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In May 2023, Space Fountain will hold the first solo exhibition in Seoul by SEHM, an artist from London.

​You can see the artist's world of work through an interview.


​ⓒSHEM all rights reserved

Q. This is the first solo exhibition in Seoul, Korea. The Loser Wins is the title of the exhibition. Could you kindly explain to us the meaning of the title and the theme of the exhibition? 

The Loser Wins is a visual testament to the ethos of never giving up. A celebration for the outsiders and misfits who truly believed that anything is possible.

Q. We believe that you’ve started to paint since 2016, is there any special motivation that triggered your work on a painting?

I’ve always been drawn towards art in all its forms, my journey began as an observer a self-taught student of art. Everything changed when I had a burning desire to express myself and I found painting was the only way I could do this

Q. In your work, AHL HEAD is a symbol that appears frequently. It signifies ART, HOP, LIFE and combines a figure of a head, and finally symbolizes your self-portrait. We’d like to know about the precise meaning of the AHL head.

The AHL head began as a self portrait, which developed into the all seeing being observing my world. “ART. HOP. LIFE.” represents the 3 sides, the triangle of my creativity: art, music (hip hop) and life


Q. In the canvas, there are a variety of phrases that appear with your symbol. It seems like you compose a canvas with quite specific phrases and liberal color fields. What kind of process do you have to come up with this combination?

My process begins with an emotion or a message I want to portray. Those messages are conveyed in the phrases. Then the colours depict my energy and feelings and I take it from there.   

Q. The way you compose a painting with certain images, alphabets, and your own symbol reminds us of the work of Jean Michel Basquiat. Is it related to his work? Can you introduce to us the artists who inspired you in art history?

JMB is one of the art greats so being compared to him is an honour, but I do feel our styles are different if you read between the lines. He is first and foremost a portrait painter over which he lays expressionism. I am a committed expressionist and my process is to make sense of chaos. My instinctual influence derives from my ancestors and African heritage. I acknowledge the greats, from the Miro and Picasso to Kandinsky and  Mondrian, but fundamentally, my inspiration comes from within. 

​ⓒSHEM all rights reserved


​ⓒSHEM all rights reserved

Q. We believe your paintings deliver various social messages with visual languages such as images, phrases, and symbols. In our point of view, your painting feels like a poetic journal. The way you express it is lyrical and abstract but the hidden messages are strong and socially critical. How do you develop the messages with your pieces? We’d like to know more about your thoughts on the relationship between art and society.

Developing the messages in my work tend to be an organic natural process almost like a therapy session explaining my thoughts, emotions and view on society, how it makes me feel and how it affects everyone around me. I believe art and society go hand in hand as we are all just journalists reporting on the world how we view it and how it views us.

Q. In each piece, various vibrant colors stand out. Are there any criteria for selecting colors? We’d like to know more about the process of how you would combine a variety of colors.

The colour selection process of my work is instinctual it would be difficult to explain the exact reasons why I choose them I prefer to see it as the colours choose me.

Q. We’d like to know about what social and cultural events have influenced you the most. If there is an event that you are most interested in these days, please share it with us.

Of course, being a black man I’ve had to deal with my fair share of racism and coming from where I came from classism too. I also have a deep connection to mental health issues and homelessness. 


​ⓒSHEM all rights reserved

Q. The mediums of your work are very diverse. For this exhibition, you paint on objects such as chairs. Is there any special reason for using various objects other than painting on canvas

I started out in the beginning painting on found objects due to a lack of funds to buy art supplies eventually moving onto canvas, but I’ve always had a connection to found objects which I still use to this day. I love the alchemy in finding something which is technically disregarded and giving it a new life journey. 

Q. In the painting, we can discover legible sentences quite often. We may expect the viewers would interpret their own ways for symbolic icons and phrases. Where are these phrases coming from? We’d like to know about the special way of combining the colors and theme of the painting.

My phrases come from conversations, my inner thoughts, music and source material. The combination is instinctual improvisation. 

Q. Please tell us about your band, Cut With, and your musician life. Is it related to your painting?

Cut With is an alternative rap group which I am a part of with my friends Sean Blake and Betty Adewole. Music is another form of my expression another kind of therapy for me. 

I also enjoy the separation from my art as art is very much a solo thing for me and I enjoy collaborating with the music. 

Q. We’d like to know if there is anything that you want to share with the Korean visitors. Also, do you have any plans for the future?

I am happy to be exhibiting this year with Space Fountain as it is my first show in Asia this is an exciting time for me and I can’t wait for South Korea to see my work in person. I will be working on further shows in the near future will keep you posted.

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