10 Questions for W. Heyward Sims
By Cynthia Boiter
There’s no doubt that Columbia native-artist W. Heyward Sims has chops. Whether he’s flailing away at the guitar in the indie rock band, Death Becomes Even the Maiden, or pouring his concern for the perpetuation of intelligent life in Western European-derived culture onto a make-shift canvas, the guy has some stuff in him that needs to get out. Sims got our attention when his first solo show opened at Mark Plessinger’s Frame of Mind gallery and optical shop on Main Street in February, and we had some questions.
Earlier this month, undefined sat down with Sims to get some answers.
cb: You and art -- where, when and under what circumstances did this affair begin?
WHS: It started as early as I can remember. I remember being quite particular about my finger paintings, coloring exercises, and hand writing even as a young child in the mid 1980s. As I got older, my attention to aesthetic detail just began to manifest itself in different forms from drawing to guitar playing. Unfortunately, the arts have just felt like the most natural field to study and partake in.
cb: You were voted Most Talented by your graduating class of 2000 at Dreher High school – Why?
WHS: Winning that superlative always has been a bit curious to me. Throughout high school I drew and was in a band, but I wasn't particularly public about it. I attribute it more to having friends in multiple circles. My high school was definitely a mixture of students hailing from different socio-economic echelons, and having friends scattered about the assorted cliques probably didn't hurt my vote count. I also attribute it to the fact that one person couldn't hold multiple superlatives. My point being that the "Best Looking" quarterback or basketball star probably would've gotten "Most Talented" also, had the parameters allowed it.
Interestingly, though, when they announced the winners over the PA the guy that sat in front of me in Pre-Calculus turned around and said,"Shit. What are you talented at?"
I think I said, "I don't know, I guess drawing and stuff."
He responded,"Shit. The only thing you talented at is dying your hair."
My hair was my natural color at the time.
cb: How did working for two years at Ben & Jerry's in the early 2000s supply you with the requisite angst needed by a mixed-media avant-garde artist and musician in 2010?
WHS: Haha. It didn't. Working at Ben & Jerry's was just a way to make some money. Having previously worked at Za's Brick Oven Pizza across the street, I wanted to work there for a few reasons. 1) I figured it would be less greasy. 2) I reasoned it'd be less hot. 3) I figured I was less likely to burn my fingers thereby securing my digits for guitar playing.
cb: You appreciate provocative art as an artist and a patron -- who provokes you?
WHS: Inspiration's derivation isn't really limited. Sounds and visions all come from transient moods which can derive from anyone or anything. Be it the weather, a politician, a cell phone bill, a paper bag, or a romance. My pieces are only Poloroids. They're just snapshots of time that don't necessarily define who I am or how I will always feel.
cb: How do you take your eggs?
WHS: I like eggs several ways. Scrambled, sunny side up, hard boiled, or over easy are all ok by me. It really just depends on how I feel like eating them at the time. However they are prepared, though, I will definitely be putting hot sauce on them. Hard boiled would be the only instance when the yolk is not consumed. cb: DBETM, the band in which you have played lead guitar for 4 and 1/2 years, is post-punk – yes or no? Defend. WHS: I don't know how you would classify our sound to a music journalist's liking. A friend a few years ago said it sounded like "Joy Division doing Nirvana covers." I like that description because it's concise and anachronistic. cb: What's the point of your amazing solo music experiment, Devereaux?
WHS: I’m just trying my hand at creating music in an environment with less limits and little to no compromise, and continuing my experimentation with building melodies and structures around looped patterns. I like seeing what things taste like when I'm the only cook in the kitchen.
cb: In a word, what baffles you?
WHS: Space. cb: Heyward, why them bitches be shoppin’?
WHS: You are referring to one of my mixed-media images called Bitches Be Shoppin’, I assume. And, I'm not quite sure why they are shopping. But, rest assured, they be.
cb: Finally, when you worked at Ben and Jerry's, you ate ice cream right out of the bucket, didn't you?
WHS: I did, but in mainly small taster stick amounts. I'm pretty manorexic. I remember a lady exclaimed one time, "How do you stay so skinny working here?"
I replied, "Well, I don't eat it."
In retrospect, that was kind of snobby and definitely poor salesmanship.