This latest artist showcase highlights beautiful, haunting drawings and zines by Cloud Parliament.
I’d like to be shod
When did your interest in art/creating begin and what is your starting point for each piece?
I don’t recall having an interest: it was always something integral, something I did. When I was about three I used to lift the kitchen drain cover and plunge my feet into the water then pad about making filthy prints on the garden flagstones (parents installed a convex car mirror so they could spot me about to lift the grid!) Then I progressed to making ‘boats’ out of soil, digging holes in the garden and mounding the displaced soil to make a ship around the hole in which I’d sit for hours. I used to see whirls, spirals spinning across the ceiling (eidetic imagery, I think) and lights and shapes and forms and patterns and people and things. I always drew, often with words alongside. The images rise up out of a kind of darkness -not sure how to describe it. Sometimes in the darkness is an eye watching/keeping watch – not always a human eye. Then I know there’s an image about to rise. It’s often sort of spotlit or, if it’s black-and-white it has a filigree fineness to it, a 3D lace-like quality. I try and sketch them when they arrive. Then I work on them, sometimes drawing great blocks of very dark graphite and carving into it with an eraser. Others are fine-pencil to match the filigree origins.
Who/what influences your work?
I have a world and everything I create pertains to that world, is part of it. I get sudden connections – there’s a whole thing with steam-genies created out of hot food steam – they dissipate as steam does but can be collected and saved from immediate obsoletion in jamjars. When they do revert to water – it’s their blood – and their blood is homeopathy. Pieces of information arise. Alongside images. I love comedy and a lot of my pieces are inspired by the need to create something comedic, wry and awry. But I love Chagall (his colours, his mysticism!), Van Gogh, Paul Klee, Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo — Eddie Izzard, Ivor Cutler, Lisa Hannawalt, Gabrielle Bell, Dominique Goblet, Kitty Crowther. I have an ever shifting pantheon although no one ever vanishes from it, they may just be given a slight red shift 🙂
Death having undergone cosmetic surgery replacing their ribs with vertical blinds
What do you hope the viewer gets from your work?
A viewer! Blimey, what do I hope they get from my work? The kind of sudden shift you get when something makes you laugh. A new set of synapse connections… the images arrive, the place they rise from feels real real. Maybe one of the viewers will also recognise something and, who knows, by viewer triangulation we can pinpoint exactly where it is and, together, set off on an expedition.
Critter Tie Seller
What do you think about the term Outsider Art? Is there a term that you think works better?
Outsider Art? It’s fine as a portmanteau description. It’s an inclusion zone for we normally excluded bods and our outre output: it suggests a place of acceptance as long as we accept what we are. Sometimes acceptance is tough since it’s acknowledging an unbreachable gulf. I think it is a term more to enable people who are not outsider artists to feel that it’s okay to gain something from seeing work that isn’t conducting itself with the usual propriety and that can’t be understood by bringing the usual keys-to-the-understanding-of-art to it — it lets them pick the lock. And that’s good.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on my Map Battalion — the actual personnel and their effects. I’m — as always –creating Cloud Parliament: capturing the exploits of my troubadors who are a kind of water-larvae and part of the Perpetual Choir, and on bottled (as in liquid in bottles) journeys and the journeywomen/men who bottle them, working in giant fountain pans: I’m drawing the moon’s liposuction scars: and a sequence of binbag mermaids who steal from people who are turning into boats on the moat infested with troubadours…
Mediums as Bolts of Cloth
Where do you see your work taking you in the future?
Oh, that’s a difficult question to place in one’s head and pick at! It’s been a surprise how much joy I get from people seeing my work, although when no-one saw it (and if no one sees it) the work will continue and continue because, to misquote Emily Bronte, I am my flipping pictures/doodles/verbal snippets. I’ve been letting the words diminish. Sometimes these days I have problems speaking. I’ve always thought in images. Now I’m letting them through, not blocking them in any way, I’m growing silent. Except for the sound pieces (which I’m making less of). I think the art (or, rather, the world from which they emanate) wants to be seen. Wants to wander about and establish an embassy in this other, greatly excluding world. It wants a spot of detente. I want my art to take me.
Cloud Parliament’s Zines:
(to be read from top right, zig-zag down, and end at top left)