RICHARD LAYZELL. 03/02/15

I really liked Richard Layzell, he started off by performing a few seconds of Tai Chi which shows he’s a very relaxed kind of guy, he then proceeded to thank us for turning up and for “being who you are” which I felt was a beautiful start to a lecture, safe to say he had earned my attention. He proceeded to say that he’ll start by reading something off of a computer screen – something I really dislike as the lecturer becomes monotone almost instantly, however I gave him the benefit of the doubt and listened to him. There was some parts of his dialog that went completely over my head, he said words that I didn’t understand, he used phrases I’ve never heard of before (Nor did he explain what they ment) and he talked in a monotone voice, he slowly started to lose my interest, then he showed us a Black and White video which brought me back in. The video was of wooden flooring and from the angel, you could see people walking over the floor and leaving the camera, then it cuts to a close up of a particular plank in the wooden flooring where someone (I think it was Richard himself) staring at it close up, he started feeling it with the palm of his hand, then he smelled it, proceeded to taste it and then placed his ear on it – there was no music or noise which made the video quite unnerving. It then showed you him lifting the floor board up in a certain angel so its sticking out, it would then pan out a clip of a shoe would show slamming down on the floor, it would then show you more boards stuck up, it would then show the clip of the foot slamming down and cut back to more boards sticking up. This repeated a fair bit until the majority of the floor boards were sticking up looking a bit like a maze. The next clip showed a guys bare foot just moving the planks which now looked like bricks, it would just be this foot dragging planks around on his heel, it was very intriguing but didn’t really interest me. He then started talking about one of his projects, this one really caught my attention – it was called “Becoming Other”, basically Richard Layzell would act like a character he created with a whole new personality and dress sense.
He showed a video of him acting like his character “Baily Savage” whom was really into politics, wanting to help Thatcher – in the video, he left a limo and entered the party looking very smart and would just shout nonsense (In my opinion, didn’t understand what he was talking about), then it would proceed to him in a car shouting why he should be elected and how he’s “really good at making money, oh yes aha!”. He then showed us another character he became called Max Hombre who was just in pictures, he was walking around carrying a golden builders helmet (Richard even forgot why he carried it around, which we all found funny) talking to the public, then he started talking about Tanya Koswycz. Tanya was another one of Richards Persona’s and actually made artwork for her as she was an artist which I found was really interesting, almost like this character he created has actually created something. He started having big discussions with her and put postcards up in his exhibition showing the conversations they had, it was like he was actually talking to a real life woman and it was scarily good. At the end of his lecture, I was invested enough to ask a question at the end, it may of been an awkward question but the feedback I got from the question was really good – in fact he’s never been asked it before which I was pretty shocked to hear. I asked considering Baily Savage had a video of him doing what he does and he had pictures of Max Hombre doing what he does, has he ever considered giving Tanya a visual piece like a video or pictures? Of like, Richard dressed as Tanya doing artwork or something. He responded really well followed by chuckles saying that he see’s certain women in the street and sometimes thinks to himself “Oh my, that’s what Tanya would look like!”, he once saw a woman in a pink dress and he felt like she was Tanya, he asked his persona and she apparently acted badly saying “Why would I wear a pink dress!?”, he obviously hasn’t given Tanya a public appearance, only he knows what she looked like. I love how he talks to his persona’s, almost like imaginary friends its beautiful.
He followed up with a story where he named a mannequin “Olaf” and everyone fell in love with him after he was given a name, its so interesting how just giving a name to something gives it a personality almost instantly – people apparently tried to “steal “Olaf and they filmed the kidnapping, would they have bothered to steal it if it never had a name? Or once he was given an identity? Its a very interesting concept and I found the lecture really interesting. He also started talking about a film he made, he realized that one of his ancestors was called “Phoebe” and she fell over in a certain location whilst pregnant. Just for fun, he asked his friend to repeat the fall in the certain location as he filmed around the public, people offered the help her up and they did a few takes, they looked over the footage and realized that in one of the falls, a pregnant lady walks down the path, where she fell – I don’t know why but I was incredibly moved by this.
I really enjoyed his lecture and hope to hear more about his personas in the near future. Here are a few images of Richard Layzell’s work and himself.

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