"The growth of the art scene and new venues pushing art in Cardiff at the moment is definitely an exciting prospect for the city."
In terms of creative minds in the capital it would be fair to say that this guy is definitely one to keep an eye on. His artwork can be found on many great music releases including the rising house duo Bodhi (who are getting 100k plus plays on their Soundcloud) and more recently the excellent collaboration with Snowpoet for their Butterfly EP. As well as having art exhibited in galleries he has also produced and released several beautiful pieces of music and curated the release of others through his dynamic website. 2015 looks like it's going to be an interesting year with new projects on the horizon and many collaborations already taking place. EMW would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the multi medium artist that is SnowSkull.
EMW: Hello and welcome to EMW. Please could you introduce yourself for those that might not know your work?
SS: Hi, I am Matthew Evans, a self-taught visual artist that works under the name of SnowSkull. My work lives across a variety of mediums including painting, digital, video and music production.
EMW: As a visual artist you are known as SnowSkull but I am also aware that you have quite a bit of involvement within the music community also?
SS: Correct. Music plays a very big part in my life and work. I try to stay involved with music and all that surrounds it as much as I can. I have had a long-term involvement with Kaptin & Chrome Kids, hosting a radio show that champions upcoming producers. More recently Daniel Avery and Moomin came to Cardiff to play the launch events for a project that I was working on: A host of local talent was brought together to release a collaborative EP (All Great Thoughts Are Conceived By Walking) and a subsequent remix album (All Great Re-thoughts). We wanted to inform people of the vast amount of talent on our own doorstep. Currently, I help run a live stream / podcast named Boxcast and early into 2015 I am launching a new project named ‘Sleep/Walk/Listen’, a project centred around trying to create even stronger links between music and visual arts.
EMW: On the SnowSkull website you sight dreams and lucid states as influences which comes across well in your work. How did you come to realise this phenomena as an influence?
SS: I have always been romanced by the concept of dreams, and the idea that anything is possible in your dreams. As I have said previously, and I truly believe, imagination is more powerful than knowledge, I like to create my own realities and in dreams we are the architects of these realities.
I am also fascinated with aspirations, conscience and the sub-conscious. I like to explore what forces drive us to be better people and how happiness differs between each person. Colour plays a huge part in communicating these influences through my work… using bright, vivid colours to represent the lucid states I wish to expose.
EMW: As a visual artist do you prioritise art over your other work, such as music making, working on radio or putting on events?
SS: Yes, I believe so... I think with the music, radio, and event work it's more planning ahead and working towards something but with SnowSkull (Art) it's a day to day thing and I’m always working on ways to progress
EMW: You’ve worked on some great album covers also. Who is on your radar at the moment?
SS: At the moment a large amount of my time is taken up with working on the creation of Sleep/Walk/Listen. I am also working on a project with good friends Bodhi, Next Door Films and Marc Wijers (INDO). A collaboration of ‘live Music’ and ‘Art in motion’ In terms of music release artwork, I have been commissioned to work with Attlaes, creating artwork for his forthcoming releases. Attlaes was one of the artists that featured on the All Great Re-thoughts remix album and has been a long term friend of mine. Plans are also being hatched to work with Richey Beckett, which I am very excited about as I am a big fan of his work.
Take a look at Sleep Walk Art Collective - sleepwalkartcollective.com/
EMW: You mentioned that a new project Sleep Walk Listen is on the horizon. Could you talk a little bit about this please?
SS: Sleep Walk Listen is a celebration of music and visual arts, our aim is to bring these two art-forms closer together through our work. Each month we will celebrate a DJ/producer through a partnership. A DJ mix will be available to stream and download from our digital spaces.
A unique artwork will be created to promote the partnership, as well as using this imagery to promote our partnership we also plan to sell a limited amount of these artworks in the form of screen prints. The artwork will be designed by visual artists that we partner with, which for the launch will be Jack Hardwicke and myself.
Longer term plans are to work even closer with the DJ’s and producers that we partner with. Our plans are to create a clothing range, promote live events, create music/arts installations and eventually create a label for artist releases… but this will come in time, once we have a very strong basis to work from.
EMW: Do you believe that bringing a visual aspect to events with live streams can draw more interest and participation from an audience?
SS: Yes I do believe It can make the audience feel that they are receiving a more personalised experience from the event, creating a stronger bond between themselves and the performance.
This will also help the promoters differentiate their event from other events
EMW: There is an exciting movement happening of space re-appropriation in Cardiff, turning galleries in to dance floors and warehouses in to one off dance events and mini food festivals. Is the traditional club environment still as important for the music lover in the capital?
SS: I think it's becoming less and less important. Factors such as the prices that the high street charge for their rates and city centre noise restrictions are forcing people to explore and work within new spaces. I don’t think that this is a bad thing, it forces creativity and mirrors Berlin’s model of re-appropriating and re-imagining buildings and spaces.
We live in recycled times and its clear that the 90s are being relived. People are choosing to go to house parties and warehouse parties rather than clubs, especially amongst the rave scene.
I have recently been involved in a few events at The Abacus in central Cardiff (A hub for the growing art scene) venues like this get you thinking about how best to promote your art, whether it be visual, musical or both working in tandem. The growth of the art scene and new venues pushing art in Cardiff at the moment is definitely an exciting prospect for the city.
An artwork from the 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' series that featured at SnowSkull's recent exhibition for The Art Hotel at The Abacus, Cardiff.
Jauge and SnowSkull's 'I Cannot Move But I Feel Everything' played throughout the exhibition space, accompanying the 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' pieces, that were effected and manipulated by light triggers. Listen below.
A piece from SnowSkull's 'Vestibular- Motor Sensation 1-12' series.
EMW: You also have produced your own music that is just as lucid as your art. It seems that house and techno seem to be huge influences?
SS: For me there’s only two different types of music – good and bad – so my interest in different styles and genres is always evolving. Sometimes you can get tired of, or outgrow, even really good music, but if you’ve spent time with it, you’ve learnt from it. And sometimes the reason certain types of music seem bad is because you don’t understand them or the conventions and history behind the genre.
I don't think the BPM of the music you make or the time signature you use should define who you are as a person or as an artist, but techno/house and electronica is where I am at right now in terms of output, and what inspires me.
I try to carry my influences through everything I do, and blend different styles from past & present. But in terms of creating electronic music, I feel like I’m miles away from where I want to be ability wise – I’ve only just started the learning process (baby steps!). I feel that music is a beautiful thing shared between friends and loved ones, it's tied to emotions and the way we feel at present. It's our friends that influence us the most, and I enjoy making music and learning from one of my best friends 'Jauge'.
Music needs time! The more you listen the more you learn.
EMW: Who else should we know about involved in making visual and/or musical art?
SS: I have to mention my partner in crime, Jack Hardwicke (One of my favorite artists).
Jack is involved with both of the Sleep/Walk & Sleep/Walk/Listen projects.
Ian Francis who I am continually in awe of his work. Other names that you should definitely check out if you don’t already know are Richey Beckett and Aidan Myers, Alex Sullivan & Wil Stewart. Also Colour Doomed and Helen Bur who are the artistic driving force behind The Abacus.
All apart from Ian Francis are local to Cardiff.