Michael Nagle [michaelnagle]
What do you do? How do you define yourself as an artist?
I produce artificial realities by the old-fashioned method of applying coloured minerals ground in oil onto a stretched cloth using a variety of sticks with hairs glued into their ends.
What is your message?
I don't have one. And I don't trust people who do.
Your biography in four lines.
Raised in a farming village, happiest among animals, or children, or fields, or alone. Problem hair. Dream often of other cities I could/have lived in - New York, Paris, Dublin, Krakow. Irritated disproportionately by celebrities, and often by the art world.
Do you upload your work to the web? If so, where could we see it?
Proper website coming soon.
How is an idea born? For you, what is inspiration?
Ideas very often spring from something I've read. The danger of that is that the work can risk ending up as a sterile kind of illustration, its boundaries and frame of reference set in stone even before the paint starts going on the canvas. More recently I find myself trawling through thousands of images online and in books, until something clicks, until something is suggested. 'Inspiration' means little to me - work is the only process that ever makes anything happen.
What role does technology play in your creative process?
I make extensive use of photo-manipulation applications like photoshop, as well as sourcing much of my visual material from random locations online.
What is art?
An act of fakery that has no purpose or value, and is beautiful for precisely those reasons.
When do you get your best ideas?
How do you evaluate whether an idea is good or not?
I ask God. Or my girlfriend. Or Moth, my mum's cat.
Three creative ideas that you would have liked to have created?
1] Joyce's 'Ulysses' (though I would resent the lifetime of hard learning that would be necessary for the task)
2] the complex but extremely beautiful canon-form of the final Agnus Dei from Josquin's 'Missa L'homme armé sexti toni'
3] the apocalyptic dream sequences in Tarkovsky's 'Offret' ('The Sacrifice')
When and how did you begin to see yourself as an artist?
When I felt intensely, hatefully jealous of the rather decent drawing of a dog that my friend David Evans produced at primary school.
Why do so many artists and creators have such volatile personalities?
Do they? Is there any statistical evidence for this? I believe that volatile sub-editors and financial auditors are merely less likely to have their idiosyncrasies recorded for posterity.
Do you consider yourself postmodern?
This is a silly question, but it does conceal an anagram: 'OUR ROSY N.Y. MOOD CONFUSED OLD PRIEST'
How should a work of art be evaluated?
A work of art should be evaluated by dividing its social or political worthlessness by the square root of its aesthetic indispensability.
Must an artist reinvent him/herself everyday?
No. An artist has a good life so there is no need. A plumber or a battery hen must, however, lest they go insane from boredom or peck themselves and their friends to a miserable death.
Which artists do you admire and how do they influence your work?
Too many for the good of my work, but principally Joyce, Stravinsky, Whitman, Degas, Bill Viola, Melville, and Howie Dard.
What do you think about public funding for the arts?
Lose the nappies. Stand on your own feet. Aren't we ashamed to take money from other people's pay packets?
Is art necessary?
No - and for that reason, yes.
Does it pain you to let go of a piece you have sold?
Every work sold is a blessing for which I am grateful.
Is a work of art purchased, or is it better said, that it is the artist who is bought?
Art is not so precious or so special that its buying or selling deserve ruminations as self-indulgent as that. Artists make work. Hopefully some of it gets bought. Then more gets made.
In art, there is no guide. How do you know what the next step is?
On paper it's easy; you take everything you've learned over the years, add at least one new element without upsetting the balance, decide to disregard at least one element that seemed like a good idea but perhaps no longer works, again without upsetting the balance, then cross it all out and start again.
How do you feel about the fact that the pieces exhibited in contemporary art museums are often of artists already deceased?
Time is the best quality control in that respect. I don't mind it.
What role have the figures of art dealer, gallery owners, representatives, and intermediaries in general played in your career?
They have played the roles of art dealer, gallery owner, representative, and intermediary.
What types of jobs do you usually do?
I try to earn a living by my art, not always with total success.
Which of your jobs or tasks do you most enjoy?
Cleaning brushes in olive-oil soap
Do you personally collect any items?
Strips of dirty cloth
Which websites do you frequently visit?
and many more
What advice would you give to those just beginning?
That would depend whether they were just beginning a painting, a good book, or an egg custard tart.