Dirty Numb Angel Boy (2023) takes its title from the iconic Underworld track 'Born Slippy' made famous after inclusion in the Trainspotting soundtrack.
This work is the first release in a new set of limited edition works on paper taken from a series of works Stuart Semple made graphic interpretations of influential song lyrics.
'I Wanna Be Adored" Vinyl, particleboard, fibreboard, acrylic paint & plastic.
"A lot of my work focuses on the ability of songs to convey meaning, and I've always been really excited by the way a song lyric can imply a whole narrative.
When I was young we'd often make a mixtape for someone we liked, and we'd use the songs to explain how we feel, better than perhaps we could ourselves. I have several of these mushy mixtapes in my studio, left over from my teenage years, many of the words in my new works are from songs on those tapes.
I like the idea that certain songs have social cues that may fly under the radar if you aren't aware of the reference.
To me, this series is intimately personal and it contains messages for the closest people in my life, that only they would understand if they saw the work. There's a deliberate ambiguity to them, on one hand, visual and stylized, like a design object, and on the other more of a bleeding heart love story. Often in my work I might be secretly talking to a specific person.
I have been experimenting with the visual form of type for a long time, and it's manipulation. I'm interested in how a text piece can convey memory, emotion, and even imagery to the viewer without a literal depiction.
The materiality of these works has been interesting to explore. I've had an obsession with vinyl for a long time, being the stuff that records are made from, and the material that literally preserves songs and lyrics, it feels fitting to use that in this mechanized way in these works. The high gloss finish I used gives a slick perfection, that I hope contradicts the extremely emotive narratives in the words themselves."
- Stuart Semple