GUEST: Iain Maclean themaclean.co.uk
TRANSCRIPT OF THE PODCAST
M: Hello and welcome to the podcast, the podcast for art lovers.
I`m Michele Janes, an abstract artist myself and you can see my work, find more details about me and this podcast at AbstractVisions.co.uk.
To follow along with this podcast, just go there now, click on the links for the article for “Podcast 1”. So, that is www.abstractvisions.co.uk.
With me today is Iain Maclean who you will find at themaclean.co.uk.
M: Hello Iain and how are you today?
I: Fine thanks.
M: Let`s just quickly talk about you yourself. Tell us about your truly unique art form?
I: Well, basically I capture memories and make portraits, not in paint, photographs, or even sounds….I make it in smells! I started experimenting with them in the 70`s at Goldsmiths College. There were real problems in terms of catching the smells firstly and maintaining them. The problem is that smells fade after a time. However, recently, I suppose not that recently, I suppose the last 10 years or so, there is new technology with some clever machine which basically analyses and reconstitutes odour, odour molecules. You can now replicate any smells, chemically.
M: That`s amazing. So how do you actually show them to the public?
I: I`ve been struggling with that one for years…I basically…I use a vehicle depending on who I am, or what smell I am trying to project. So, my grandmother was a tree with cups on it, containing all the different smells I associated with her. My father who was in the army, was a suitcase, covered in stickers of all the places he went to. When you open it up, inside it, it`s full of all the things like the smell of Brylcreem, leather…..I couldn`t put Whiskey in because the smell would fade. All the things I associated with my dad. So, that is how I present it. Others I`ve done in, I was trying to use boxes and things like that.
M: And….err….tell me, who if anyone would you compare your art to? Is there is anybody out there who does similar things to you?
I: I don`t think so. There is one amazing women, a chemist and she`s got more degrees than a thermometer. And she has been capturing smells. She is trying to invent a language of smells. I only came across this quite recently. I don`t think she would describe herself as an artist though. She is a scientist.
M: Do you as a matter of interest, do you work with other kinds of paints or other mediums, or is it just the smells that you base you art form on?
I: Yes, yes. I do that as well. I was brought up in Africa near the Congo. So, everything was big and the smells were very vivid and colours and that kind of stuff. So, I use a lot of bright colours. I started with sculpture actually because obviously I didn`t see any western art. I didn`t go to a gallery until I was about 16-17 and all I saw were some books. So, I started with sculpture.
M: So, Iain I would like to ask you about some of the recent abstract art stories that have been trending around the world. If you are following us on the website at www.abstractvisions.co.uk then click on the first link to have a look what we are looking at.
Abstract Painting made from…can you believe….fly puke! It`s just one of them. A John Knuth. The thought of how they are produced turns my stomach! What is your opinion on this Iain?
I: I have a real problem with this as well, because I am coming from Africa and I don`t like flies at all!
I think the guy is trying too hard to be different. Mozart said, “I don`t try to be different, I just am”. So, I don`t know. There is this other girl called Millie Brown, I don`t know if you have heard of her….she pukes up all over her canvasses and there are other artists as well. There is one in Chile. This one does something worse. I don`t know if we should be censoring this but this women (Ingrid Berthon-Moine) collects menstrual blood over five years and she`s had a big exhibition Errr. Have you heard of of a guy called Seth Godin? He said, “Be remarkable”…..
M: ….we`ve got another one actually Iain, to have a look at. A guy based on Toronto, called Jazzberry Blue and he`s created this series of abstract maps, of trains maps in the worlds most famous cities. What do you think?
I: I like that. I think that is really nice.
M: It`s better isn`t it. It`s slightly better isn`t it.
I: You see it`s not pretentious. It`s not trying to shock you. It`s just interesting and intriguing. You know what it reminds me of? You know the London Tube map? It was designed by a guy who I think was working in his spare time on the London Underground and that`s been copied all around the world for all the different tubes…..
M: ….yes…it`s been made into prints hasn`t it and it`s sold in shops…..
I: It`s interesting, diagrammatic, it`s colourful and it`s you know…it`s fun. You know some people actually say it`s quite emotionally involving.
M: I hate to be a bit of a killjoy. I find no warmth in these pictures…..
I: …..well…I like them, they are not pretentious They are not shocking, they are just fun.
M: Yes, that`s a good comment, they are just fun.
I: It`s just fun. It`s decorative. It`s the kind of thing you can see going on walls all over the place. It`s not something that `grabs you`. I`ve got to have more than that.
You are a Rothco fan aren`t you?
M: Yes. I am a bit
I: Have you come across….I remember…..people say one of the things he wrote was a thing which he said. “I`m not interested in the relationship between colour or form or anything else”, he said, (he was) interested in expressing basic human emotion”. You know?
M: Oh well, I`m sorry but we`ll have to round up this really interesting conversation today with you Iain.
Don`t forget to stay up to date with the `Abstract Visions` podcast and find out who is on and all the latest news on Twitter @AbstractArtUK. Or, simply sign up via the website and I`ll send you a very brief reminder when it is on next. And goodbye to you Iain.
I: Thank you Michele.