Work No. 1378

Art students on Martin Creed

Posted December 27, 2012


Martin Creed
Work No. 1378 over Work No. 1351 (both 2012)
Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York
Installation view, Martin Creed Plays Chicago, MCA Chicago, 2012
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

In April, three Painting and Drawing MFA students from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago enjoyed the unique opportunity to meet with Creed and serve as studio assistants in the creation of several painted works for the residency project. The students assisted in painting the album artwork for a special edition vinyl album Creed recorded while in Chicago as well as several canvases going on display at the MCA this year. Two of the students, Seth Hunter and Ceyda Aykan, share their experiences with Creed below.

Two students, Martin, and Martin’s assistant Rob, went for tea. Sitting for three and a half hours, we discussed: portraits not landscapes, smiling not frowning, sick film not well film, balloon work not raisin work, certified art not anonymous art, how children are smart and sneaky not how children are stupid and obvious, drinking too much not drinking too little, vomiting not eating, psychoanalysis not psycho-complacency, therapy not illness, TV not books, parents and children, being a little bad not being a little good. Two students, Martin, and Martin’s assistant Rob got up and went home.

—Seth Hunter

I think the charm of Martin’s work is its communication with and directness to the viewer. It has playfulness and ambiguity in just the perfect amount to create some space for the viewer to breathe in and play with the work. Martin’s works possess a certain attitude, as if they just happened by themselves, as if they are just natural. When you look at them you don’t necessarily picture them being made, but rather like plants growing by themselves just with enough water and light.

This is not an easy feeling to capture or an easy task to accomplish. Whether it is a neon sign, a huge installation, or the entire surface of a wall covered with patterns, Martin’s work is never under- or overdone. It is always just enough. The work becomes almost transparent because the viewer is able to experience the idea and the playfulness of the process of creation itself.

—Ceyda Aykan