Saturday, 27 December 2014

Selfridges - Bright Old Things 2015, Q & A


Previous Career: Chartered Accountant
Current Career: Artist and Consultant

Roger Miles worked for 32 years as a chartered accountant, for Deloitte, and was a senior partner for 20 years. In 2009, he hung up his abacus and went to Chelsea College of Arts, being awarded a BA in Fine Art with 1st class honours.

His final show at College in 2014 was a pop-up record store – an immersive experience that focused on the interaction between visitor and artist. The installation recreated a ‘70s record store in a mobile library, with most of the contents coming from his previous art residency at a recycling centre. He is interested in collections and in memorialising objects and their histories.

How was your experience of being a mature student?

This was my second degree – my first was in accounting studies in 1975-78. This time around, I was focused and undistracted.
There were almost 20 mature students out of a total of 100 on the course. At times, the mature students acted as quasi-tutors, Japanese students would call me professor. As mature students, we were able to share our life experiences. At the same time, we benefited from the energy and new thinking of the younger students.

History plays a big part in your work – why are old objects so important to you in your work?

Collecting, memorialising, petrifying, cannibalising and recording – my practice attempts to combine these processes with found objects and their histories, through the creative processes of sculpture, installations and printmaking.

My life, like everybody’s, is unique – as a result, it is fertile ground in which to dig and search for artistic ideas and observations. I use the history of people and objects to trigger new ways of looking at the world. "History is a material to be manipulated and abused" - Anselm Kiefer.

How does the word ‘retirement’ make you feel?

In the words of the great Neil Young, I didn't retire but I did retread

(From the album, Greendale, 2003 – Falling from Above
Grandpa said to cousin Jed
Sittin' on the porch,
"I won't retire
But I might retread

Alternative question

This isn’t the first time you have worked at Selfridges?

No it isn’t. During Christmas in 1975, I worked for 4 weeks in the bedspread department. I had just started my accounting degree, Bohemian Rhapsody was at number 1 and punk music was just around the corner.
I was working hard to convince customers to convert from bedspreads to the new fangled duvet from Scandinavia.
Almost 40 years later, I have returned as an artist – just don't ask me about tog values ….

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