This month I chat with artist Stuart Semple about his next exhibition in Los Angeles, his new book and how he overcame fear and anxiety due to a near death experience. Stuart has enjoyed a successful artistic career spanning 13 years, with over 15 international and solo exhibitions. Stuart is arguably best known for his public artwork ‘Happy Cloud’ in which he flooded the London skyline from outside Tate Modern with thousands of pink happy-faced clouds. The clouds floated from Tate modern towards London’s financial district.
Did you always feel drawn to art?
I think all children are drawn to art. I’ve been drawing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. It’s a great way to be creative and express your emotions.
Who inspires you as an artist?
I’m inspired by artists such as Van Gogh and Francis Bacon, but I’m also inspired by books, poetry and films.
I understand that you had a near death experience whilst you were at Sculpture College. Can you explain what happened?
I had a sudden near death experience following an allergic reaction. I officially died.
Can you explain how you felt after your near death experience?
It was difficult. I felt alone and I didn’t know anybody else who had gone through something like that. In those days people didn’t understand mental health.
Did you see a therapist?
Yes, I originally tried group therapy, but I didn’t really take to that. I then tried CBT and that helped, but during that time I just kept drawing and painting. My art work was a way of expressing myself and it gave me a way of seeing things from a different perspective.
What advice would you give someone going through something similar to your experience?
Don’t think that you have to deal with things alone; it’s ok to ask for help.
What’s next for you?
I have an exhibition this October in Los Angeles called ‘My Sonic Youth’ which I’m really looking forward to. I also have a book, which has just been released.
What is the book called?
The book is called ‘My happy colouring flick book’. It ties in with that therapeutic approach to art. When I feel panicky I doodle and draw. I feel it helps calm me. I also feel that adults sometimes forget to be playful and creative.
You can find out more about Stuart Semple and his work at www.stuartsemple.com
Article by Christopher Willingham Mncp
Photos by Nadia Amura
Christopher is a professional Counsellor, Psychotherapist and Clinical Hypnotherapist, he has clinics throughout Hull and the East Riding. To book an appointment contact Christopher on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07779121743