Trying to Talk to Richie Culver

Questions answered, curtly


It is tempting, in a brief pre-Q-&-A introductory text to multi-disciplinary artist Richie Culver, to try to say what the work is all about. Many have done this. You can today on the internet and in print read about how Culver's work "encompasses diverse elements" taking up such topics as "antagonistic relationships" and "ultimate impermanence" and how those impact "lingusitics" and create things like "tones of alienation" which '"bleed" into "other thematic elements" like "contemporary masculinity," "technology," and, naturally, "the class system." And all of this seems basically right - Culver's work does contain these meanings, we think. The irony of this sort of commentary is not that it attempts to describe work that manipulates and confounds and exposes meaning in contemporary language and dialects, but that it does so using the contemporary language of the art world, which is just one particularly meaningless dialect.

The competing view (ours) would be that the best introduction to Culver's work or words would take to heart what that work has to say about language. The competing view would be that what a brief pre-Q-&-A introductory text can accomplish is at best a recital of facts.

Richie Culver is from Hull. He wasn't going to be an artist. He worked in a factory. He lived in Berlin. Now he's an artist. He makes things you look at, read, or listen to. He is a father. The last time we posted his work on the page a lot of people said it wasn't art. One can observe this being said about art at any time in recorded history. Nobody in the comments section this year made a strong attempt to define that word 'art' and we think that's probably for the best. We asked Richie Culver some questions. He's a minimalist in conversation as well. The longest answer clocks in at four sentences, and the average lands somewhere just north of 1. We've paired those words with canvas-bound ones, and these images are a better place to start, if you want an opinion about the artist's work, than whatever you think has been said up here. The advice is to read them, and rather than identify what they aren't (plenty of people on the internet think they have already done this), consider what they are.

How would you introduce yourself to a person on the street?


How would you introduce yourself to a person on the internet?


How would you introduce yourself to the people reading this right now?


What do you look for in a song?

The basic elements usually. Sensory.

What do you look for in a work of art?

Usually, something that challenges me.

Something that maybe at first I don’t fully understand. I also like to know about the artist that made it.

What do you look for in a person?

That’s hard to answer. Honesty is always good.

Who do you look up to?

Growing up it was Furious Styles from Boyz N The Hood. So that’s what still comes to my mind first.

Vanessa Carlos comes to mind from Carlos Ishikawa gallery, My wife, Moor Mother. There are loads but these are the ones that come to mind.

Who are contemporary artists whose work you’re excited to see?

Umut Yasat, David Ostrowski, Blackhaine

What non-contemporary art moves you?

My kids' drawings

What’s your favorite thing about yourself?

Probably my sobriety. Coming up to 9 years.

Do you love your haters?

It’s always an interesting proposition regarding art / social media. It’s not personal. Everyone has an opinion.

It’s probably some 45-year-old man sitting in their mother's house wearing Spiderman pajamas.

What’s wrong with the art world?

The list is too long.

What’s right about it?

Occasionally good art is made.

What’s your favorite movie?

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

What do you dream about?

I don’t really dream, unfortunately.

What do you have for breakfast?

One or two coffees.

Do you read poetry?


Do you read novels?


Do you watch the news?

I try not to.

Where were you ten years ago today?

Living in London.

Where will you be on this day in ten years?

Hopefully alive and healthy somewhere with my partner, kids, and dog.

What was the best year of your life?

The recent years have all been good for different reasons.

Why did you start making art?

Because I realized I could.

I couldn’t go on working jobs I hated.

Why do you want to know if we came?

That project was about posting on social media.

Whose voice do you write in?

My own. Probably a younger version of me.

What’s something you feel more able to express in music than in visual art? The reverse?

To tell more in-depth autobiographical accounts of my life.

What do you think your role is? As a human or as an artist, big or small scale?

My role is to bring my children into this world as open-minded, kind, confident human beings.

Where do you go to think?

Washing the dishes, driving my kids to school.

Where do you go to write?

Hotel rooms when I have gigs or visual shows away from home.

Where do you go to paint?

My studio.

How do you decide what to wear in the morning?

I have loads of the same items. So it’s fairly easy.

What is your favorite garment or accessory you own?

My Anne Demeulemeester denim jacket

Who is your favorite designer?

Anne Demeulemeester, Yohji Yamamoto

What does your work remind you of?

Minimalism, reductionism.

Whose work do take inspiration from?

Genesis P-Orridge

Who are some people you would consider your artistic fore-bearers?

Throbbing Gristle