Interview with Phil Cheater

The latest artist to join the Art Across The City 2013 lineup is Phil Cheater. Graduating from Swansea Metropolitan University in 2011, Cheater is one of Wales’ most exciting emerging artists, with a very distinctive style. Below, Phil gives an introduction to his work and what he will be exhibiting in Swansea.

Art Across The City 2013 runs from 28 March – 12 May 2013, with a launch event at Mosaics Bar, High Street, Swansea on the 28th from 6-8pm. Artists announced so far include Olaf Breuning, Pete Fowler and Sinta Tantra.

Phil Cheater

How did the commission come about?

Phil Cheater: After exhibiting in Swansea over the past 2 years as well as volunteering for LOCWS, I was already aware of their previous programs and their outward approach to improving the appearance of Swansea and raising awareness of the arts. The commission was offered to me due to the style of my work in conjunction with the other artists in this particular Art Across the City programme.


How did you approach the local context and site?

PC: The city of Swansea has been my home for the last 5 years both during and after my degree. I have always been fascinated with the various forms of architecture and how they compliment each other whilst clashing at the same time. For me the buildings of Swansea act as memorials for the cultural heritage of the city. There is also a great deal of redevelopment work being carried out in and around Swansea but certain buildings maintain their dominance so this was central to designing the piece of work.


Can you talk about the title of the work?

PC: “Land-marked” relates to the context of the piece as the sculptures are based around the strong but simple design of the many office buildings that formulate the high street and the centre of the city. Most of the time these buildings go unnoticed as most of the focus is at street level. However many of these concrete facades act as a backdrop for other events. The work for Art Across the City gives the strong geometric shapes a new lease of life by injecting colour to generate a dazzle effect. The location of the work responds to the regeneration of the city, especially as new buildings appear to be emerging from the ground on a weekly basis.


Where does the design come from?

PC: The design is based on previous works with Dazzle Camouflage and technical drawing, inspired by artists such as Edward Wadsworth, Sol LeWitt and Franz Ackermann. The Art Across the City programme creates vibrant work that makes the most of the blank spaces in Swansea. This design exploits these blank spaces by using the simple but striking patterns found in buildings.


Can you talk about the choice of colours in the work?

PC: Dazzle Camouflage alters the perception of a space or object and with the choice of colour creates a visually stimulating, and sometimes painful intervention in an environment. “Land-marked” does this buy using primary colours that already have a strong relationship with each other. The use of black and yellow refers to both Health and Safety work that I have explored, as well as Kandinsky and the use of colour theory as some colours create an awkward juxtaposition against each other.


What are your plans for the future? Any upcoming projects?

PC: This particular piece of work for LOCWS is going to be the start of a new series, which continues to explore the occurrence of pattern and camouflage in the banal and everyday.


Phil Cheater’s Land-Marked will be situated on the Guildhall Green, St Helen’s Road, Swansea, 28March – 12 May

Model of one of three sculptures for Art Across The City 2013
Model of one of three sculptures for Art Across The City 2013