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Interview: Steve the Painter - I like it bright! Print E-mail
Wednesday, 30 November 2005
This nice interview with Steve was originally published at  Steve talks about his approach to painting and also acting.  You may remember that he portrayed Shylock in a recent production of The Merchant of Venice.

mem: you've been working with a new medium of late. when and why did you start painting?

sk: i started painting at the suggestion of my brother who suggested i paint my new album cover this was in 2002 i had never painted before although i had a little aptitude for drawing , so i applied some of my old silk screening techniques to get me started. later on some friends introduced me to pastels and how to use them and i discovered gouache was more suitable than watercolour i'm still learning how to use different paintbrushes and i know nothing about colour... except that i like it bright.

mem: since 2002 you've produced a substantial amount of work and there seems to be an 'ease' to your renderings, like a dormant talent all these years has finally found a way out through color and brush and gouache. you paint mostly portraits - a wide sort of family, friends, deities, self-portraits or even an occasional literary figure or hollywood starlet - do you just wake up one morning and think "Joan Crawford". "Today i'm going to paint Joan Crawford'!?"

sk: i'm always at a loss for things to paint... so i could do joan crawford tho i'd rather do joan of arc i do a lot of self portraits because i'm there... i mean, i've always got my own face with me and unlike other models i don't get tired and i'm very cooperative as a model i think people are always more interested in human faces than almost anything else ... just like your holiday snaps... people would rather look at you in front of the pyramids than just the pyramids on their own....

mem: i read an interview with the dali lama sometime ago and in it he mentioned he was "hopelessly addicted" to the BBC. i thought that kinda odd, as i've always thought of addiction only in a negative sense. do you feel as if you may be developing a painting addiction?

sk: i am obsessed definitely imagine being half a century old and then discovering something that you love and you gotta make up for lost time and the more you practice the more its all coming back to me if i can learn to switch off my feeble brain deep down inside of me is good painter trying to be heard above the din of my thoughts...



mem: ok. how bout a diversion into the theatrical: how did you land the role of shylock in the merchant of venice beach?

sk: well i stumbled upon the auditions. my companions suggested i audition... the guys knew "who i was" - i got the part as shylock it was all very easy for me, really - and i discovered one thing: you can take drugs and paint you can take drugs and write songs and sing' em, you can take drugs and write poetry - however you cant take drugs and act.... the play went very well and i'd like to do more. i have a bit of an aptitude for it i reckon...

mem: in TMOVB there has always been a lot of worry about the anti-semitic undertone - what liberties or new direction did this production take? also, i heard you wrote and performed part of the musical score. is that true?

sk: we agonized a lot over anti semitism. we had lots of arguments - at one stage the director wanted to take a lot of the specific nasty interjections out of the trial scene - but eventually we decided it would mean less sympathy for shylock... a bit of a paradox. i mean shylock was a mean stubborn old bastard but then again he was kicked spat on and abused by the "christians'. i played him with no accent or jewish accessories. i ended up liking him a lot actually.

yes, i wrote piece of music... or should i say i set one of shylock's monologues to music. it started out slow and quiet, then in the middle the girl backing vox came in and i rocked out a little - it wasn't any great masterpiece tho... [virtual laughs]

mem: what text did you use?

sk: when laban and himself were compromised.... until and thrift is a blessing if men steal it not... it's in shylock's 1st scene...


"No, not take interest, not, as you would say, Directly interest: mark what Jacob did. When Laban and himself were compromised That all the eanlings which were streak'd and pied Should fall as Jacob's hire, the ewes, being rank, In the end of autumn turned to the rams, And, when the work of generation was Between these woolly breeders in the act, The skilful shepherd peel'd me certain wands, And, in the doing of the deed of kind, He stuck them up before the fulsome ewes, Who then conceiving did in eaning time Fall parti-colour'd lambs, and those were Jacob's. This was a way to thrive, and he was blest: And thrift is blessing, if men steal it not."


mem: is there anything else that stands out in your mind about the performance?

sk: the piece started out gently then on the line "when the work of generation..." it became kinda chuck berry the girlie backing singers appeared in big wigs then it went down quiet again for the end... [more virtual laughs]

mem: what are you working on now, as far as painting goes?

sk: i'm working on a cover painting for our new ep - coming out in november. it's like adam and eve in a weird street pastel , gouache on a big piece of paper...

mem: what painters do you admire? who stands out among the rest for you?

sk: van gogh, picasso, durer, klimt, max ernst, frida kahlo, alex grey

mem: hodler and paul gauguin seem to be kindred spirits to you as well...

sk: i forgot to mention that i idolize henri rousseau...

ah, gaugin yes... hodler i don't know, but you know what... i am a naive artist, a real naive artist, here's why... 1. no training whatsoever 2. uses bright colours 3. no real idea of how perspective works 4. inordinate attention to some details 5. came to painting late in life 6. started off a sunday painter.

mem: sounds about right to me...

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 November 2005 )
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