Mark Vessey Exclusive, ‘Soundtracks’ launches on Wednesday 9th December
Driven by his own vintage magazine collection, British photographic artist Mark Vessey became interested in the concept of personal collections and began photographing neatly stacked journals, LPs and even vodka bottles to capture the aesthetic beauty and joy of owning a collection.
Creating a sense of pride in disposable objects, Vessey commemorates the collections that have been an important part of our lives with the respect they deserve.
The latest collection to get the Mark Vessey treatment is a collection titled, ‘Soundtracks’ and we are excited to be launching it exclusively with Enter Gallery as part of our celebration of art and music this week!
Tell us about your new Soundtracks photograph?
‘Soundtracks’ is a photograph of a collection of vinyl records that represents what I hope are a transformative collection of original soundtracks that are instantly recognisable. Placed together and photographed to make a unique piece of artwork that encapsulates the subject.
How many soundtracks are there in total? Which soundtracks didn’t make the cut?
There are just under a hundred original soundtracks in the collection. It was really hard making the final cut as I wanted everyone to immediately connect to the music from each film and not just the film title. There is also an aesthetic to how each spine sits against each other which is a balance to get right. I had the soundtracks to Cruel Intentions and Mamma Mia but they just didn’t work with in the edit.
Where did you source the records to include in this collection? Were any of them your own or did you have to hunt them down?
I love to visit the Record Album just up from the station in Brighton on Terminus Road. They specialise in Soundtracks and has been there since 1948! I also researched soundtracks and bought from eBay and other record shops. I was able to get most of the soundtracks I wanted. I was still waiting for ‘Last of the Mohicans’ but then decided that I had such a wealth of soundtracks I had to draw the line at some point otherwise I would not have made the work.
What would you say is your favourite soundtrack of all time? Do any of the soundtracks in this piece have a particular nostalgic memory for you or hold personal meaning to you?
My own personal favourite from the collection is ‘Romeo and Juliet’ I guess I have an attachment to that particular film as I remember being at school when it came out and I really loved listening to the music as well as the film. It’s somehow cemented into my consciousness. As well as ‘Jurassic Park’ I remember being taken to see it at the cinema with my parents.
How do you decide which titles to add to complete your ‘collection’ series? Is it based on the colour of the spine or how it relates to the other pieces?
It’s a mixture of research and also the visual impact of the spine and how it sits with the collection. I normally sit with the vinyl for a few months and it fluctuates and condenses until I get to a point where I am happy with the collection both in the titles and how they site together aesthetically.
You famously gave Kate Moss the collection of Vogue covers you photographed for your ‘Kate Moss’ collection of her British Vogue front covers. Do you give the collections away after you have photographed them or do you want to keep hold of them?
It all depends really on my attachment to the material. With Kate Moss it felt like the ideal home to pass the magazines on to, as she had explained that she had not collected them herself. Sometimes I borrow material to photograph and treat it better than the owner. The importance of the relationship to the collector is something I am extremely respectful of.
Why do you think we as humans have the urge to start collections?
I believe as humans we have an urge to collect as we have a desire to relate to others and in doing so we reflect back to ourselves. Through our collections, we are able to relate to our own experiences, communities and empathy towards others. I think we grow attachments to those items and over time they represent and reflect our own personal history back to us.
Which other artists are you inspired by?
I am totally obsessed with Marina Abramovic right now. I love the visual infinity landscapes of Yayoi Kusama and Sarah Morris. My artist heroes are artists Keith Haring and KAWS.
You are planning on photographing our display at Enter Gallery with a drone which is a first for us! Do you think this is the future of the art world?
I wanted to film my work using a drone to bring my artwork alive. During lockdown I believe that it would help audiences viewing my artwork online to get up close and experience my artwork greater than a still image. I think drones are going to help us inform our relationship with the world post Covid. Within the art world drone footage will allow us to see as if we were walking around an object. It doesn’t replace the actual human experience but while we are unable to visit galleries it can help to inform us of those experiences better.
What would the soundtrack to your life be?
A mixture of Amy Winehouse Back to Black and The soundtrack to Studio 54.
What was your favourite moment of 2020?
Being in New York exhibiting my art work at the start of the year in March was a career success but I guess personally having the time to completely stop everything and just experience the space that the pandemic gave me. Lockdown gave me time to reconnect with myself.
Do you listen to anything while you work?
I like listening to podcasts such as Talk Art, Grounded Louis Theroux, The Love Drive and also One BTN
If you weren’t a photographer? What would you be?
I would like to believe I’d be a landscape gardener or an architect.
What was the last film you watched?
The King’s Speech
What is your favourite thing about Enter Gallery?
I love how much art is presented in one space at the same time in Enter Gallery. There is always something new to see and such a positive group of informed individuals to help you.
What are you most looking forward to in 2021?
Spending time with my family, creative collaborations and being able to travel again.
A large-scale version of the Soundtracks photograph (The Mother as Vessey calls it) will be on display at Enter Gallery. See our opening times here.
Listen to Mark at our podcast Art Related Noise