Art Seen


Six Quick Questions
With One of My Favorite Artists

In the Field with Lori Zimmer

July 2011

Ian Larson’s work is like a super sexed-up Jean DuBuffet at Sodom and Gomorrah. His gloppy characters writhe in horrifying ecstasy on an island of skulls, or they ravage each other amidst crucifixes and priests. They pull out each others eyes and bite heads off birds, like a scene from that movie Event Horizon–the violent and sexual chaos which ensues when a spaceship and crew are launched into a negative vortex.

Larson’s paintings are crude and Art Brut-like. His usage of wax to build up surfaces and actual human hair only illustrate the grotesque even more. His scrawls appear as childlike, but controlled, not only because of the mature content but because Larson has the capability of showing skill and deliberation in the chaos of wax and paint.

Larson’s work depicts the messy and dirty elements of sex, because let’s face it, sometimes it just ain’t pretty.

1. What are you currently obsessed with?

Previously, currently and constantly obsessed with Liverpool football club. The season just ended so I am finding more time on my hands during the weekend since I am not waking up at 7:00 am on Saturdays and Sunday to watch all the English Premier League games and yell obscenities at the TV. But if you meant what am I currently obsessed with in relation to my work, I have been trying to learn how to play various musical instruments well enough for a film I am working on. I learned a little piano on my own a couple years ago, but I never had any lessons, and I don’t have any musical knowledge so it is proving to be a difficult task (I had to look on youtube the other day just to figure out how to put together a clarinet and make it make noise), but a fun one at that and the results should be interesting.

2.  Describe your work in three words.


Filthy, Chaotic, Beautiful.

3. What are your favorite recent exhibitions?

Haven’t been to one lately, but George Condo at New Museum in NYC a month or so ago was pretty great. It was my first time seeing a lot of his paintings in person and the number of them that I liked and were intrigued by definitely outweighed the ones I didn’t. Otherwise, I have kind of been locked away lately preparing new work and preparing to move, so my journeys to see great exhibitions has been limited to looking at the computer and thinking “damn that would be a great show to visit.”

4. What is your favorite place and why?

I hope it is somewhere I have yet to visit.

5. What is your go to karaoke song?

I haven’t done karaoke in ages so most of my vocal butchering of song occurs in the car and at home. I do enjoy singing the entire Angel Dust album by Faith No More while driving at night and there are many impromptu karaoke and dance events that take place at home in the company of my wife and two cats where we interpret everything from The Psychedelic Furs, The Smiths and Depeche Mode to Queen, Pantera and Cannibal Corpse, and everything in between. There’s nothing like a romantic evening in with those closest to you, some dim lighting, a nice bottle of wine and “Hammer Smashed Face” by Cannibal Corpse emitting from the stereo.

6. What book has most influenced you?

I definitely can’t encapsulate my influence on one particular book. I don’t intentionally insert influence into my work, as the idea for the work manifests itself and is conceived I think the influence from things like books, writings, music, history, philosophy other artists, etc. reveal themselves. But here are randomly the first four books I see on my shelf closest to me at this moment…

Portnoy’s Complaint by Phillip Roth

Brus, Muehl, Nitsch, Shwarzkogler; The Writings of the Vienna Actionists

The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

A Spanish Basics Coursebook (which I have not finished).

Ian Larson is a London-based artist, who explores sexuality through painting, video, mixed media and writing.


Ian Larson

Written by Lori Zimmer

Photography Courtesy of Ian Larson

Design by Devon Pentz


Pages 1-4:

Photography and Artwork Courtesy of Ian Larson

read the complete article