Artist Series:

Artists can be a strange breed. Sometimes they paint for themselves, and other times the art serves a purpose -- to convey a message or simply to release a pent up emotion just dying to get out.

When I see the work from UK cult artist Shardcore, I know that these pieces represent more than just the images at face value. There's something else in play. His mixed media work features pop culture icons juxtapozed with vibrant paint strokes.

The best part of Shardcore's work is that it's accessible -- and actually affordable -- thanks in part to more and more artists who utilize eBay instead of galleries to distribute their masterpieces.

In an effort to learn more about what makes Shardcore tick (and tock), I chatted with him on such topics as what drives him as an artist, as well as the themes captured on canvas.

What is your artistic background? When did you realize you wanted to be an artist? Why did you want to be an artist?
Every individual lives apart from the world with only their senses to create a representation for them. The artist offers a step into intermediate ground between individuals. They re-represent the world, as they see it, to others. Each of us are artists, every time you share a thought with another person, you are weaving a tapestry of representation for them to place inside their private world, in their context.

An "artist," in the traditional sense of the word, tends to create a physical object or other explicit representation for others to experience, be it a painting, a piece of music or a performance.

I have always been an artist. Much of my early work was based on music, sound and performance. More recently the work has been visually based. however, I see no real distinction between the forms that an artistic expression can take.

I'm with Duchamp -- it's art when I declare it so.

Many people are uncomfortable with the world of art, for they fear they are not part of it. That it is "difficult" or merely pointless. This could not be further from the truth, we are all part of art. We each have something to learn and something to contribute.

I have been an artist since my first breath.

What are the themes in your art? What types of subjects do you like to capture on canvas?
My recent works have embraced science, politics and accelerated culture. I want to know everything, and part of my frustration with partial knowledge manifests itself on the canvas. Painting offers a unique set of challenges and rewards, but the work often engages people in a way that other mediums cannot. Perhaps it's the weight of history that painting brings with it.

Often an overheard comment, or aphorism will ignite an idea, or perhaps a headline or piece of video. Or the way a nest of spindle-moth caterpillars move inside their silky cocoon.

Anything is fair game, as far as I'm concerned. Painting is a selfish and self-indulgent activity. Often something interesting happens when brain meets brush meets canvas. The glutinous sinews of paint congealing under my nails, or the smell of turpentine in the morning.

What do you hope people see when they look at your art?
I hope they see the world differently for a while. A great piece of art is like a secret tunnel. One never knows where one will emerge, or how one's internal world-view may be shifted.

What has been the reaction to your work?
There is always a reaction, which is nice, and mostly that reaction is positive. There is often a degree of confusion, and sometimes a slight feeling of nausea. I consider all of these to be satisfactory responses.

Do you consider your work controversial or political?
All art is political. Just as every action is political. Some of the work does explicitly deal with "politicians," however it seems that "celebrity" has as much, if not more, influence on our daily lives than politicians and the conflation of the two is an area of interest for me.

Politics is rock'n'roll for the ugly, and unfortunately their visual presentation can account for more of their popularity than their policies.

What other artists get you excited and why?
Amongst contemporary artists, i have a lot of time for Banksy and Mark Ryden, John Latham and the Chapman Brothers. Obviously, all for entirely different reasons.

Historically, from a pure technique perspective, it's difficult to fault Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon.

What inspires you to create?
It sounds like a cliche, but I create because I have to. I simply have too many ideas that must be investigated. each work of art is an experiment, and that experimental process is captured in the finished product.

What artistic medium do you prefer to work with and why?
I tend to jump about between media -- for the last year or so it's been mainly painting, lights and optical illusions. Right now I'm thinking about writing some pop songs.

What are you working on now?
Aside from the painting, I am working on some interference art. The first one is here.

And I have a number of photostereosynthesis commissions.

Where can people see and buy your work?
I've recently started experimentally creating work explicitly to sell on ebay. The intention is to paint and sell one a week, and see what happens. You can see some of my work here: Check out Shardcore's latest work for sale here on

All paintings copyright © Shardcore

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