'Expression can be as raw as you want it to be,' says Faris Badwan.
We walk through Paul Klee's 2013 exhibtion at Tate Modern. The singer feels that to look at a work by Paul Klee is akin to watching the artist's train of thought, "almost as if you are watching the piece grow, with Klee discovering things for the first time'. Klee has been a huge source of inspiration to Faris Badwan, who says of his own practice that 'it is good to get lost in art, to almost let it lead you'.
Expression can be, kind of, as raw as…and it should be as raw as you want it to be. It should an instinctive thing. Making art or music with the means you have available to you, you know, the raw primal things are the best.
It feels like he’s discovering things for the first time, you know, discovering mediums for the first time or trying out a colour relationship or anything like that. I think that’s what’s really exiting about it. And, I saw… There’s a piece, actually, where is it? I don’t know where it is. I think it’s over here. It’s quite a long way over here. I saw it in a book and I just…I really like the way it seemed like he was, basically, making it up as he went along. But that’s what’s interesting about it; it’s watching his…it’s watching his train of thought and watching it… watching the piece grow because that’s the way my favourite kind of art is made, it’s…it almost leads you rather than you leading it. You just kind of follow the line.
This was the first Paul Klee piece that I saw, and it made me… It made me want to try stuff out. It was almost like we’d been following the same, or a similar, train of thought.
I’ve kept sketch books since I was really young, so probably as young as I could hold a pen. There’s hundreds of these kind of pages where they…you know, where it’s more…they’re filled for hours. It’s hugely important to my life and actually helps me, kind of, function. You know, function normally, whatever that means. There are things as mundane as shopping lists, but then there’ll be like a…an element of a shopping list that then turns into a whole painting, you know.
It’s cool to, kind of, get lost in art and be lead to the point of obsession and fixation. There’s so many moods in Paul Klee’s work, it’s almost contradictory. It’s like sometimes he’s really obsessive about certain things and you can imagine him almost being so into it he…would start to go a bit crazy. And, then other times he’s completely calm and…you know, something like that, it’s…it’s actually called Harmony. But, yeah, it’s… Yeah, it’s funny. There’s such a range of emotion in his work.
I think it’s quite easy for people to feel like art is inaccessible. You just feel you can’t identify with it and, secondly, that you could never do anything that was technically that proficient. But to me things like that don’t really mean as much as a lot of Paul Klee’s stuff, which is quite instinctive and somehow I feel like it has a lot more life to it. He’s got a sort of…an enthusiasm which is bordering on childlike.
I think more than any other artist, I think with Paul Klee, and especially when you see it right in front of you as well, when you see a whole body of his work it could really send you in any direction.