From consuming art to making his own, AntsLive delves into all things creativity and inspiration at London's iconic Tate Britain.
Since stepping onto the scene in 2020, Notion 93 star AntsLive has proven himself an artist in every sense of the word. With slick bars and considered, show-stealing visuals (from riding on horseback through the Dolomites in his viral video for “Number One Candidate”, to the streets of Paris on a moped for “Ooh La La”), the 23-year-old has carved out an artistic identity that feels fully-formed and excitingly unique. AntsLive is an artist pushing culture forward.
Teaming up with Tate, we caught up with Ants in the iconic Tate Britain gallery to discuss his creative process. For him, looking inwards is paramount – being brutally honest, feeling his deepest truth, and putting it down on paper. But although he’ll never stray from his commitment to telling his own story, the artist also lauds the importance of finding inspiration in art and culture – whether it’s discovering new ideas, or just absorbing an experience and feeling inspired to create. From music to visuals, active collaboration to spontaneous conversation, Ants’ view on creativity reflects all that Tate represents: finding art in unexpected ways, taking it in with an open mind, and feeling moved by a different point of view.
Embodying this outlook further is Tate Collective – an initiative dedicated to championing young people. Open to all aged 16-25, it connects young people with art in more accessible and meaningful ways, offering a space to feel represented and welcomed.
From consuming art to making his own, tap in with Ants below.
Why does art inspire you?
Art inspires me for a number of different reasons. A lot of the time people are very honest through their art, so you get that side of things. And on the other side, there’s no real right or wrong. It’s not like when you’re in school and someone tells you, ‘This the right answer’, ‘This the wrong answer’ and you’re sitting there feeling like an idiot because you didn’t get it right. It’s just how you see it and how it makes you feel. That’s why I like it.
And I like things that move the goalposts a little bit. I don’t usually connect with something if I feel like I’ve seen it a thousand times, whatever field it’s in. In art specifically, if I see something and feel like, ‘Yo, that’s new, that’s different’, that’s what I feel very inspired by.
What inspires you to make your own version of art?
I’m inspired to make my own version of art because I think art is personal. It’s dependent on who the person is and the art they’re making. I just want to tell my story with my art because no one’s gonna tell that for me. That’s why I like taking in other art as well, ‘cause it gives me an insight into other people.
How does art help inspire you in your own musical journey?
Art definitely inspires me in my own musical journey, and in my creative journey. A lot of the time I like to look within and build from there, but a lot of the time I get that feeling from being inspired by other, different forms of art. For example, if I see a visual that really inspires me, a part of me is thinking, ‘Let me take little bits from that and let me build my own story, my own narrative’.
Where else do you draw inspiration from for your visual process in music?
My visuals are inspired by a lot of different things, but above all, making music is very personal to me. There’s a level of authenticity that only I can bring to my own music, no one’s gonna tell my story for me. That same level of originality, I’ve got to have that come across in my visuals.
How important is the power of collaboration to you?
Collaborating’s everything. No matter what you’re doing in this life, collaborating’s everything because you can learn. You can’t really learn by sitting alone in a room by yourself with your own thoughts. The only way you can really learn is by listening and conversating with other people, collaborating through art, music, whatever it might be. It’s everything, bro. Lose your ego, chat to people, feel inspired, that’s what you’ve got to do.
How can art in a gallery spark inspiration?
I feel like no matter what you do, inspiration comes from a feeling. You might not be able to pinpoint what it is, and you might lose track of your thoughts, but you feel something. And that’s usually when you’re inspired. So being in an art gallery and being exposed to so many different creatives, timelines, colours, that’s gotta leave you feeling a kind of way. That’s usually when I create, so I imagine other people do that as well.
Is there anything you particularly gravitate to?
Not really, to be honest with you. It’s the same way as a musician – I don’t only listen to one genre of music. It can be how I’m feeling on a day, what I’m about to do, whatever.
What time period of art are you interested in?
2023, my art. ‘Cause my art’s the best!
Finally, what’s the most beautiful thing about art?
It’s a good question. I feel like there’s only so many things in this life that are really universal. Like, sport, maybe. But, I think above all, art. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, what you’re going through. Everyone can connect to art across the globe. I think that’s probably the most beautiful thing about it.
Watch Ants Explore:
To discover how art influences you, Tate Britain and Tate Modern are free to visit all year round. Between 16 and 25? Sign up here to become a member of Tate Collective for £5 exhibition tickets, discounts across food and drink, and unmissable events.