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Art Slave: An interview with Laurie Vincent on his first solo art show

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More used to laying waste to the city’s live music venues as one-half of punk duo Slaves, Laurie Vincent descends on Edinburgh this week for a different reason.

The guitarist is showcasing a collect collection of paintings at his first solo art exhibition at Flaubert Gallery as part of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Fringe seems like the perfect arena for this venture. Since its founding in 1947 it has retained an open access policy.

Without an overruling body who determines who can and cannot partake in the festival, the non-regulatory event is a fitting setting for a display of ‘punk’ art.

Feeling both “excited” and “a bit apprehensive” ahead of the opening of his exhibition, Vincent said, “I’m not really sure what it’s going to be like. But I’m just excited to see everything up on the wall… you spend all this time in the studio and you never get to see it all together in the collection”.

Unlike his work with Slaves which is “two of us making music”, he described painting as “a more therapeutic outlet”.

He views his paintings to be “completely my opinions… it’s completely my outlet”.

Although perhaps more widely known for his musical talent at present, Vincent has been painting from since he was “really young”.

“I’ve been painting and drawing since I was a kid… I remember just sitting around painting with my sister”.

Significant artistic influences for Vincent include Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Raymond Pettibon and Frida Kahlo. Clear comparisons can be drawn between his work and each of these artists, with references to Pop-Art, street art, flat semi-abstraction, illustrative techniques and introspection.

However, whilst in some ways comparable to the works of the aforementioned artists, his paintings that are due to be exhibited at Flaubert Gallery have a strikingly individual and distinctive style.

Describing his artistic style, Vincent considered it to be both “very simple” and “bold”, and filled with “all the ideas in my head… I’ve got a lot of ideas I guess”.

Despite a clear natural ability for painting, he did not enjoy formal art education. Following completion of a foundation course in art, he started a degree in illustration, but dropped out after deciding that he was “not really built for education”.

He explained, “I don’t think you can really tell someone how to be an artist or teach them opinions. It’s more about your own instincts”.

He relationship with art is DIY, mirroring his musical output and the attitude displayed in Slaves.

The relationship to the formal structures of art are highlighted in his arts representation of religion as controlled and controlling.

Discussing the Church, he said, “It’s all around us, and…forced in front of us from a really early age”. He added, “I don’t like the idea that you have to believe what you’re told”.

Within Vincent’s paintings, religion can be seen as comparable to a belief in aliens and the supernatural as he draws attention to set beliefs prescribed to us in society.

Within his paintings are several recurring motifs and concepts.

A particularly prominent idea carried throughout the exhibition is the theme of colour and vibrancy. “I like things to be super bright and vibrant”, he said.

“I remember, when I was younger in class, someone saying that neon pink wasn’t a natural colour and the teacher pointed out that all colours are natural and that’s how we came by them”.

Believing that all colours known and available to us should be used and celebrated in art, his exhibition will be filled with life and colour.

Throughout Vincent’s collection of paintings can be seen simplistic depictions of unexceptional everyday objects, as he adopts a Pop-Art approach and “takes mundane objects and puts the spotlight on them”.

An example of which is the recurring appearance of plastic shopping bags in his art. With the introduction of the 5p charge on shopping bags in October 2015, the previously unremarkable objects became talking-points: “[Plastic bags] strike conversations in people”, Vincent considered. Whether regarding the bags’ distinctive designs or the big-name shops they represent, Vincent is interested in the ways in which “people talk about their favourite carrier bags”.

When attending the exhibition, Vincent hopes for his paintings to encourage conversations and spark ideas; he wants “people to have opinions on it”.

Filled with ideas and concepts that are as bright and bold as the colours, the exhibition is not to be missed.

 

Laurie Vincent’s solo art exhibition opens at Flaubert Gallery on 4th August 2016 with an invite-only event and will be open to the public from 5th-17th August 2016.

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