Par Laetitia Allal

Liam Crockard Parts Unknown (2008) Collage on watercolour.

Liam Crockard Parts Unknown (2008)Collage on watercolour.

Who is Liam Crockard?

25 years old, predicted death date 2073.

Tell us a little about you, your background, why you decided to choose this way?

I was born in a small industrial town in southwestern Ontario, Canada. I moved to Toronto when I was 18 to go to art school. My dad is a carpenter, my mother manages hospice houses for aging drug addicts. My parents were very supportive of my decisions in life, and I’ve always been involved with the arts to some degree. I get bored easily, so art has always seemed a pretty open venue to explore.

How long have you made artworks?

When I was young, I kept getting forced into school plays because I wouldn’t shut up. Shortly after that a friend of the family “loaned” us a video camera, and from about the age of 8 to 14 my brother, best friend and I made hundreds of hours of home movies. Following that I bought my first SLR camera and started breaking into abandoned buildings and taking pictures. It wasn’t until around then that John Kipfer, my high school art teacher, started forcing me to try painting, collage, sculpture, et cetera. It was mindblowing. I used to come into his class at lunch time and he’d purposefully ruin things I was working on just to provoke a reaction and make me do more, because I took to new things very easily. I owe that man an interest in just about everything I do now.

What is your art theory? And which artists, photographers, designers do you appreciate?

There’s no singular theory I subscribe to, excepting perhaps making honest work, working hard and not taking yourself too seriously. I draw my greatest inspiration from my contemporaries, people who I have a beer or smoke a little hash with: Aleksander Hardashnakov, Hugh Scott-Douglas, Ian Willms, Ted Tucker, Tibi Tibi Neuspeil, Dorian Fitzgerald. There are plenty of artists whose practice I admire, but I get a lot more out of having a personal relationship with the aforementioned.


Liam Crockard Parts Unknown

Tell us more about your collage interest?

So much of collage is about considering and reconsidering the things in front of you. I’m a very particular sort of person, so the extended act of choosing source images, cropping them, considering them, considering their relationships, and then committing to those relationships with glue really indulges that part of me. I like limitations.

With Collage, you've chosen to manipulate the images. Can you explain the process the how and why of this?

I don’t really like to “manipulate” the images unless it feels really necessary, so a lot of peices remain mostly intact. Actually, a lot of the pieces I work with are images that have had something excluded from them. I’m interested in that sort of arbitrariness.
Sometimes I have a very certain composition in mind, but mostly its about presenting a few images together and letting them talk a bit, which is why my collage has extended into a more sculptural practice as of late.

Nowadays collage seems to be re-becoming a new expression place ; in your opinion why?

There’s always a thread of nostalgia that runs through visual culture. I don’t know, maybe we’re being more direct about it now. Collage recalls a certain era of making which we might be more broadly fascinated with. People are interested in craft, the handmade, era’s that valued the handmade. It’s an easy language for people to work with too, very democratic.

Liam Crockard studio detritus (A.Hard and H.S.D. work surfaces) and mixed media dimensions variable (approx. 12x18x48) 2011

Liam Crockard Studio detrituts

Is there a difference between the way you approach collage and the way you approach your sculpture practice?

No. Both involve a lot of circling, lots of propositions and just a few decisions.

What are the links between your work on pictures and your installation works?

Thematically I suppose my collage material expresses some of the ethos behind my making in general. Pictures of laborers, the lazy too. Pictures of machines and pictures of pictures and pictures of hanging out with your friends. It would be very nice to make a collage and then make a sculpture of that exact collage.

What do you want to say with your work ? / What themes do you aim to explore?

It’s never just one thing. I look at exhibitions like collections of thoughts, nothing too perfect but a pretty coherent set of ideas. I don’t know if i want it to add up all the way though. It shouldn’t be anything I could write out. Lots of the time I think about politicizing objects and personalizing them too. I think a lot about transparency and formalism and a bit about storytelling.

Liam Crockard Materials and Acrylic Transfer 2011

Liam Crockard Materials and Acrylic Transfer 2011

What do you hope to achieve through your work?

I’d just like to surprise myself; that’s an amazing feeling. You get it when the most logical next step makes itself apparent to you. Communicating something of that feeling to your audience is important.

Wood seems very important in your work, tell us more about it.

I grew up around it, as my dad is a carpenter. There is such a rich history behind its cultivation, value and uses, and it can be tremendously practical or precious, and its possible to take it from one to the other in a single piece. Almost anybody knows what its like to work with a piece of wood for some practical reason or another.

Can you explain the concept of your installation, like Standing on the bar, a stupid grin?

Those 4 pieces (the wall, the chair, the framed scraps, the shirt) were a portion of my exhibition Month of Sundays, and the title is a modified quote from McCarthy’s Suttree. I try not to take myself too seriously, and with my desire to insert a kind of makeshift tableau of an artist’s workspace i felt needed a longwinded title that was a bit of a good poetic pisstake. That piece in some ways is meant to indulge and acknowledge the inherent narcissism of making art about production, about the hand of the modern-day artist. It’s a very expressive and sloppy rendering of these sort of fetishized objets d’art in the studio, like when they scraped Bacon’s studio down to the lathe and plaster to preserve the walls.

Recycling seems very important for you as well. Collage, sculpture performance etc. it is everywhear. What is the message behind it?

No message, just the right materials for the job. It’s less about the object’s re-use and more about its stories or marks. It’s just about spending a lot of time with things and figuring out of they’re going to work somewhere.

Liam Crockard_Impala Collage 2011

Liam Crockard_Impala Collage 2011

Your upcoming projects?

Custom Drawing Horses. Not to be confused with custom drawings of horses.

Your dream project?

Commission to build furniture for a library.