INTERVIEW: Jim Moir | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Sitting in art school many moons ago, young Jim Moir peered across the road at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, obsessing over the little panels next to the paintings that tell you what you should think and why you probably don’t get it.

“I went and peeled them off the wall and replaced them with some bollocks. Not literal bollocks; I wrote a load of shite to replace the stuff that’s there for academics to talk about.”

Much-loved by millions as Vic Reeves, his incredible career alongside Bob Mortimer saw the pair become legends through hugely popular shows Shooting Stars and Vic Reeves’ Big Night Out, for which Jim never let Bob produce any of the artwork.

“He draws worse than a two-year-old. I remember asking if he could draw a frog, and I was on the floor laughing it was so awful. He can write, just about, but he should be hired at parties to do drawings. It’s hilarious.”

Many more moons beyond art school, and as the Biscuit Factory prepares to host the art school escapee’s first ever Newcastle exhibition, he’s open to a wide range of opinion about his work. “If you think it’s shite, just say, and if you like it put a tick. Shite or tick. I might hand out pots of red paint, so if people don’t like something, they can put a cross through it!”

If you think it’s shite, just say, and if you like it put a tick. Shite or tick

Part of a series of nationwide events, the new exhibition is inspired by the North; Jim spent his formative years in Darlington developing a lifelong fondness for the region. “There’s a great artistic community, a way of thinking and doing things for art’s sake, not money, wanting to do something no-one’s heard of, to come up with brand new ideas. That’s specific to the North East, that spark.”

Showcasing over one hundred imaginings of familiar Northern faces and landmarks rendered in his truly unique, characterful style, Jim’s practice sprawls across painting, drawing, etching, photography and sculpture, his child-like glee maintained throughout. “You do it from when you’re born, as soon as you mark a piece of paper and like the look of it. It takes different forms too; I might put an idea on paper or canvas, film it, or write a song, but it’s all from the same root.”

Inspiration can still strike at any time, including one memorable and very ordinary Saturday morning. “I was waiting for an egg to boil and I did this drawing of David Bowie’s ghost. I put it on Instagram, and everyone wanted to buy a print, so I did loads and sold fifty of them! I spent Saturday doing all these drawings of a sheet with a lightning strike on his face.”

With all pieces in the exhibition signed and available to buy, the show is an excellent opportunity for people to take home a slice of the sheer joy infused throughout Jim’s work, something he vividly recalls former Doctor Who star Tom Baker telling him it was impossible to fake. “He said people can always hear whether you’re smiling or not with voiceovers, and that’s true with everything. If you’re not bothered it comes across, so it’s always best off if you like stuff. Fortunately, I like quite a lot of stuff, so I’m alright!”

Jim Moir’s exhibition, A Mountain of Turkish Delight, takes place at Biscuit Factory, Newcastle from Thursday 9th-Sunday 19th May.

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