Welsh musicians: Cardiff artist and singer-songwriter Sean Donovan of Koradji
Interview with Sean Donovan the artist
Please introduce yourself to my readers.
I am a practising artist based in South Wales, UK. I was born in St.Davids in the capital of Wales, Cardiff.
My earliest memories of creative activities are as follows: Writing - teacher commended story in classroom age 11 - teachers everywhere - you play a vital role in encouraging or discouraging future artists!
Please say a bit about your work as an artist and painter.
Painting - my art teacher grunted at a painting based on the cartoon character - The Vision - DC comics; I knew something was up with that lone grunt, the equivalent of a standing ovation.
I also make sculpture - I once met Picasso in a dream - he was looking at one of my pieces quietly interested but said nada, while his companion Jean Cocteau gave me the distinct impression he was not impressed with me or the work.
Basquiat on Amazon
Andy Warhol on Amazon
Sean Donovan's paintings
Interview with Sean Donovan continued
Please tell us about your work as a singer-songwriter and musician.
Music - I stayed home from school - a very rare occurrence - to work out a Beatles tune, although not completely successful it showed an ability and ambition to persevere in musicology. It would be another five years before performing live at age 19 in the Chapter Arts bar, with a face painted half black and half white I had an out of body experience and as I came back to the body it was the end of the song with a round of applause.
Your influences and sources of inspiration?
Influences; the cosmic flux acts as a continual influence - but probably here is an opportunity to quote a few earth bound spirits, and even some that have moved on. As a painter I like the work of Franz Kline and Mattisse.
As a musician The Velvet Underground and their collaborative film work and live performance with Andy Warhol and while I'm at it Basquiat the painter friend of Andy - oh and David Bowie, Eno, the list starts to get long.
Octavia Butler is a great American lady and writer. She used to give me advice via the psychic net. Octavia is with the elder spirits now as is John Lennon and as mentioned earlier Picasso. It is said you may receive help and guidance from the spirit world if you are truthful in your quest.
For instance John Lennon may be able to spare you some time on your next song. Anything is possible if you believe in our abilities as multi-dimensional beings. As a bass player once quoted in song, WE ARE SPIRITS IN THE MATERIAL WORLD.
Highlights of your career in both fields of creativity?
By the age of 23 I had got my arse into UWIC arts foundation course in my hometown, it was that or leave for India; I was a recovering acid casualty and had wasted several years already.
Before the arts regime - or art factory has I like to think of it - think art sausages, I did co-write a play - or scene within a play called Too Much Hassle - produced by Grassroots Theatre; a seminal moment, as watching actors speak the words you have written is up there in the top ten life experiences, at least for me.
Current and future projects and plans?
OK present day - I have just been offered a recording deal with DMMG Records and also look forward to DMMG publishing my first novel, hopefully in May 2011. These 2 events have now focussed my day to day existence as a living breathing artist.
What is an artist? An artist is a practising creative. So if you paint mushrooms green, sculpt with spaghetti, write childrens novels about alien invasion, or play the mandolin you are an artist, but singing in the shower does not count, in other words creative ACTIVITY is paramount, that activity is almost unimportant readers, but if you feel depressed and lost in life when not singing in the shower - you are a creative individual who needs to take singing seriously.
So whatever you do you have to practice, practive, practice and persevere in all you do; however trivial or world stopping its just the same.
Painting for example - after 30 years of painting I started actually selling these works last year, did I give up - no - were there some gaps - yes - but through perseverance I made it, at least I can say that energy has been received and returned a pat on the head is very important.
My painting is shamanic in nature - ie I work with the environment, wind, frost, gravity, alchemy all inform and speak to me; my part in the process is an interpreter, I tickle the work but cannot claim to be the sole pregenitor - the universe is my artistic - creative partner; in fact we are one and the same.
Certain paintings will evolve imagery that if you spend time with are in fact phots of a sort that are snapshots of the otherworld, as we celts say; or perhaps astral, thought driven dimensions, of which there are many!
My work is also informed by my study of Chi energy and dots blobs of colour are in and around the work; it is the influence of the spheres.
Anything else you would like to add?
That brings me - nice tie in - to music - and the current music/sound project called KORADJI.
This word is Australian in origin and refers to shamen or medicine man, in respect for older, wiser cultures than our western model, I have adopted the name. Sound, healing, energy where does it begin and when will it end? Please post your answers here in the comments section.
Koradji features Lou Noble on vocals, Cath Seabury on bass and myself on improvised sound via modern synthesizers that I manipulate live, various percussion live and a never the same twice 16 track porta studio mix with sliders that forms the backbone over which we three dance sonically.
Quote about Koradji live; "I wish I had been on acid."
Now readers I personally do not encourage the use of psychotropic plants or chemical derived thereof, but you get the idea. We also have frequent guests on violin - Heulwen Thomas - poetry - Dave Moule and his mate Rob - a legendary talented guitarist and composer. Its not unusual for six members to be on stage at once.
As the celtic bards and Indian raga musicians of then and now I follow structures but never play them the same way twice; it is an old tradition - jazz being a contemporary art form.
I also still pick up the guitar and hope to reflect this folkier side of town in the second album.
Sean Donovan and Koradji links
- To hear Koradji and book us for your festival or venue
To view examples of visual art work and enquire about purchasing
© 2010 Steve Andrews