The first time I sat down to have lunch with Stephen Scott, I stopped him in mid-sentence and asked him, “Stephen, are you a genius? Or are you just British?”
Stephen Scott is an artist on many levels. Musician, poet, photographer, graphic artist, sound designer, book author, and leader of artists—Steve has traveled the globe sharing, performing, and advocating the arts. As one might suspect, there is an enigmatic, intriguing quality to this artist.
Stephen was part of the fledgling contemporary Christian music industry from the early eighties. Armed with an English art school degree, he first became involved musically with CCM icon, Larry Norman, and later immersed himself in the Sacramento new wave scene (a la Charlie Peacock, The 77s, and Exit Records). All told, his recorded works span ten albums from then to the present. Always on fringe, Stephen has also produced audio CDs of works bringing together ambient loops, original poetry, and original music.
In addition, Stephen has been an advocate for the arts. Over the last decade, he has been a leader with Christian Artists Networking Association (CANA), which is active in organizing national and international conferences in India, southeast Asia, and eastern Europe, as well as contributed to many similar events in the UK and elsewhere. CANA’s current project is entitled, “Run With The Fire,” an multi-stationed (i.e., on several continents) electronic visual arts exhibit featuring a diverse number of artists from around the world that will be running concurrent to the London 2012 Olympics.
Prolific as a writer, Stephen has written three small press books on poetry, as well as two short books on art theory. If you are an artist of faith interested in art theory, I recommend picking up Like a House on Fire: Renewal of the Arts in a Postmodern Culture (2002) and Crying For a Vision and Other Essays (2007).
Stephen’s latest foray is a bit of a retrospective, both musically and visually. Stephen has recently released “Emotional Tourist,” a collection of his music past and present, and it is the first time a collection of his has been issued in the secular market.
In addition, he has an expansive collection of images collected over his many years through his travels in Asia and Europe. Images have been digitally manipulated, collaged, and sometimes colored by hand. This gallery, also dubbed “Emotional Tourist,” will be shown at Oak Hills Church in Folsom, California from April 22 through May 27.
Stephen adds, “I like the idea of several `levels’ of framing. I alter the images during the selection via the editing and coloring process. This is one kind of reframing. Then they are physically reframed. If `every picture tells a story’ then I wonder if the stories are changed by the selective editing and coloring, and further changed by the physical frame. Sometimes the frames look as if they bring stories of their own into the mix.
“As with music and bits of `found sound,’ I like changing things by editing them, re-quoting them, sometimes turning them into patterns (sound loops?) and remixing/reframing them. The resulting sound textures often are used as backgrounds for poems. The poems are often about the people and places in these images.”