We sit down with Jerwood Prize-winning artist Adam Dant to discuss his work, his wardrobe, and his strong opinions on moths.
When I left Art School I didn't have a studio so decided that I should make my art in a space where it would be encountered by the public. This did not mean, as it seems to now, painting a giant picture of a squirrel on the side of a stranger's house, or applying for a grant to 'seek out art's new publics.'
My art back then took the form of an A6, eight-page pamphlet which I made 100 copies of everyday for five years and handed to an unsuspecting public. It was called Donald Parsnips Daily Journal and it combined the methods of the fine artist with those of the early pamphleteers of the 18th Century to create and distribute art in the space where 'mediation' occurs, i.e. in the street, the cafe, the pub, on the bus etc, as opposed to in a gallery or a newsroom. I'd always made newspapers as a child so it could be said that by producing a newspaper as a work of art for five years I was continuing to venture down some kind of notional path.
I enjoy the thought and exercise of creating art with minimal means - in the case of my big drawings, it’s a single bottle of sepia ink and a brush. I think that in the face of a superfluity of imagery - moving and otherwise - it's still an interesting and not-insurmountable challenge to create something that might have intellectual content, art, visual interest, and which holds the viewer’s attention for as long as the average 3D blockbuster, with a pencil.