Slave To The Canvas: Laurie Vincent Interviewed

Slaves guitarist launches solo art exhibition...

Right from the start Slaves have made a point of matching their lurid, explosive music to lurid, explosive visuals.

It's the complete package: from gig posters to album artwork and videos, the duo want everything to be in sync.

The band's visual output is the work of guitarist Laurie Vincent, who is set to host his first solo exhibition in London this weekend.

Launching on March 19th, the exhibition will be based at the Amersham Arms in New Cross, and features some incredible Slaves artifacts alongside some items that have never been seen by the public before.

Clash has a quick chat with Laurie Vincent about his influences, approach, and what fans can expect in the future.

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When did you first become interested in visual arts?
I guess ever since I could hold a pencil. As a kid I'd draw all the time I remember always doing 'bubble' writing and trying to do graffiti letters. Then as I got older I loved the graphics on skateboards and I guess that's where my style started.

You take care of the band's artwork, was this a conscious choice? Is there a link between music and visual art, in your mind?
When you start your band you have a vision and I realised earlier on its a lot easier to achieve your vision by taking control. If you get someone else to do the artwork they probably don't quite have the same vision as you so you will never get the outcome you wanted. Music and art are definitely related. When you think of Nirvana you think of the smiley face, Joy Division – the unknown pleasures album cover, AC/DC – the logo with the lightning bolt. By creating a great aesthetic it makes bands slip into people's subconscious. Visuals are really important.

You use a lot of bright, vivid colours, what attracts you to this?
I only started using colour about a year ago now and I guess it was because I was experimenting. After I threw loads of bright colours on a canvas I loved the way it made my flat feel. I kept adding and taking away colours but all that bright colour on a large scale has a huge impact on me as I walk into a room.

Who are your biggest visual influences?
Raymond Petibon, Barry McGee, Basquiat, Keith Haring.

Do you believe there is a such a thing as 'punk' art? If so, how would you define it?
'Outsider art' is punk art. Just do what you want how you want and love it. I think all art should be like that. No one can teach you to make art. Just make work you like and makes you feel good and don't listen to anyone else. If people like it that's a bonus.

What made you want to host this new exhibition? What can fans expect?
People haven't had the opportunity to see my work in real life. We all live our lives through technology now and a painting on a screen doesn't have the same impact as a 5ft canvas. I want people to see what they look like in the flesh. People can expect some paintings on a wall and a friendly atmosphere.

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Laurie Vincent's first solo exhibition launches tomorrow (March 19th) and is open all day Sunday (March 20th) at the Amersham Arms, London.

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