Melbourne-based Liam Snootle (a.k.a. Liam Stewart) is perhaps best known for his work as a commercial and street artist, but his gallery shows are a hit, too—so much so that he’s about to open his second outing for Off the Kerb.
This new body of work, titled Lateralisation, is a collection of distinctive geometrical paintings meant to encourage an internal dialogue by stimulating the viewer’s lateralisation—that is, the functional specialisation of the brain with some skills, such as analytical and mathematical occurring primarily in the left hemisphere, and others, such as perception of visual and spatial relationships, which occur primarily on the right.
But, before you hurry down to OTK to catch a glimpse of Lateralisation, let’s get to know Liam Snootle:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I’m a Melbourne based visual artist who moonlights as a Maths teacher. I guess the two professions complement one another although, if I’d planned my life out, I probably wouldn’t have thought it possible.
What made you realise you wanted to become an artist?
I’ve always been one of those ‘creative’ types. That showed itself through music for much of my life, but for the last five or six years, I’ve shifted to painting. I really prefer it as a way to express myself and, anyway, no-one wants to see old men on stage thinking they’re twenty-two years old.
How would you describe your art?
They’d be easily classified as Geometric Abstraction, but I call them Punk Paintings.
The paintings tend to start as free-form sketches inspired by whatever I’m listening to at the time, and then seem to evolve into origami-like shapes that hopefully look nice. I tend to hear them when I look at them, and I love it when people feel the same.
Tell us about ‘Lateralisation’.
My art has always had the intention of finding a balance between ‘left and right brain’ thinking, giving the viewer an abstract experience but within a recognisable geometric form. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea that some people lean towards one over the other. With the paintings for ‘Lateralisation’, I’ve taken it a step further by separating the art into diptychs to physically ‘break’ the art in two. The shape component is strictly black and white to emphasise the motion implied by its design, and then this is juxtaposed with colour blocks that hopefully complement the shape.
I’ve also done a few small painted collages that I call ‘noise studies’: a neon piece, and there is a soundscape experience too that was designed and performed by my brother.
If you could tell people three things about ‘Lateralisation’, what would they be?
Look, Listen, Contemplate!
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
Where do you find your inspiration?
Music, specifically Rock music from the US since ’92. I think the kids call it Dad Rock, now.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Someone told me once to just keep making. I think this is great advice as before you know it you moving in a direction that you hadn’t foreseen and that’s when you can surprise yourself.
What does the future hold? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Hopefully, at Disneyland, sitting in the Star Wars world they’re building there. How cool does that place sound!
What are you working on now, and what’s up next?
I’ve got a couple of old school Punk ‘zines in my head that I’d love to make and I have access to possibly the greatest photocopier in the world!
Favourite childhood read, or the last book you read:
I’d be lying if I said I was much of a reader, but I have a really good collection of Art books. I’m after the big Ellsworth Kelly Phaidon book next.
Favourite place, city, or spot:
I’d take a trip to NYC any day of the week, but a quick pint at the Gem in Collingwood never fails to disappoint.
One thing you think everyone should know, do, or experience:
The thing you’re most proud of:
That’d have to be non-art related. Definitely little baby George, who turns one next month. He is the most inspiring and beautiful thing to have ever happened.
A must watch (TV/film/video), read (book/essay/website), or listen (podcast/album/song):
God, I enjoyed watching Fargo recently. I love a show that twists and turns. I bought a Star Wars: Incredible Cross Section’s book for George recently, but I’ve decided that it’s going to stay on my bookshelf. The last record I bought was by Melbourne band ‘TV Haze’, that’s pretty awesome.
Liam Snootle’s show Lateralisation opens at Off the Kerb Gallery on Friday, September 29, from 6 ‘till 9 pm. The show will run from September 28 through October 12.
Off the Kerb is located at 66B Johnston Street, Collingwood. The gallery is open from 12:30 pm to 6 pm Thursday — Friday and 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturday & Sunday. You can find more information about the gallery at their website.