The Exhibit Cinema on Balham Station Road played host to art exhibition ‘Mind, Matter and Monsters’ in May.
The exhibition, the work of south west London-based creative Louis Morel, was part of the 2018 Wandsworth Fringe which took place from May 4-20.
A collection of bright, lively drawings, ‘Mind, Matter and Monsters’ depicts worlds and scenes as Louis imagines them.
In the introductory notes for his exhibition, Louis, 21, said: “I go to new places and meet new people in my head and that’s where my drawings come from.”
Louis suffers from severe sensory processing problems due to Asperger Syndrome, such that he cannot leave the house without being in pain, and so uses his time and resources to create.
He said: “I like drawing. I like weird stuff.
“I hope people like my work, there’s nothing much complex.
“It’s like, ‘yay, I can make people happy!’”
“There’s not a deeper meaning behind it. It’s just I like drawing weird things.”
The weird things on show at Fringe not only served to make people happy, but also to raise money – 50% of the profits from the sales of the artwork went to the charity WaterAid.
Louis had previously used his work to benefit charity before, raising £4000 for Ambitious About Autism through charity auctions of his drawings.
On his decision to now direct part of his profits to WaterAid, Louis said: “I am autistic and my sensory stuff is a living nightmare but I get to eat food and I get to drink water and I’m not dying because I don’t have either one of those things.
“It’s incredibly important. The amount of money you can put into a charity like WaterAid and the amount you can get out of people is incredible.”
Louis drew in his younger years, and at about 16 began to take it more seriously – using a mouse to create on his computer, the technique which produced his latest exhibition.
He is self taught, and his working style is somewhat unconventional.
He said: “Everything I’ve ever drawn I’ve never sketched first. I just draw it on a blank sheet of paper with no real idea what I’m doing or no guidelines.
“Like people when doing faces have like very strict parameters: okay this line is where the mouth and the nose are, this line is where the eyes are going.
“It all has to be in this very particular mathematical proportion. I’ve never even done that or thought that was necessary.”
‘Mind, Matter and Monsters’ is just a small sample of Louis’ body of creative work.
He has produced animations, a short video with animator Philip Davies which aims to illustrate some of his sensory problems, and longer pieces which he put together himself to give himself more time to address the complexities of the issue.
He said: “Animation is very very time consuming and difficult for people, so I can only fit 30 seconds of speaking time and you can’t express all you want to say about a subject like autism in 30 seconds.
“People spend their lifetimes trying to understand it.
“So through a video working by myself, even though it is not well animated and it’s like a slideshow, I can put everything I wanted to say there.”
One thing Louis loves even more than creating visual work is writing.
He has written 4 books so far, one of which, ‘A Slice of Insanity’, a collection of short stories and poetry, was published in 2016.
He is hoping to get the follow up collection, ‘A Slice of Insanity 2’ published, as well as his latest book, which he describes as ‘something in the style of a nature documentary but with a fancy world and made up fancy animals which goes into too much detail about the minutiae.’
Following the completion of a card game, for which he created and drew 40 cards, he is also currently working on a video game – a decision game which he hopes to have someone code in the near future.
Video games hold a special place in Louis’ heart.
He said: “I could talk about video games forever, I love them to death.”
It was Danganronpa, the Japanese video game franchise, that made him realise that he could read despite his dyslexia – the sparse layout of the bright and bold text allowing him to digest the words.
He said: “That’s one of the things that made me happy because ‘Oh my God, Louis! You can read! I never thought you could read!’
“I love Danganronpa, one because I love trials and figuring out stories, it’s so much fun.
“But also because it taught me that under weird, particular circumstances I can read – I never thought I could.
Moving forward, Louis will continue to create, and achieve his ultimate aim: making people happy.
Try looking at any of the images in the ‘Mind, Matter and Monsters’ exhibition without cracking a smile.
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