Interview with Sean Lyman
q)Please tell us your name and where you practice.
a)My Name is Sean Lyman. I live and work in
q) Why do you make art?
a)I make drawings as a way to communicate… I see the drawings as a form of language that I am unable to otherwise speak. I have been drawing since I was a child. When I was young, my brother and I use to get a magazine called ZOO Books. For a while we each got to pick a picture and our Mother would draw them for us. Eventually, she started to make me draw my own… I just remember that I wanted mine to look as good as her drawing was. This was an important realization for me as I look back, whether I knew it or not, I was being critical of what I was making. I wanted it to have value/meaning.
q) How do you work ?
a)I work from both photographs I take and from images I find. As I have continued working I am finding these images to be more of a support and less of what the drawing actually becomes.
q) What´s your background?
a)I got my BFA at
q) What role does the artist have in society?
a)I feel that the artist has a responsibility to be honest when most in that society will not. The honesty does not need be earth shattering or prophetic… it can be but it also can be perverse and degenerate. I think that is up to the individual.
q) What was a seminal experience for you ?
a)Last year I had a show at NICE/NICE Exhibition Space in
q) Has your practice changed over time ?
a)To an extent yes, I focus more now on only using imagery that I know will eventually only be a supportive tool. In that I mean the drawing will end up being something entirely different than explicitly a drawing of the photo.
q) What art do you most identify with ?
a)Subversive types of art… but also at the same time I have spent a lot of time recently re-finding Dutch Still-Life painting. There is something magical about that work.
q) What´s your strongest memory of your childhood ?
a)(see second Question)
q) What themes do you pursue ?
a)Identity, culture, opposites, masculinity and femininity, vanity, perversion, and social constructs.
q) Describe a real life experience that inspired you.
a)Ten years ago I was in a wheelchair for two months… it was the first time I was something other than “normal” I was able to experience the ugliness that people are able to possess without actively knowing that they/we are doing it. I go back to this experience often as a moment of clarity. I know that now the way I perceive this time is now the way I want to remember it… it too is a construct. These types of constructs influence me daily.
q) What´s your most embarrassing moment ?
a)Shit, I think it would depend on who you asked… there is not just one coming to mind.
q) What jobs have you done other than being an artist ?
a)I had a lot of odd jobs before I came to work at the University. I waited tables, worked at a golf shop, landscaped, sales person, cook, framer at a frame shop… just to think of a few.
q) What responses have you had to your work ?
a)Generally people respond well, they want to know why the people have bags/masks on their heads. I also have people think that the drawings are creepy… which I enjoy, makes me smile.