At Work With: Scott King, Artefact
Scott King is Professor of Visual Communication at UAL, where he has just helped relaunch the quarterly magazine produced by the journalism course at LCC. Previously he has worked as art director of i-D and creative director of Sleazenation, creating iconic front covers that question the magazine process. He has collaborated with a number of figures working where art and commerce meet, including Pet Shop Boys, Malcolm McLaren and Morrissey, and his art works have been exhibited in major institutions across the world. We look ahead at his week as the first edition of the LCC magazine Artefact is distributed.
Where are you today?
I’m at home today. Looking after my daughter who was four yesterday. She was banned from watching ‘Big Fat Gypsy Weddings’ after she started saying ‘feckin’, so we’re watching ‘Despicable Me’ (again). While she sings songs from ‘Frozen’.
What can you see from the window?
I can see out into our back garden. I think it's a disaster, my girlfriend thinks it's ‘mature’.
Are you a morning or evening person?
I like to think that I’m a morning person - I love getting up at 6am and doing 4 hours work before everybody else really gets started. But in reality, I’m more likely to stay up until 2am watching ‘World at War’, ‘Nazis: A Warning from History’ or even, if I’m desperate, ‘Battleplan’.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
Well, this is terribly vain, but my favourite magazine this morning is Art Monthly because I've just read the article Andrew Hunt wrote in it about ‘public art and regeneration’ in which he talks a lot about, erm, me.
Artefact is the first magazine you've art directed for some time. How did it come about?
I was appointed as Chair of Visual Communication at UAL about a year ago - so it comes from that. I spoke to Simon Hinde, the director of the journalism course at the LCC, and he told me that he was planning a new magazine to be produced by himself and his students. I volunteered to help and then became very involved. I might have made myself a little too involved, I'm not sure! But it’s hard when you do a magazine… you can’t really do them ‘a bit’, you have to throw yourself into it.
It must be the first new student magazine to be launched for some time. Tell us about its context and role.
Well, I have to be careful what I say here – I don't want to get it wrong. But the facts are: Simon wanted to start a new magazine for the journalism students at LCC. I art directed it, got in some ads and helped to shape the first issue. My thinking was that it should be bold, simple and legible – that it needed to be a vehicle for the journalism students to work on and write in to - so that's how I designed it. I also brought in a lot of very well know artists and photographers - the thinking here being that this would ‘raise the bar’ or ‘heighten the stakes’ but also connect the magazine to a wider audience outside of UAL, as well as allow the students to ‘work with’ these very good and established practitioners. I‘m not sure how this will now pan out... or what my future role in the magazine will be, but I’ve tried to get them off to a good start by involving some brilliant contributors.
Most of your magazine work has included an element of critique of the medium. Is that theme continued here?
Only in the mildest form… a little bit, maybe. I mainly write everything myself now (in my own work), and here I was very much the art director, so I found that quite difficult.
What other work are you currently working on?
I just had a show that went from Berlin to New York called 'Totem Motif' (above) and another broader version of that show called ‘De-Regeneration’ at Spacex in Exeter: all this work dealing with notions of ‘regeneration’ and ‘public art’. A part of that is also on show at a great new exhibition called 'Regenerate Art' at Kunstverein Munich. I recently did a book called ‘Anish and Antony Take Afghanistan’ (below) with an artist called Will Henry, so Will and I are discussing a follow up to that – perhaps a version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ starring Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley. We're currently trying to find a magazine or newspaper that might be interested in taking it. I’m also about to start work on the renamed Berlin Music Week (now called Pop-Kultur) where I'll be doing the whole identity, advertising and making some films. I’ve also started to write a book about an architectural researcher who turns into a murderous psychopath, but that will probably never see the light of day.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
I’ve got an idea for an Arts Club – a sort of floating cabaret cum lecture thing. I’ve given myself Thursday and Friday to write it all down. Sad, but I think that'll be the highlight of my week
What are you least looking forward to this week?
My accountant keeps reminding me to send him all my invoices, receipts and banks statements - they loiter in carrier bags under my desk.
What will you be doing after this chat?
‘Despicable Me 2’.