William Vinegrad

My work explores concepts that consider, consumerism, the environment, gender and considered social norms. I work in various different mediums, including performance, photography, and installation. I explore these themes through the use of song, humor, and beauty. 

My work fluxes between explorations in my desire to expose hidden elements of the natural world in particular ‘weeds’ and the industrial landscapes in which they grow and pieces that comments on consumerism and how it warps our ideas of aspiration, desire, and class. 

Recent pieces have included: 

Creating a life-sized Swiss Chalet style weather house barometer as part of Ground galleries Humber street takeover, over the Freedom Festival Weekend 2018. Stereotypically, in Swiss tradition, when the weather is bad the Gentleman appears and when the weather is good, the Lady. I used this opportunity to reverse the typical roles attached to the weather house and it’s inhabitants. As part of this performance The characters housed within manipulated the weather, resulting in unpredictability, drawing reference to the current ‘climate emergency’ whilst also exploring ideas surrounding gender and how historically we associate such objects with specific genders. The piece was a fun, colorful way of exploring this whilst also involving the audience through song and camaraderie. 

Ground was commissioned by Humber Street Gallery to respond to the question ‘Where do we go from here?’ This was also the title of the Hull 2017 commissioned artwork by Jason Bruges. The resulting response was an exhibition held in Trinity Market, exploring themes surrounding water and how it is predicted that Hull will be under water within the next 50 years. My personal take on the theme was to create a performance installation making use of paddling pools and happy fun slides, in order to practice survival techniques in anticipation of the impending floods. 

I wished to show an optimistic approach to what is so often sold as a daunting realization. As part of Grounds annual Mammal Jam Festival, I performed a recent piece entitled ’ Sexy Choice Thins’ The piece explored the idea of tucking into a box of after eight mints 10 minutes too early 7:50 pm. I simply wanted to see what might happen upon eating these chocolates earlier than the advertised time. Unfortunately, I was unable to contain the appropriate level of decorum associated with these chocolates and ended up writing around on the floor with them whilst ‘licking-out’ the wrappers and demolishing the contents of the box within five minutes WHOOPS. 

Many of my performance pieces take inspiration from my performative alter ego ‘The King of The Weeds’. This character is a mixture of different aesthetics, making use of collaged flora and gold body paint. This character makes use of song to project the intimacies surrounding the anthropomorphic collages adorning its body. I make use of trickery through smoke, mirrors, and magic to ignite feelings of preciousness and desire within the viewer, the character also makes use of interpretive movement to explore this often unappreciated world a world of which should be utterly prevalent within the political landscape we are currently living in. My use of magic evokes feelings of appreciation for the beautiful, remarkable, or unfamiliar a metaphor for the specimens I choose to elevate. These are just some examples of where my performative explorations have taken me over the last few years. I consider much of my work, to be inspired and informed by the social injustices I am exposed to as a consequence of living in Hull and working as part of the Ground collective and those who participate in our programmed activities.

I want to encourage conversation around the themes I have chosen to explore through my artworking and activities. I am a politically engaged person and have a genuine interest in exploring the subversive, damaging, impulsive and empowering aspects of consumer society. I believe in the power of socially engaged art, this belief is only strengthened as we move further into an age of awareness. 

www.williamvinegrad.co.uk