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Rock on Paper: Audio Dirthbath/Mark Zeidler

Many creative types are inspired by the alluring, mysterious and seemingly glamorous culture of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll; the most obvious being rock musicians. But what happens when these musicians switch mediums and start to work in the visual arts? The whirlwind of fame, passion and notoriety has appealed to many artists over the generations and remains a massive influence on modern culture, and when a musician crosses over from audio art to visual art we get to see what rock ‘n’ roll music looks like in a more tangible form. AudioDirthBath’s stencil works mix up our senses; we can see the colours, feel the textures; and smell the sweat, making the resulting works like a dirty guitar riff for your eyes. We spoke with the man behind the name, Mark Zeidler.

Have you always wanted to be an artist? Can describe the first moment you knew that this was what you wanted to do?
Ever since a youngster I was always doodling, drawing, painting cartoon characters such as the ninja turtles. I used to get into trouble for drawing teachers in class and fucking with them by making them fat, or drawing them in obscure places.
I knew I was an artist when I used to wag school for three weeks straight just to finish a piece I was working on. I never give a shit about what was being taught at school; it didn't inspire me in the slightest, I was too into working on my next project to be even bothered to go and pick up my year 12 certificate. So yeah, I'm thinking ‘art’ 24/7.

You’re quite obviously passionate about what you do and the work you create. How did you get started?
I got started when I used to be dropped off at my Grandmother’s place at the age of three when Mum and Dad had to go to hospital with my Down Syndrome brother; he was in and out of hospital at an early age. My Grandmother and Uncle were painters and they taught me how to use watercolours and oils in landscapes, portraits and all kinds of stuff - far from the work I am doing now though.

I read that you have no formal training – are you teaching yourself as you go along?
I have learnt from experimentation and determination. My girlfriend is a graphic designer and she has helped me along the way with computer graphics and designing.

Does creativity come naturally to you or do you have a particular ritual to go through before you sit down to create a work?
Creativity comes from being inspired from something. A lot of the time creativity comes from having space; an artist needs a lot of space to think. If you work full time and you can’t rest then it’s difficult to be clear and to create. It’s like our heads have all these ideas baking inside like a cake, you have to take it out of the oven before it has a blow out!

I also read that you are a musician. What instrument do you play? How does your background as a musician affect your work?
I studied classical guitar at the Conservatorium of Music for three years, but I have been playing for over 10 years. I love finger-style guitar and have written about five compositions. My first solo show as an artist was actually an abstract art exhibition called Music Art where I wrote pieces of music that represented each artwork. I made up various colours that represented different keys in each piece of music - it's own language a bit like music theory on canvas. Anyway, music is a big part of making art and in years to come I want to get back into music and art, mixing the two together as they walk hand in hand.

How did the name ‘Audio Dirtbath’ come about?
‘Audiodirtbath’ came about by one of my spoken word pieces that was originally called ‘Audio Earth Bath Sound Bar at Sea’. When I was studying music at the Conservatorium, everything had to be perfect the tone, technique, pitch, posture; everything was so straight and had no feeling, it just made me sick. I couldn’t deal with it anymore so I left and I didn't finish my degree, surprise surprise. It left me empty and sucked the marrow out of my bones. So my new project ‘Audiodirtbath’ was under way - it was everything opposite to clean; I wanted it gritty and raw. It’s ‘Audio’ meaning music; ‘Dirtbath’ meaning the world we live in - one big dirtbath going around and around.

How would you describe your work?
My work has vintage, pop, urban, porn, street art feel.

What’s the best thing in your life?
A morning coffee - it's like a big warm hug in a snuggie!

What makes you unique?
Nothing. I’m just the same as any other Aussie battler out there trying to make ends meet.

What inspires you?
The lifestyle of getting up in the morning and not worrying about doing some boring, fucked up job and having an asshole boss breathing down your neck. That's what inspires me.

What’s one thing we should know about you?
I suffer from anxiety from time to time.

How would you like to be remembered?
Ahhh…he was a nice guy.

Mark Zeidler

Mark will be part of an exhibition from August 14 to 20 at Blank_Space Gallery, 374 Crown Street, Surry Hills.

interview: Alex English


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