In the leadup to this month’s Art Party 41 – The Easter Edition, we asked one of our performers from last Philip Wilcox to answer a few questions and find ourselves intrigued by the answers. By listening to one another’s opinions, artforms, and share in their performance, we gain a better understanding of eachother, what rattles us and what makes us step up. Philip Wilcox is the current Australian Poetry Slam Champion and is currently on a literary tour of China. He has just finished his first book which is being unleashed around China – follow him and keep an eye out for his upcoming tours!

What is your favourite artform to create?

Poetry (and hardcore gangsta rap)

How would you describe your vibe?

I wouldn’t describe it, because then, well, I’ve kinda killed it.

Why do you create?

I guess to test out lines or words or ‘things’ that hold power. Maybe because there’s a truth to them, often it’ll be things that don’t make a whole lot of sense in and of themselves but they hold a certain something: a beauty, a power, mystery. And in doing this, hopefully I can affirm certain universal principles of what it means to be human. Also, the chicks…

What’s your favourite artform to experience?

Apart from Tay-Tay while cleaning… Janelle Monae, Santigold, M.I.A, Little Richard and other underrated divas. Some of the Sufi masters: Rumi, Hefiz, Attar. Tom Stoppard and English absurdist farce. Novels by David Mitchell. Everything in its place: live reggae on stinking hot beaches in Turkey, Mary Shelley cozied up in a van on a rainy night in Surry Hills and Kendrick everywhere.

philip

Five things you’re grateful for.

  1. Arnotts biscuits with names like Ginger Nut, Iced Vovo, Milk Arrowroot – they don’t name biscuits the way they used to
  2. Friends who know you, all of you and still think you’re worth being friends with. I have truly excellent friends, I think it’s my best quality.
  3. Creation and all the poetry and danger and spirit and hard science and mythology found in her.
  4. And the creator; occasionally reflected in creation or in the kindness of a taxi driver or in a line from a Bob Dylan song.
  5. The fact that I can get up in the morning, take a piss, and then think ‘I think I’ll have Weetbix for breakfast this morning’. I don’t love Weetbix but I love that I can choose to eat Weetbix if I so desire.

What do you think Sydney needs less of and why?

Hmm.. less of… I think we’re living in a time where people (and artists) are too afraid to make a call or come down and say something of significance. Maybe it’s because we don’t want to have a hegemonic grand narrative type scenario and that’s definitely worth avoiding. But, what ends up happening is a whole lot of artists dance around, not wanting to offend someone else’s viewpoint and end up saying nothing. Some of the shade that was thrown in the past century between, for instance, Picasso and Matisse or Lawson and Patterson (even if it was an act) was legendary but it helped spur them on to push their art and articulate what they believed or where they stood. I think it’s patronising and a wee bit arrogant to think that someone else’s whole worldview will come crumbling down if you say what you really damn well think. If you go: “Yeah, I could be way off with this assertion about the world, but I’m going to damn well get behind it, because it’s the closest I’m going to get to truth”. Thomas Merton a poet, Trappist mystic and scallywag said:

‘The more earnestly we hope to tell the truth, the more secretly we are convinced that we will only add another lie to all the others told by our contemporaries. We doubt our words because we doubt our very selves- and woe to us if we do not doubt our words and ourselves…Nevertheless we must risk falsity, we must take courage and speak, we must use noble instruments of which we have become ashamed because we no longer trust ourselves to use them worthily. We must dare to think what we mean, and simple make clear statements of what we intend. This is our only serious protection against repeated spiritual defilement by the slogans and programs of the unscrupulous.’

And I think if Sydney needs less of anything it’s “the slogans and programs of the unscrupulous”.

philwic

What Sydney needs more of…

I don’t know… bike lanes?

Favourite place to feel happy and balanced?

Underwater. Pai in Northern Thailand. I grew up on the south coast of NSW so give me green rolling hills going down to abandoned crystal beaches. 

Where can we find more links to your stuff? 

Look me up on my Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/philipwilcoxpoetry/

or ma glam website:

www.philip-wilcox.com

or on Instagram (‘philwilcox’) or Twitter (‘philipwilcox’

Photo credits to Chris Quyen.