"I think it is fair to say that I have never deviated from the aims of the original Brighton expressive arts course (if there were any) of which I was part of the first year’s intake. Bemused tutors, perhaps not sure how this ghetto course would develop"
"My main activity at present is as Artistic Director of Mischief La-Bas performance company, based in Glasgow and founded in 1992 with wife Angie Dight. The company presents up to 200 gigs a year, mainly as interactive walkabout theatre, although I regularly devise large-scale art projects whereby artists from a variety of disciplines are invited to collaborate.
"The latest, Peeping at Bosch, was created with partners the National Theatre of Scotland and Tramway, Glasgow, and we are investigating the possibility of expanding the show into a full sized outdoor perverted theme park. In the meantime, I am currently creating a full size theatrical street market, the Market of Optimism, for Liverpool European City of Culture 08, which will be adapted for transfer to Scotland in 2009.
"I continue to devise my own solo performance/installation pieces and also act as associate and long-term Master of Ceremonies for the National Review of Live Art.
"I think it is fair to say that I have never deviated from the aims of the original Brighton expressive arts course (if there were any) of which I was part of the first year’s intake. Bemused tutors, perhaps not sure how this ghetto course would develop, pretty much had to deal with loose cannons as they arose. I lost no time in forming a band (Birds with Ears) with music tutor Billy Cowie, and prancing about with incoming dance tutor Liz Aggiss (of The Wild Wigglers) even though I was supposed to be concentrating on theatre and fine art. This scattergun activity made its way into the public domain via the Zap Club.
"To this day I acknowledge no boundaries between art forms, and continue to make bold and naïve suggestions for collaborative practice at the international level. If anything, the outcome of being given that early chance to explore mixed media practices in Brighton has meant that, after 30 years, I am such an experienced jack-of-all-trades I can perhaps claim that to be an art in itself.
"Creating contexts for cross-fertilisation not only expands possibilities for individual collaborators (who may otherwise work in solitude) but also means that the public can appreciate the work in public spaces. Accessibility and even humour are often seen as poor cousins in the art world. They are not. They merely signify that the artist is not afraid of communicating with the public. It is all smoke and mirrors.
"Which I did learn on the theatre course."
Ian Smith, 2009