Loose Lips

Resonance Series: Craig Ridd

Feature

Resonance Series: Craig Ridd


Welcome to this edition of the 'Resonance’ series - a new feature, curated by Jasper Golding, about the interplay between art forms. A love for showcasing and sharing music is at the centre of Loose Lips and there are numerous ways in which this can be done.

Music massively influences visual art, and vice versa. This feature, running every month, introduces you to musical individuals via their visual art first, telling a personal story of their creative output and how the different mediums influence each other.

This month we give you Craig Ridd!

 


Craig is the kind of artist that must exist in a studio, with an expressive style and a mixed media output, he is a master of ordered chaos. Craig's mind draws on pieces of inspiration from introspective resonances and melds them into works that don’t just speak about their mind, but posit revelations in the reader's eye. Giving a sense that the viewer is not alone, a source of solace for anyone who struggles with the internal turmoils of everyday life, reminding the viewer that even smaller problems deserve to be tackled. 





We got the chance to speak to them about their work and learn about the influences and processes behind it's making, here's a bit of reflection from Craig:

“Making art can put me in a pretty emotionally vulnerable place, I use music to keep me grounded in that.

“I’m constantly searching for artists that find a balance between being tender and heavy handed.

“Cities Aviv, Andy Stott, Broadcast, Sonic Youth, Indian Summer, Bogdan Raczysnki, The Julie Ruin, Eartheater, Yeule; this relationship between artists is something very present in all of my work.

“I’m a very visual person. I'm always just in awe at the music people manage to create and refine out of experiments.

“So many of my friends are magic with that stuff, seeing them push and pull a composition until it is so undoubtedly their’s, always keeps me inspired to keep making and keep defining who I am in my work.

“I used to DJ a lot, now It's only when I’m in a real particular mood, but in them booths and at them clubs surrounded by them friends is absolutely where I found the confidence to just make art and be the version of me that does that every day.”


~Out to strange riddims, BoyGirl, Loose Lips, Soup Kitchen, White Hotel, Hidden and Hass’ Indigo (rip)~

Your work often involves print methods drawing paint and collage what led you to working in this mixed media way?

“Growing up I always just used whatever I could get my hands on, we never had loads of art supplies around. I used a lot of old notebooks, graph paper, old marker pens, biros; things my parents could get spare from work.”

“As I got older this grew into my practise looking at any object and seeing if it had potential to make a mark. Now I've got a studio full of bits and bobs there’s a lot of moments of 'I wonder  what that'll look like' and that keeps my attention. Everything I make is a bit of a surprise at the end.”



The duality between tenderness and heavy-handedness is present in your work. Does this reflect in the music you are into?

“Absolutely, that relationship is definitely something I search for in sounds. I mean I think you have to identify with something to love it and I only listen to music that really makes me feel a certain way, seen, I guess.”

“I’m always listening to something I can’t stand the quiet, whatever mood I'm in. Something this flavour will ground me.”

“It's been present in all the music I've loved since I was young from early grime beats to youth crew hardcore and 2009 type indie shit, Klaxons, CSS and them guys - not that Bombay Bicycle Club business - its always just resonated with me (ha).”

Your work represents beautiful interpretations of human bodies, block textured. What is your thinking behind this?

“Although I don't necessarily create these shapes with an intention behind them I’ve found that whatever is in my head comes out of my hands.”

“I think these forms stem from body dysmorphia and identity issues, something that's been in my head since I was a kid. Definitely a reflection of how I see myself.”

“Drawing these bodies has helped me understand myself and connect the different parts of me, a bit like showing my working, as I've processed these big feelings to a point where they are manageable.”


Things get less scary once you understand what they look like properly.



How do you go about working to a commission for a client and how does that differ from personal work?

“I like to think of myself as a bit of a handy person with client work. I just love making art of any kind and I really enjoy solving the puzzle of something I haven't done before.”

“You've gotta fight your way through a lot of stress and feelings of not being good enough, but I think getting to the other side of that repeatedly is the closest you can get to objective proof that you're good at what you do.”

“There can be a fine line between personal work and client work, they all bleed into each other. I'm always making something, trying something new out. So, I do have to watch out for that.  What I've been working on in my spare time is usually present in the sketches I'll start with for a client but I mainly just work intuitively and pick/curate the bits that will work from the massive piles I end up with.”


You have another instagram account, @loose.sheets, which gives the impression of a kind of diary of realisations. What's the process behind making these?

“Yeah definitely, these are the drawings that I do constantly throughout the day and night to help me better understand what's going on in my life and in my head. I always have big feelings whatever emotion it is, these help me manage them.”


Sometimes they're nonsense, sometimes they are heavy but they're all me.


“It's a bit of an exercise in not running away from myself, and I think posting them publicly is part of that and other people take something from them too, it’s nice to know we're all in something.”



You spoke endearingly of the shared experiences behind DJ decks and your thoughts behind visual art seem to be influenced by those around you too. How do others influence your work?

“Being surrounded by a community so happy to see their peers win is constantly inspiring. Whether it’s venue managers, Artists, DJs or Promoters. Everyone's just pulling up infinite chairs to a wobbly table.”


There will always be enough room here. Of course there's other bigger 'nicer' tables but forget about them ya know?


“When I was younger a lot of my work was about home and now club spaces are quite present throughout and as corny as it sounds they feel like the same thing to me. Nowhere else have I felt as able to be myself and express that, that's the thing I needed really. To allow myself to make art, and all the time taking risks, seeing what happens, doing it for the love. That's all stuff I learned from being around clubs, DJs and other artists.”



Your ideas about refinement out of experiments are interesting. Do paintings and collages come to you as you are making them or do you go into it with an idea and how do you benefit off this method?

“Sometimes I work from sketches or plans but I rarely stick to them. Once I get there I usually just start throwing paint about in an effort to defeat empty space, which always feels daunting. I used to have piles of empty sketchbooks full of nice paper that I was scared to use, so I started using scrap paper and thinner paper for everything. It helped me get out of my head a bit and now it’s my main thing.”

“It just feels more natural for me to go into something with feeling rather than logic in painting. I often start with abstraction then see what shapes appear, I let that lead what I’m doing. With client work I squeeze my head for every possible direction and follow up on the ones that feel like they're a bit of me.”

“Sometimes I make work that feels like a stranger's done it, my style feels less like a visual thing and more if it’s got a bit of who I am in it and that's definitely tied to experimenting constantly. I never try to draw a certain way, it’s just what comes out when I get there, even the mistakes are just how it came out. I very rarely throw anything away or don't use it because it's not good enough.”


I did it and that's all I'm trying to do really.



Craig has a zine coming out next month:


‘It's a love letter to the smoked out sweaty basements and clubs that let me be myself in loudly and without judgement, keep an eye out!