Pete Wiseman’s album ‘Swim’ is officially being released on the 5th of Feb to coincide with his participation in ‘On Vanishing Land’ at The Showroom, London.
It will cost £7.00 and 75% of profits will go directly to Pete to support his practice!
It will be available from this blog via mail order, it will be available through Editions of You at various publishing fairs, it will be available at the [RHP] CDRs Launch Party at the Hare & Hounds [19-2-2013 where Pete will be performing], it will be available at Althorpe Studios and Gallery at various exhibitions and events and various other places which will be announced once they are confirmed!
We recently had a discussion with Pete about his work which you can read below:
I’m really interested in your varying takes on composition. Your paintings and drawings seem to be very precisely composed and yet your musical output is based strongly on improvisation yet both are subtle and require time to absorb. Are your methods of making form, whilst appearing opposed to each other, linked in any specific way?
Improvisation is actually central to both. That’s what I’m really interested in. I do use specific compositions when painting, but I improvise in terms of style and technique – I’m playing around with all that, finding out what I can do, enjoying surprises. Musically at this point I’m familiar enough with the guitar that evident mistakes are unusual, and I start to enjoy improvising live with my loops and Stewart’s tasty bass. A typical single tune of mine would be the most successful section of a larger, messier piece, tidied up with post-production. Similarly, I tend to avoid measuring or sketching on the canvas and just begin painting – begin with enthusiasm and see what happens …and then work it into a balanced image. I believe it is possible to colour and shade almost any composition into a satisfactory piece if I work at it freely, as any musical note can be valid if handled well. When painting from life, a picture completed in one session is most similar in nature to a recording of improvised music – composition and all.
Balance is a word that springs to mind fairly readily when considering your works! How do you approach and develop content within your practice? I know you frequently work on commissions; does this work vary in content to ‘your own’ work? I suppose I could ask about your work in various bands and ensembles here too, does that differ to, say ‘Swim’ which is again ‘your own’ work which we’re about to release via [RHP] CDRs?
Some commissions are exercises in the craft of painting, really, but it’s always a process of discovery and surprise because I avoid having ‘a method’. My own painted portraits are of present and past friends and family, from photographs and from life. I am interested in the influence of small changes on the overall feeling of an image or figure. I can encourage useful accidents by starting rough and then gradually refining. The way I use acrylics allows for endless correction and refinement, so success is certain given time. My technique is intuitive. I could not mix colour until I was 36. I appreciate the collaborative aspect of music, which I think is a superior model to that of the solitary painter. I still like to record an unbroken hour or two of group-improvising and then go in search of the good bits. The recording process is fragile and optimistic, whereas editing is brutally judgmental. I’ve been working this way for several years with Justin Barton, who appears on swim. ‘YAMOW’ is his song, but my piano line was invented while he sang it, which influenced how he sang it, so the whole is a surprise to everyone. It’s group work. The rest of the album is solo music. 36 Reverses is quite heavily post-produced, but the rest is basically live performance with looping so the content of the music just happens on the spur of the moment. The content of an album has been tidied up and curated.
I was just thinking about influence; are there specific artists, musicians or writers (or anybody else) who have inspired you? What is it about them you have found useful?
At art school I tried to avoid being influenced. That was important to me for a long time, until I realized I was being influenced by musicians.
By 1998 my art practice had boiled down to ‘automatic drawing’, which related to old Surrealist techniques and Paul Klee but also to improvised music. I love the idea of just starting – making some mark or sound and following it to an unexpected conclusion.
‘Let the Power Fall’ was the crucial album: Robert Fripp builds soothing oceans of sound one harsh guitar note at a time! It’s easy to investigate this process by listening to its product. I was stunned that one instrument could make such an expansive sound, live in front of an audience.
Most recently I was influenced by Lucien Freud. A year ago I was gleefully discovering paint but unsure about subject matter. On visiting Freud’s big retrospective in London I decided to share his obstinate stance of depicting people regardless of artistic fashion etc. Can we grasp even the basic facts of our existence?