not so much about thinking about things in general. I think it is very important to create and do things.
INTERVIEW : ALEX HISLOP