Whether working on a white sheet of paper or the stage of a darkened nightclub, Rob Churm fills empty space with experiment and fluid improvisation. Churm studied fine art and makes drawings, prints and wall-drawings, but his current career as an artist developed in tandem with his long-term involvement in Glasgow's independent music scene. He sings and plays guitar with his current band Gummy Stumps. Creating posters, and artwork for bands helped Churm develop his bold mark-making, his keen sense of graphic technique, and his use of everyday materials such as biro, Tipp-Ex®, felt-tip pen and photocopy toner. The informal world of music, with its culture of fanzines and do-it-yourself publishing, has also supported his fascination with outdated formats from the flexi disc to the old-fashioned printed newspaper. For GENERATION he has produced a series of works on paper, using drawing and printmaking techniques. His work appears unruly, but it is often set within rigid boundaries.
Churm’s art calls on such diverse sources as punk rock visuals, comics, Japanese prints, occult illustrations and surrealist periodicals. His monochrome drawings meld areas of dense grids or cross-hatched marks with fluid lines and empty spaces. His more recent works in colour draw on a long tradition of printmaking that includes figures like William Blake. But a work like the coloured etching Angel Reading (2011) is both modern – there is more than a hint of the psychedelic in the rainbow pattern that surrounds his angel, and more prosaic – she is ascending heavenward powered by what might be a cartoonish fart.
Churm is responsible for programming at The Old Hairdressers, a small Glasgow venue that is as much an independent art centre as a club. Along with the artists Tony Swain and Raydale Dower he curated Le Drapeau Noir, an artists’ café and cabaret instigated there by Dower in 2010 for the Glasgow International festival. At the next festival, in 2012, Churm worked with artists Rebecca Wilcox, Ben Ashton and Oliver Pitt to produce a daily edition entitled Prawn’s Pee. The title is an anagram of 'newspaper' and contributors were encouraged to re-imagine their work, to play with formats and to help create a space for new ideas.