Conversation with Chris Westray –

This conversation with Chris Westray was recorded in an Angel-in-Us coffee shop close to the Kyobo


bookshop in Gangnam, Seoul on July 24, 2010, a Saturday. This is a continuation of a conversation I already had a minute to spare over (here). Did we every answer all our questions? Will we ever know what is art or why do we create art? Individualism, if it could speak louder, eventually had its say!


CW: Here basically, just find any particular feeling within your body.

COR: Does it have to be a real feeling?

CW: Yeah. An emotional feeling. Just choose an emotional feeling that is sort of buzzing higher than any other in your body, positive or negative it doesn’t really matter. Have you got it?

COR: Do you want me to write it down?

CW: No. Now in a minute, holding that emotion and drawing from that emotion and finding where it is in your body, wherever it is in your body, just let yourself draw it, feel that emotion just come out all over the page. Just draw for a minute, any kind of shape, anything, just let it go, let the emotion flow out onto the page.

(Time passes as yours truly draws)

COR: This came from nowhere.

CW: Did you even plan to form a man?

COR: Well as soon as you kind of said I had who said it was a man?

CW: Oh Ok, yeah sure. Yeah, just let that feeling come out through your hands onto the page. Try to stay focused on the feeling while you’re drawing. Let the drawing sort of draw itself.

(Time passes as yours truly draws)

So for the audience at home, we basically or experimenting on Conor in my own glee, basically, well not really, well kind of, trying to illustrate a point anyway.

(Time passes as yours truly draws)

What’s the emotion would you say, just out of interest?

COR: What do you think the emotion is?

CW: Well, I don’t know. You have to tell me what you think it is. You have to tell me… If I were to say, looking at this picture, it’s some form of anger.

COR: Think about our discussion previous to you setting this task.

CW: Frustration of criticism?

COR: No…

CW: It’s a very bulky person. Is it just raw angry expression? No?

COR: Well, it’s similar.

CW: Have you finished? It’s a bear or a cat. The head is quite small.

COR: A cat?

CW: What do you think, what is it supposed to be?

COR: It’s supposed to be a wolf, standing up like a person.


CW & COR: Guffaw & laugh, laugh, laugh.

CW: What … eh.

COR: What it is? I was thinking of argumentative but I don’t know if that’s an emotion.

CW: The feeling of being argumentative.

COR: That’s what I’m feeling now. And antagonism or antagonistic perhaps, might be a better word.

CW: You were feeling antagonistic?

COR: For a reason, because I disagreed with what you were saying. Well I agreed with some, maybe fifty per cent, but everything else you said I disagreed with because I honestly … ye know.

CW: So would you call this a piece of art work?

COR: Would I call it… Because it’s an expression of emotion, possibly yes.

CW: Does it communicate anything to anybody else?

COR: It depends on who is looking at it.

CW: Riiight…

COR: It does depend on who looks at it. Some people might look at it and say it’s a sketch. Other people might look at it and say it’s …it’s …it’s a pointless image. A nothing thing.

CW: How does it make you feel?

COR: Satisfying to let all my anger and that antagonism out on the paper. Because, look at the way I was drawing using the pencil, and the sharp angles, I did those on purpose. I don’t usually draw like this.

CW: But what was the point you were antagonised about?

COR: You were or we were slightly disagreeing, we were trying to put two points, kind of, ahead of each other.



CW: Yeah, I was saying I make movies not for anybody else, and if they so happen to like it, then great. So therefore, I don’t like getting criticism any more, because my movies for me are a therapeutic thing I do to witness beauty and to tie beautiful things together, and when I look at it I feel very satisfied because I can see the artistry in my movies and sometimes people see them and see nothing and just give me negative criticism, saying there boring and a waste of their time.


COR: Well I agree with you on that. But then as I said, you should always be trying to communicate something.

CW: That’s the point we were disagreeing on because I don’t think you should always need to communicate something.

COR: When we were talking about your new idea, and ‘what is it about’ and you start talking about whatever it is about, I can’t remember the details right now, and it’s the same with all the other videos, it’s always like, what is it trying to or what does it represent? What is it about or saying?

CW: It doesn’t represent any particular thing. It represents whatever the viewer feels it represents. Which is, everybody symbolises the world slightly differently, but then sometimes the symbolic way people recognise the world does overlap, that’s why certain colours have similar meaning for some people. What I hope for my animations to be is structures that people can look at which stimulate some kind of idea in the person, almost like a … especially Blocks, that’s the most like this. It’s a structure where something happens and any number of things can happen, for me it’s all about order and chaos, but for someone else they could be like little lumps of cheese.

COR: If you think… let me phrase this properly… If you are just putting something there, which is kind of what you are saying if you think about it, you make this animation that can be interpreted in many different ways, a bit like a sculpture can be; how does that express what you’re feeling?

CW: Well it doesn’t. Well in some respects it does because I make the structure to begin with, but y’know, my reasons behind it are different to other people, meaning is different, my understanding is different, it’s like free association.

COR: OK, that’s fair enough. Meaning, fair enough. What about reason?

CW: My reason for making it?

COR: Yeah.

CW: It’s what I do; it’s what I always wanted to do.

COR: It’s got to be something more than that. You can’t just say you wanted to do it, like “I wanted to go for a beer”!

CW: Well, it’s what I grew up doing. I loved Wallace and Gromit, and then I got into reading and spirituality and psychology, and I started trying to fix my own brain and bringing those ideas…actually I’ve started films therapeutically, I do that automatically. I start off in the first places using a particular emotion I was feeling and then take a cross section of it develop from there. And that’s how I got into doing that. I did the same thing with Blocks. I was using the concept of forgiveness, using it as a process of forgiveness and forgiveness was kind of like a centre-point of chaos and order, bringing these chaotic feeling and working through them in an ordered pace through the medium of animation.

COR: Doesn’t seem like much of a reason.

CW: I think it’s quite a good reason, I mean why do people play music, why do people write poems.

COR: I always write poems because I have something I want to say.

CW: Right. Not a reason though is it? Why do you want to say what you want to say?

COR: Because, it has to be said. If someone doesn’t say it, it could go unsaid and unrecognised and unappreciated. There are more important things in the world, too many things that go unappreciated and I think it’s important that things need to be approached, things need to be questioned. If you don’t ask questions you’ll never have answers.

CW: That’s your angle on the whole creative sphere. Fine, you’re on a different side of the creative universe.

LH: I don’t think there is much of a difference between you two guys. You both just have different motivations to similar things.


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2 thoughts on “Conversation with Chris Westray –

  1. Pingback: The actual ‘Conversation with Chris Westray’ « If I had a minute to spare…

  2. Pingback: “Web” by Chris Westray – | If I had a minute to spare…

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