Today we are talking with Central Saint Martin’s printmaking tutor, Sean Myers, to learn more about his work featured in the CSM Short Courses exhibition and to get a more in-depth look at his own artistic practice.
What is your full name and what short courses do you teach?
My name is Sean Myers and I teach Experimental Printmaking, Experimental Printmaking for 16 to 18 year olds and Mixed Media Printmaking at Central Saint Martins. I am also a former student at CSM (1990-97) and have been teaching at CSM since 1997.
How did you come to work in your field/discipline?
I studied for my B/TEC in Art and Design at Chelsea College of Art and Design between 1988-90, it was whilst on the painting pathway I discovered Chelsea having a small print room, behind the painting studios, and I immediately became fascinated by the indirect and sometime accidental mark-making possibilities in printmaking. This ‘back to front’ or reflective way of working is still a source of great excitement for me which I then pass on to students taking my courses at Central Saint Martins, and more recently Chelsea College of Arts.
Tell us about your work.
I have always been interested in portraying depth and movement when I make my work, as I like to challenge the notion that printmaking, and in particular screen-printing, can sometimes look quite flat and two dimensional. Looking for inspiration for this depth and movement whilst researching my thesis during the printmaking degree at CSM, I became hugely interested in science and nature, and the theories of the late, great theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking in his celebrated book ‘A Brief History of Time’ which he wrote to communicate his ideas to the science community but also in layman terms to the general public.
Without question he wrote about an incredibly ‘difficult to understand’ subject matter which challenges most peoples’ understanding of how humans, our world environment, galaxies and the universe works.
I thought he wrote beautifully in a very descriptive way, which helped me to visualise some of his theories such as; bubble and parallel universe(s) and the idea that tiny sub-atomic particles (found in everything we see) can occupy a multi-layered position in space/time.
The type of language he uses is very descriptive and really is still a starting point and continued source of inspiration for me and how I see my art progressing.
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you stay inspired?
It comes from reading about contemporary scientific ideas, particularly ‘particle physics’. I also use my digital camera a lot, as I always carry it on me, looking for temporary moments in nature which depict interesting compositions, colour, tone, texture, light, movement and energy.
What are you working on at the moment?
My imagination pays homage to Hawking’s theories of multi-dimensional space/time and I next really want to explore this in much greater depth and how his way of thinking is also linked to nature and the human body through my work on skin, cellular structure and also the natural energies found in plants and how it all relates to a broader scientific and artistic understanding of the subject. I am also working on how to combine art and scientific understanding into a curriculum so science is more attractive to young people in schools as well as artists and academics in higher education.
Tell us about the work you submitted, being featured in the Central Saint Martins Short Courses exhibition.
The unique prints in the CSM window gallery are mainly multi-layered screen-prints and mono-prints reflecting my idea of being visually influenced only by Stephen Hawking’s text without any artist or secondary visual reference.
In these works’ I created my own ‘primordial’ experiments in petri dishes to depict energy, depth and movement using various inks, pigments and water. I then photographed the results with the intention of making photographic stencils for my multi-layered way of working in the screen-printing process.
I like to use printmaking as my medium of choice for the art I make, as it has this similarity of process (layering and intuitive thought) with Hawking’s view of our ‘quantum’ world which also seems very layered, random and abstract to our understanding right now. My imagination pays homage to his theories of multi-dimensional space/time and I next really want to explore in much greater depth, on how his way of thinking is also linked to nature and the human body through my work on skin, cellular structure and natural energies.
Which piece of creative work, in any discipline, do you think everyone should see and why?
Any work by artists Gerhard Richter or Anselm Kiefer due to the sheer scale, colour, mark-making, movement and physical presence of their art. Richter in particular used a screen-printing squeegee to produce the fast moving waves of colour merges in his paintings, whilst Kiefer uses so many textural materials and mixed-media imagery to determine his ideas on memory and human existence.
What is the best bit of advice you have ever received?
To trust your creative gut instinct and to embrace and learn from your mistakes, and never overthink your ideas, as you will end up not experimenting with them in the making process.
What advice would you give to aspiring creatives?
Embrace all types of influence from the world around us even if you don’t think it is not directly related to art and design. In my view, creativity is a personal expression of what we see, hear and do in our lives and we all think differently to one another. Work hard to try to find your voice/style and ask yourself; how are you different, original and unique from other art and design practitioners?
If you like Sean’s work, pay a visit to his website. Feeling inspired to get creative and experimental? There are also upcoming dates available to book now upon Sean’s Experimental Printmaking and Mixed Media Printmaking courses …see you there!