1) What was your inspiration for Cerbyd and why do you think the Welsh art scene would benefit from it?
Tom Goddard: The inspiration for Cerbyd came firstly from our involvement in Garej Art space between June 2007 – August 2008. After exhibiting 120 artists in rolling three week shows over a fifteen month programme, I became most interested in the dialogues created between artist and viewer, particularly from works in progress and their ongoing creative processes. They can suggest multiple ideas and perspectives; like sounding boards that will still be influenced by other voices, unlike the more finite but elusive ‘finished’ piece. Initially we faced disappointment when we discovered we hadn't secured the funding to continue Garej, but this eventually led me to question the need for a physical space to create and exhibit art.
Secondly, while I worked as AIR on Cywaith Cymru projects in St.Asaph & Holyhead, I felt wholly disconnected and isolated from other artists across Wales – organisations and networks were fragmented or absent. That was four years ago, when I wanted to develop creative connections across Wales. Now I hope Cerbyd will contribute and benefit those existing networks, as well as introduce a unique and refreshing approach to cross-Wales collaboration.
I decided that Cerbyd, the Welsh word for vehicle, could become an apt metaphor for the rise of art and its communities across Wales; a gallery without walls, which is accessible to all and has endless possibilities. Instead of meeting artists online in forums or networking sites, people will enjoy more interactive face-to-face encounters, as well as a stronger and more durable collaborative experience.
Historically of course, artists have worked together for years, from the Kardomah Gang to the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. In Cerbyd and my own artistic practice, I'm also aiming to achieve this – but given the numerous factors within Cerbyd that I can't control, the collaborative process will be that much more exciting and liberating. Obviously I want the artists and groups involved to have a genuinely enjoyable experience and we'll do everything we can to guarantee that - but with this project, the creativity and fun will come from all the participants collectively, not just those leading the activities.