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Kevin Spenst

Art by Kevin Spenst

By Alan Hindle

Friday October 22, 2004

Drawings about people having problems

KEVIN Spenst is a prolific man with a prolific brain and any number of avenues for his creativity to spill out. As one of the core Narcoleptic Videographer film comedy team, the author and performer of Dislocated Lips (about growing up semi-raised by his schizophrenic father and his constant fears he might someday dissolve into the disease himself) at the Fringe Festival this year, and a guy who writes a short story every day and posts them on his website, along with his spare, dreamy doodles that amuse and disturb in equal measure, Spenst is a one-man geyser of art. Possibly this free-flowing crushing torrent is inevitable and crucial, as, to judge from the intensity of the man’s character (and burning cobalt-coloured eyes) any obstruction in his output would result in an explosion swallowing half the city. Soon bound for the UK to splay his uniqueness and bonhomie across the dingy café/gallery walls of Edinburgh and Ireland, he currently has a competition on his site,, for folks to name their favourite story, with the winner receiving an original illustration to accompany the piece.
ONLY: You apparently write a story a day. Do you use the same working method as for your drawings?
Kevin Spenst: Sort of. There are times it feels good to follow a line, other times it feels like it should be a word, and so stories become pictures, pictures become stories, both become nightmares… They can go off in any direction. It’s like I have a mini seizure… it’s like Siamese Twins, and one twin has epilepsy and suffers fits, and the other twin is a little embarrassed and so he begins to invent picture stories to explain…
ONLY: Given your family history, do you think your drawings as a kid were a sort of release from what as going on in your life?
KS: I started drawing on the backs of church pews, and on the little donation envelopes that got passed around. I would draw people killing each other, scenes of violence. Y’know, war scenes, because I wasn’t allowed toy soldiers.
ONLY: So it was a release.
KS: I ate. I was pretty happy to eat. I drew. I drew a lot. My drawings are of people who are having problems.

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