Strangers to the art world may have come across the work of Cerith Wyn Evans in his collaborations with the director Derek Jarman. Together the two made videos for the Smiths, the Fall and the Pet Shop Boys in the 1980s. He has also worked with artists such as Throbbing Gristle, Russell Haswell and Florian Hecker.
To art world people, Cerith was kind of a cool, older brother type to all the lunatic millionaires that came out of the Young British Artist movement of the mid-90s. His work is made from light, sound, fireworks, explosions and photographs, with an emphasis on the words “spectacular” and “beautiful”.
Born in 1958 in Llanelli, Wales, in a family of nine children, his father was an architect who constructed local buildings.
I first met Cerith on one of the worst nights of my life. I was “celebrating” my stag do in an illegal drinking den in east London with a few friends and lots of awful strangers. A tawdry ordeal in which I was stripped naked and tied to a chair took place.
Russell Haswell had brought Cerith along for a laugh, and were it not for their generous company and adeptness with profound philosophical conversation, I probably would have hanged myself that night.