Location: United Kingdom
What made you become an artist?
I don’t think anyone really becomes an artist do they? I believe people are born as artists. It’s what I have always done, and art is what I have always wanted to do.
When did you first start drawing competently?
I have always drawn, or been interested in drawing. I remember I did a really good drawing of a foetus. That was the first drawing I can remember being proud of. A priest once told my parents I would be an artist because I held the pen in some unique way. Teachers tried to stop me holding it in that way because it was effecting my writing, but it was natural and I couldn’t change it no matter what they said.
What demonic power would you sell your soul for?
I don’t know about a demonic power. I’m far to nice for anything demonic. Plus I’d probably prefer my soul. I’d like to read peoples minds. But not with any demonic intentions.
Why do you draw the hideous instead of the beautiful?
To a degree I have some dislike towards beauty in art, or rather what is perceived as beautiful. I hate it when people look at a painting of a landscape and look at it like some great miracle. I always get angry and ask them “why is that beautiful?” and the majority of the time they can never answer you. I prefer to seek beauty in things people ignore. Its just in my nature. When I walk places and pass some children’s toy that someone has throw out, I always pick it up and keep it because I feel a degree of sympathy for it even though it has no real feelings. My room is crowded with other peoples rubbish that I can’t bare to see abandoned.
What is the basic theme or philosophy you are trying to communicate with the observer?
I try hard to avoid any kind of philosophy. I don’t like to tell people what my drawings are about. I rarely tell anyone. I like people to make their own story from what I do.
What artists do you like?
I like Al Hansen a lot, Marcel Duchamp, Egon Schiele and I like a lot of Warhol’s stuff. Especially his early ink drawings. I watch modern artists with more interest though. Artists like Paul Davis, Craig Atkinson, Julia Pott, The Nous Vous Collective and Neasden Control Centre. Its an exciting thing to be involved in at the moment.
What would you say to someone that hates your artwork?
Suck my big toe.
What would you say to someone that loves your artwork?
Thank you. Hats off.
What is something you will never draw?
A beautiful landscape with all pretty skies and birds flapping their wings into the scenic sun set. Unless the birds were dead, No sir.
Who do you love?
I love my girlfriend, My family, my odd few friends, and my dog. I also have a fascination with people like Karen O from Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Pete Doherty. I love him. I hate everyone else.
What is something you’ve always wanted to draw but can’t for whatever reason?
Hands are always a confusing mess. I always struggle with them. They are such odd things with all joints all over the place. It always takes more effort to draw them. I like that struggle though. Its what makes art interesting.
What is your work developing into?
That’s hard to say. As soon as I start developing something, I change it and start playing around with it until its something new. Hopefully it will develop into global domination.
Where did your current persona start, what are the origins of “ZEROTEN”?
Well, I feel I am quite a shy and quiet person. ZEROTEN is some sort of alter ego in a way. I wanted to hide my identity. I still do. Hence the mask and the fact that I don’t sign any work with my real name any more. ZEROTEN is like an enigmatic puppet that I hold the strings of.
Why did you pick that for your name, ZEROTEN, why not a negative number, or a series of equations?
Well it comes from the 0.10 futurist exhibition in 1915, that was looking at art in a new way. I felt that that is what I always aimed to do. De construct art to a degree. But I never think of that meaning any more. It is more like ZEROTEN is the name I have given a child. I don’t need to think of its meaning. Its a new word absent of meaning.
If you wanted out of your contract with Warner Bros. what symbol would you change your name to?
I have a contract with Warner Bros? No one told me. I hope I get rich. I’d have the symbol of a crudely drawn hot-dog. Because I like drawing them.
Why do you stick to notebooks instead of using more traditional mediums?
I like to play. I get bored. My brain is a big mess of things. I’m too scatter brained to stick to any traditional mediums. Plus I always associate them with some ancient past that I am not a part of.
Who would you like to have explode with your mind (and there would be no way anyone could link you to the felony)? Why?
That’s a dangerous power to have, and a hard choice since I don’t like many people. I don’t want anyone to explode though. Everyone should just kiss instead.
What do you most enjoy drawing?
Faces. I like drawing people. I like to observe people, over hear conversations and draw them later. I find it all fascinating. I always feel on the outside, as if my eyes are TV screens and I’m not really there. I go to cafes a lot just to sit, listen to people and draw.
What body part do you most admire and why?
Lips are nice if they are big and pretty. I have big girlie lips. Maybe that’s why everyone thinks I’m a woman when they meet me.
What body part do you dislike the most and why?
Feet. Because toes always look like mangled up fingers. Also, I could have a pair of hands there instead and draw twice as many pictures.
If you could go to eat with any five people throughout time and history, high on Marijuana, who would they be and what sort of things would you talk about?
Jack the Ripper, Pete Doherty, Andy Warhol, Karen O and Oscar Wilde. I wouldn’t talk, I’d just listen. Plus I would leave the marijuana, I like my mind to be nice and crystal clear.
Are your parents proud of you?
That’s funny. My parents don’t even know about ZEROTEN really. They are proud that I can draw, but they don’t understand why I draw the way I do. But they have always encouraged me to trust my own judgement, which is good. They are proud of anything I do.
Any current or future projects you’d like to discuss?
Well at the moment I am working on a series based on T-shirt slogans. They always amuse me. It makes me laugh the things people want to say to the world. It started as one drawing and is now about 8. I go places just to see if I can see any stupid slogans. It’s like some sort of collection. I’d like to make a zine from these in the future, or maybe exhibit them in a show somewhere.
Shout outs or anything else?
To all people that bought ‘The Death Book’ and/or ‘Ugly Face’ or have supported me in some way. Thank you. Hats off indeed