Life and Times: The Fourteen Most Requested Works.….
This is the text of the interview between The Muses of Simon Marshall, Bean and Beanesse, and Olivia O'Grin in the influential but entirely fictitious Magazine, Drivel. The interview took place just before the legendary "Life and Times" exhibition by Simon Marshall in The Undercroft Gallery in Norwich in May, 2024.
Hello and welcome to Bean and Beanesse, current muses for the work of bad boy of the art scene, Simon Marshall.
Thank you both for agreeing to find some time from your busy lives to speak to our readers.
It has been fascinating seeing Simon's finished work in "Life and Times", his current exhibition, could we now find out something about the ideas, concepts and processes behind it and your part as muses in the process.
To begin with it would be useful for our readers if you could give some idea of how you met Simon.
Well, Beanesse and I had been looking for somebody to make us flesh, to make us exist and bring us and our ideas into the world. We had been a long time in the realm of the possible without much hope of assuming a life of our own. We were desperate.
We considered several people but Simon was the best we could find, even though we were prepared to make some pretty drastic compromises. You understand it isn’t easy finding somebody to act as your conduit to the world!
How does the process work? Do you have much detailed input in the artistic process?
Well, after we have done our best to express our ideas and make clear how we feel and what we are trying to convey Simon usually asks us to act out a tableaux to give him a visual impression. From that he produces drawings that are then transformed into the colourful and oversize final pieces you can see.
Interesting. Obviously you have no corporeal form, how do you interact with Simon to inspire the final work?
Well, mostly we scratch at his psyche or disturb hime when he is doing more important things. We take every care to define our intentions and give a clear lead but invariably Simon goes ahead and does exactly what he pleases.
As muses we are aware that you have to take the rough with the smooth but it is difficult.
And how do you feel about that?
Well, pretty shitty if you want to know. Looking at the very impressive body of work that Simon makes it clear that he has entirely failed to either listen to us or produce anything better than vaguely connected ideas but as muses we are very aware of the compromises that are forced on us. Sometimes we wonder why we bother.
Does this disappoint you?
Well of course it does. We are bitter and resentful that the world is receiving such a distorted and confused picture of the wonderful beings we are, or could be! If there was anything we could do about it, believe us, we would.
Fascinating. Can we go back to the pictures. Some of them are printed on traditional canvas but others are on hi-tech modern textiles, produced for the clothing industry. Do you have any thoughts on this.
Well, obviously, as serious Muses with something to say we would definitely prefer to be expressed in oil paint and mounted in tasteful and traditional frames, then sold to discerning collectors and hung, eventually, in museums the length and breadth of the universe.
Well, it is another one of those times when Simon’s shortsighted and confused approach has let us down. For some reason he doesn’t like frames so he prints on materials that he folds or rolls and shoves in corners. The disrespect and lack of appreciation is hard to bear.
And even when he uses canvas it isn’t ‘proper’ painting so nobody thinks they really matter.
Also there are the strange textiles he uses! Some of them are semi transparent! Botticelli never lit his stuff from behind. And did you ever see a Picasso pinned up with little nails? No.
Wonderful. And do you have plans for the future.
The Beans, in unison:
Well, we plan to show in the National Portrait Gallery and from there we would like to do something in the Louvre. Discussions are at a very early stage for both so we don’t want to say any more at this time.
All of that was very interesting. Thank you for your time and your perspective, perhaps we will catch up again soon?
The Beans, in unison:
Well, maybe. Funny old thing, life. You never can tell.
Drivel Magazine. Vol 1 no.1 2023