The auction ends tonight, and Stuart Semple tells us why it matters
World famous artists have designed a series of record turntables for this year’s Secret 7″ project, to raise money for mental health charity MIND. The auction ends tonight. See details and our interview with artist Stuart Semple below.
Earlier this year, the likes of Primal Scream, London Grammar, Manic Street Preachers and Jeff Buckley all had songs contributed to the project that saw over 700 designers choose a track by one of seven selected artists, before designing a one-of- a kind sleeve design for a limited 7” vinyl release. Just 100 copies of each track were pressed, with the identity of each record’s designer remains a mystery until it was purchased.
Now in the final push of fundraising for mental health charity MIND, artists Gavin Turk, Jeremy Deller, Jake & Dinos Chapman, Es Devlin, Stuart Semple, James Joyce, Jean Jullien, Pete Fowler, Hsiao-Chi Tsai & Kimiya Yoshikawa and Francis Richardson have all each designed one of ten Planar 1 turntables – which are up for auction here.
The auction ends at 9pm GMT tonight (Wednesday September 12), and bidders are required to register first via Artsy.
“I’ve struggled with anxiety and panic attacks since my near death experience as a teenager at art school,” Stuart Semple told NME. “In those days, nobody mentioned mental health issues, and things were so bleak that I really suffered in silence on my own and coped by making art.
“Later, my grandmother developed late onset schizophrenia, and there was little advice, but Mind were amazing and supported us and helped us navigate getting her help.”
He added: “I really wanted to thank them so I auctioned some work, then we made friends and I helped them found the creative therapies fund because I know that creativity can really help people like me to heal and be understood.
“Basically everyone should have access to avenues to express their creativity.”
How would you say that the discussion of mental health has influenced your artwork?
Stuart: “In the early days I needed to make art just to cope. It was the only outlet I had for those thoughts and feelings. Nowadays the work looks out a lot more and deals with bigger social ideas of anxiety and happiness.
“I just did this huge citywide project in Denver called happy city which was all about brining people together in public space and challenging fear with art. Lately I’ve been making art materials because I want to give people tools to externalise how they feel.”
What can you tell us about your involvement with Secret 7″ and the work produced?
“For the past few years I’ve done sleeves for the secret 7” obviously this year, their charity is Mind and there’s nothing else closer to my heart than that. I decorated one of the turntables, and I chose Joy Division and visually remixed Peter Saville’s iconic graphic work for that. I think Ian Curtis’ lyrics are as poignant now as when he wrote them.
“This week was world suicide day, the biggest killer of young men in this country is suicide. We know Ian took his life. All this stuff seemed to make sense for me and that Joy Division record provided a lot of comfort for me when I was at my lowest. I think that record was a kind of catharsis for Ian and art can be that for all of us. “
What do you feel needs to change in terms of breaking down the stigma that surrounds discussing mental health?
“Actually, the good news is a lot has changed already, massively. I think the message is getting across now; we are way ahead of where we were even a decade ago. We still don’t have a parity of physical and mental wellness. I think we are ready to start having the meaty discussions about how as a society we deal with the issues we have. There’s a lot to be done, and culture moves and the issues we face shift.
“We need to look at the new situations that the upcoming generations are going to face and the true impact of technology, stress and identity on their wellbeing. There’s no doubt the male suicide discussion, difficult as it is to have, needs to be front and centre.”
FOR HELP AND ADVICE ON MENTAL HEALTH:
- ‘Am I depressed? – Help and advice on mental health and what to do next
- MIND – For mental health support and awareness
- YOUNG MINDS – The voice for young people’s health and wellbeing
- CALM – The Campaign Against Living Miserably for young men
- Time To Change – Let’s end mental health discrimination
- The Samaritans – Confidential support 24 hours a day