Supporting artists to investigate and challenge the boundaries of contemporary art practice. The NewBridge Project is an artist-led community comprising of over 80 artist studios, an exhibition space and book shop based in a 29,000sqft former office block in Newcastle city centre.
Come celebrate the launch of DUPE’s 3rd issue: THE DARK ISSUE
At the lovely Ti Pi Tin bookshop on 47 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 8EL London, UK
7pm-10pm on Friday 23rd May
The Dark Issue contributors are:
Szilvia Bolla Soizig Marie Carey Diane Edwards Rebecca Farmar Helen Flanagan Laura Gee Gabriella Geisinger Adam Richmond and Geoff Glees (Out of the Canon) Anne-Laure Franchette Lena Grass Christo Hall Charles Harrison Tommy Nease Coc Oen Louise Zergaeng Pomeroy Darren Tesar
DUPE chats with Illustrator Louise Zergaeng Pomeroy about Goths, where she goes when it gets dark and Japanese horror.
. Describe your work in 4 words?
Precise, descriptive, dry, humorous
. Pen vs Digital. What side are you on?
I’d go with pen, but I don’t mind digital unless it starts to look soulless.
I use photoshop a lot to clean up my drawings and add colour but I never solely rely on a program. It’s great that the internet makes sharing work so easy, but I really hope print doesn’t get phased out too.
. What is your worst nightmare?
Being forced to watch a musical, featuring a cast of magicians, for eternity. That and damaging my right arm so I can never draw again.
. If you could collaborate with any other artist, who would it be and why?
That’s a tough question. There’s so many artists I love but I can’t visualise a collaboration. I’d love to work with an animation team one day and make a short film.
Where do you go when it gets dark?
I never really go to sleep before 2am. Sometimes I work better at night as there are less distractions. Other than working, probably a bar near where I live (east) or soho.
. Who has been your favourite person to draw so far?
William S Burroughs was really fun to draw. He had such an amazing face, you can definitely tell he had an erm..eventful life.
I also really enjoyed drawing portraits from the London tattoo convention. Some of the facial modifications of the subjects were really unusual.
. If you weren’t an illustrator, what would be doing instead?
Probably something to do with protecting human rights.
. What is the scariest film you’ve ever watched?
When I was around 13 I used to record horror films on my parents VCR without them knowing (they didn’t know how to use the timer setting). So I ended up watching loads of pretty extreme films like Driller Killer and I Spit on Your Grave but none of it really scared me back then.
Now I jump so easily, but once I see what the killer or monster is in a film, it usually ruins it. Maybe the original of The Ring? And the original Dark Water, that genre of Japanese horror can be pretty terrifying.
. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I’d like to live somewhere out of the UK for a year or so. Or travel more and draw people I meet along the way.
I really love Pat Perry’s blog, his sketchbook work and photos really make me want to jump on a train and draw more from life http://patperry.net/blog.
I’d also like to work on more narrative projects. I’d love to create another book of illustrated shorts, or a graphic novel.
. Your work is appearing in DUPE’s next issue, the Dark issue. What is the first thing that comes to mind when i say the word ‘dark’?
. Emo’s or Goth’s?
Definitely goths. I’ll always have a soft spot for them, and I guess I’m borderline. I’m in talks with the organisers of AltFest about doing a reportage project there in August. That’d be a dream job.
DUPE talks to music writer, musician and welsh appreciator Coc Oen
Dom Egan, aka Coc Oen is DUPE’s zine regular music writer. Originally from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch in Wales (apparently kids would charge tourists 50p to pronounce it for them), he called Manchester his home for many years and is currently living in Leeds.
First of all, tell us about your name: How/Why/When did you start to use this nickname?
I had a friend in Bournemouth around the turn of the century, a Glaswegian guy called Gary who asked me to do some Welsh rap (about eighteen inches’ worth) on some music he was making with his MiniDisc. (Yes, that long ago…) My Welsh was (and remains) really bad, not up to the task, but I did come up with a name for this abortive rap character: MC Coc Oen. It’s Welsh for “dickhead”, literally “lamb’s cock”, and a germ was planted in my tiny mind. Within a couple of months I was making music with some other friends down there and beefing up my north Wales accent for some half-hop lyrics about lurking around the corners of parties, St Peter’s genitals rubbing against his chasuble and other kid-friendly topics. Then I moved to Manchester and started performing in the same persona in a band with my brother (Loopol) and then two other brothers as well (Ringo & Master Egg). When social media started I decided to hide in plain sight and go with the nickname. Some people call me “Coc”, and it has been shouted out at me on the streets of Chorlton in Manchester, but any Welsh speakers that hear about it think it’s ridiculous.
Your previous band “Delicate Hammers” was kind of a local Mancunian sensation. Tell us about it.
Ha! It was a tingling sensation that proved quite easy for a lot of people to ignore. Loopol and myself made music in his basement in West Didsbury using Ableton and what have you and we decided we should put on a band night (Group Hug) and perform. I wore a wolf mask the first few gigs. People misinterpreted it as shyness on my part or tried to whip it off, and it was difficult for the mic to pick up my voice, so we dropped it. A band coalesced around the computer music we made with bass and guitar and stuff like hoover parts and kazoos - but the drums were never live. This helped maintain a chaotic feel we liked to call Shonk that we used to our (dis)advantage, and many gigs, the more successful ones, would teeter on the edge of stand-up comedy as Loopol and I chatted shit to each other. We got played on Radio One once and immediately built on that momentum by doing nothing for months. We were once described as a “manlier Sparks”, which I liked; most people thought we were mental, whether they liked us or not. We were interviewed by Manchester Evening News just before we stopped playing gigs. We played at a pagan wedding festival in the shitting rain. All the usual cliches, but not necessarily in the usual order. “Four heads, two wombs, one Hammers!” We’ve never officialy broken up but the hiatus is long and we’re scattered across London, north Wales, Manchester and Leeds now.
How did making music and writing about music come together?
To paraphrase Garth Merenghi, I’m one of the few writers that have written more songs than I’ve listened to properly. I don’t think there’s a very strong link, to be honest, other than the fact that I really like music. Our lyrics were quite dense and wordy, which would make sense, and my music reviews are the same, wordy and impressionistic. I had a little project a couple of years ago where I decided to try to listen to and write about 500 albums that I hadn’t heard before in a calendar year. I’d managed 250 by the end of June but then another little project was born in the Autumn and the attempt petered out into sleepless nights of feeding and nappy changing. I got to 360, I think - it was fun for me, but my wife hated me disappearing under headphones all night. My favourite album of that year was “We Are Nobody” by The Chap, incidentally. There were some daft ideas about music on there, and I seem to have continued that theme writing for Dupe.
Article for DUPE, The Hairy Issue. Illustrations by Thomas Oates.
What do you like about writing? Do you write about things other than music?
Writing makes sense and I feel as though I can communicate myself, but that brings the downside of feeling like I’m communicating being an utter dick. I’ve basically got the procrastination of a writer down and the ability to sit inactive for long periods, so sooner or later, some words have to come out. I’m a monkey with an infinite typewriter. When I do write it might be about pop music, other cultural stuff like how football reflects national characteristics, and (now that I’m a stay-at-home Dad) parenthood, for which I cannot apologise enough.
Article for DUPE, The Road Trip Issue. Illustration by Helen Mather.
Who are your icons? Who/what inspires you?
I’m a believer in not meeting your heroes. I shouted at my micro-Daddy John Peel for hours to stop playing techno one night - not sure why, I quite like a bit of techno - and a few months later, he died. Usually, I can’t think of anything to say to people I admire. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t gaze on them as icons. In terms of performers, they would generally be the electric, unpredictable, intellectual, playful, laconic, angry types - people who could collapse in the ceiling with the weight of their words. I wanted to be like Viv Stanshall, John Cooper Clarke, David R Edwards from Datblygu (the Welsh Fall), Captain Beefheart, Mark E Smith, Nigel Blackwell from Half Man Half Biscuit - I was generally told I looked like a geography teacher with a beergut. I’m not sure whether that ruled me out or not.
Viv Stanshall - David R Edwards
You just wrote a new article for DUPE’s upcoming “Dark Issue”. What does “dark” make you think about? How does it appeal to your imagination?
Dark is interesting. I think it’s very easy for people to create a pantomime of “dark” stuff like black lipstick or acting out childhood issues in a rather overly-conscious way; the really dark stuff I think is maybe less noticeable, corner of the eye like a classic ghost story. Rather than the screaming glamorous goth type or whatever, the quiet guy who no one pays any attention to but is gradually losing his mind. Insanity is a very powerful narrative device in films and music but I think the violent aspect of it is used too often to attempt to shock. I find the Jungian ideas about the Shadow very interesting - the idea that the dark is where you store the ideas about yourself you find difficult to identify with consciously and which you project onto others. The monsters that are actually reflecting what is going on in the minds of those around them. They can burn and shine with a brilliant darkness. And you what they reflect can change the way you think about familiar concepts.
What would be your top 10 “dark” films?
My favourite films are generally Eighties feel-good comedies where nothing really dark or dangerous is allowed to get the upper hand (Ghostbusters, Trading Places, The Big Lebowski), so “dark” films are not my forte. I would say that the films that darken my door the deepest would be the moral desert types, the ones with no feel-good ending or much of a feel-good beginning or middle either. “No Country for Old Men” scared me shitless because I felt as though the moral black hole at its centre could have sucked me in through the screen; it was how I used to feel walking home late at night after reading weird comics at my best friend’s house on Anglesey. “Natural Born Killers” was similar - Mickey and Mallory seemed real monsters. “Jacob’s Ladder” scared me so badly that I clung to my university girlfriend’s back all night in a state of all-out ontological horror.
There’s a great slasher, clever and gripping in a way few slashers are, called “Reeker”, which did dark nicely. Last year’s “A Field in England” was a black and white psychedelic triumph of bleak immorality and human weakness - like a Chris Cunningham Aphex Twin recruitment video for the New Model Army. “Betty Blue” pulling her eye out with a fork was pretty dark. And I couldn’t watch “The Road” beyond the halfway point, especially now I have a son: the sense of complete doom was crushing.
A lot of dark comedies miss the mark for me, but two that work excellently well are “Dr Strangelove” which ends with total nuclear Apocalypse, and “Four Lions”, which ends with the destruction of a branch of Boots. Again, though, it can be more interesting to look at the darkness within apparently less troublesome films. Bank holiday afternoon Bond films are pretty dark - the more flippant Roger Moore ones even more in their callous, misogynist ways than the re-tooled, grittier Daniel Craig versions; all creaky dialogue and dead women. Let’s say “View to a Kill”.
I’ve almost certainly missed out a stone cold classic piece of dark cinema, some film noir or Hitchcock psychological thriller.
DUPE chats to Celebrity Fashion Stylist & DJ ALEXIS KNOX
You actually started your career as an illustrator after studying Fine Art. Who were your biggest influences in the Art World? I really connected to what the YBAs were doing at that time. I loved the rebellious showmanship almost anti-art attitude they had, but all the while brand that and selling it back to art! I paid a lot of attention to Tracey Emin, and actually got the meet her at the Oxford Union when she came to do a talk, we bonded and she invited me out for a bottle of wine, heartbreakingly I had to go back to work as I’d blagged an extended lunch break to go watch her talk!
How did you make the transition from Illustrator to stylist? And who or what influences your styling work? Style and illustration for me during my uni days went hand in hand. My artwork was always costume based and I did my dissertation on branding, so style, performing, art and business have always been my main interests. I knew that the career of an illustrator was not for me, as I love people and interacting and communicating. When I moved to london I didn’t have a plan but to put myself outthere and get as much work experience as possible. During that time I sold my artwork, I worked as a publishers PA, I worked in tv production but it was the fashion assisting that took off. I think because I had such a natural sense of style, people presumed I was a stylist!
What person haven’t you got your hands on yet that you would love to style? I love big pop icons, like Madonna and Britney, they are so iconic yet can adapt to so many different looks.
“Bitch I don’t twerk, I vogue!” – So I have to ask since you’ve worked with Miley Cyrus. What crew are you in? The twerking crew or the Vogueing team? I roll in my own crew…the rave crew! I’ve been a raver from the beginning! Listening to Helter Skelter tape box sets till I was old enough to hit up free party’s and hit up Milton Keynes Sanctuary to go to Helter Skelter for real!
If you had to wear one label for the rest of your life who would it be? That’s a really difficult question, because wearing one label would be asking me to define myself to not only the aesthetic but the ethos of someone/something else….. I’ve always had a style thats not easy to put in a category as I would hate to think that my personailty and tastes could be so easily defined.
Describe a day in the life of ALEXIS KNOX. Fabulous. Hahaha, no really…. I do love life I must admit, but it’s not an easy thing, I think anyone in a creative industry will understand that it’s tricky to freelance, but it can be very rewarding. It’s also very hard to describe an average day, becuase it’s impossible to know what each week holds, in what location or project. That’s the magic of it I guess, the variety of it all!
Our next issue of DUPE is the Dark Issue. What would your dark inspired outfit be and what would you do in this outfit? My dark outfit would be a cyber rave lycra number by one of my fave designers Dane 3001, and it would have light reflective material so if you tried to take a photos it would light refect and I’d look like a giant ord, kinda anti darkness as I’m more in the light crew!
So New Year, new places and faces. What fashion trends do you foresee being huge this year? Cyber is on the rise, but don’t expect to be rocking it till 2015 I reckon. The 90s trend continues, 94-97 is big, looking like a chavvy raver is a must :D
Metal or Grime? GRIME ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!!
House or Pop? Power pop for sure
DnB or Disco? OMG DnB till I die!
When and where are you playing your next DJ set? (Dupe wants to dance!) I’m playing in Amsterdam at the Bungalup festival, it’s a cyber stage so that’s exciting! If you’re not in Amsterdamn hit up XOYO on Valentines, for Shorebitch, I’ll be playing in the Truth or Dare room :D xx
H A M M A N N & V O N M I E R was founded in 2012 by Stefanie Hammann and Maria von Mier, in order to curate and publish artist books. As they are both working as artists they are particularly interested in exploring the format of the artist book as an exhibition space. They have their first office and show rooms until November 2013 at Haeppi Piecis, Maximilianstr. 33 München.
Tell us a bit more about H A M M A N N & V O N M I E R! How did it all come together?
We met in Vienna, in 2011 as art students and started doing projects together. Afterwards we both moved to Munich and continued our collaboration. We started by documenting our installations and short trips in small books, and soon the idea came up of founding a self-publishing house. In the beginning it was more just for fun but in February 2013 we decided to take it seriously.
You are both artists, editors, bookshop owners and curators. Do you separate your different practices or do they constantly feed into each other?
Well, we think the most important fact is that we are first and foremost artists and this influences all the other range of action. So we see ourselves as artists doing a self publishing project under the label H A M M A N N & V O N M I E R. In this project we curate, edit and publish books - our work as well as the work of other artists. We see a book as an exhibition space instead of just a medium for documentation. This method of producing art pieces and curating exhibitions within a book is very close to doing in a three-dimensional space. In a way you can install a room as well as you can lay out jpgs on a page.
Our bookshop is the first and only showroom for artists’ books in Munich. We run this place because it´s important for us to support other artists working within this medium.
We touch many different fields, slip into different roles and always work from another perspective. That´s what we call ‘Hochleistungskunst’. HI 5!
Do you always work together? Or do you have other projects on the side?
Mostly, yes! Since we started working in collaboration we are involved in so many projects that there is hardly time for doing extensive solo works. That doesn`t mean that we have given up working separately but at the moment H A M M A N N & V O N M I E R has priority.
Have your various projects taken you to any road trips? Do you have any travel stories to share?
Not directly road trips, but traveling is very often a big theme and also one of the reasons why we are making books. Our first serious artist´s book ‘1234567810 Days in New York + the whole fucking storm story’ is based – as the title indicates – on a trip to New York City. We went there in fall 2012, at the time when Hurricane Sandy hit the city. The consequence for us was 5 days without power, which means no telephone, no internet, no light, no cash, no hot water, no warm food but on the other hand we had a very special and adventurous perspective on NYC.
What is next for H A M M A N N & V O N M I E R?
We will take part in the Festival of Independents at HAUS DER KUNST, Munich. There we will show a selection of artists´ books in a special environment (our ironic title is “success is closer then ever”, a sentence on a found business card from NYC).
DUPE talks to actress and stage director Emmanuelle Coutellier about making it happen
Emmanuelle arrived in Paris at 17, coming from the south of France to study Art History. But she became an actress, first getting involved with theatre. She was soon on TV playing in historical adaptations and on stage. She now runs her own theatre company, working as a stage director as well as being an actress. She still lives in Paris.
Tell us about your beginnings, was it hard to find your feet in Paris and within this particular field? Did you have a plan of action?
E.C: I didn’t have any plan and my beginnings were very easy. It all happened quite naturally, from my first contracts, my friends, to just about everything. It became more complicated after, when I began to think about having a career! I made all my choices step by step, discovering what I needed in the moment. Initially I was very excited about studying Art History in the capital. And I was very young. Theatre came by chance. I applied to dramatic school just for a try. I wanted to have a practice, without really knowing of which sort (writing, painting, etc). I chose a school which was committed to the truth of dramatic art and I immediately got caught in and delighted by the stage. At the end of the year, I decided to stay in this school and to leave University.
Now that I think about it, I realise how careless and sincere this crossroad was. Some professionnals came to me after seeing some pictures of me on an agent’s website or hearing about me through some friends. This is how I started working straight away.
Being an actor is a notoriously difficult career, what have been the ups and downs? What keeps you hooked and what have been your favorite moments so far?
E.C: Passion, desire, curiosity, encounters! The will to be a better person and to keep growing. I don’t like the idea of giving up just because there are obstacles. There is something in me that keeps me moving toward the sets and the stage and when it happens I remember why: the pleasure of this feeling given by the place, the acting, the learning, the sharing with your partners. The day I won’t have any pleasure doing this job I’ll do something else. Even if it’s hard, it makes me happy.
I think that you have to be surrounded by the right people: not especially some famous-people-from-the-industry, but some true friends who will support you whatever happens. The fact that I didn’t make plans at the beginning didn’t always help me. When you are too lost to listen to your heart alone it’s good to be on a defined track, inside a group or a school. It helps you to continue without having to worry too much. But I didn’t have any of that, so it took me a while to get on the right track.
My favorite memories are little details. The moment I called my mom after my first show to tell her that this was the place where I wanted to be, the job that I wanted to do. The moment a director called me to tell me I was chosen for a main part on TV. Having fun with my friends in the wings before getting on stage. Sharing an endless dinner with your team, talking about the day’s work and making fun of everything including yourself. Some breakthroughs in my NY school with my best friend smiling at me. When I left the stage after a workshop with a Russian director and thought “Really? Did I really just did that?” I love the moment when you fly and do things you didn’t even know you were capable of doing.
You are now also a stage director and have gained great popular and critical success with your adaptation of “L’histoire d’amour du siècle”. How did you build this project?
E.C: Little by little! I never planned to create my own company, it happened because it was necessary. I was searching for a play that would move me and fascinate me enough to give me the strengh to carry a project. Because it’s a long way and you have to live with the play, you’d better love it! Märta Tikkanen’s work was the perfect one for me as it really hit me. I felt that it allowed me to gather and manage a team.
For my first direction I needed to feel confident, if there had been five or six persons it would have been too messy for me. I knew my partner Anne-Sophie from a workshop we made for Toulouse’s TNT and we wanted to work together. I read a lot and when I found this text, I heard music in my head. So I called her and said “I found it but I warn you: I’m going to direct it and there will be musicians on stage.” She said ok and the project was born.
I looked for some musicians around me. I knew what I wanted and I found even better! We then met our first host to perform: The Finnish Institute of Paris who gave us a deadline to create the project. As it was a pity to play it only once, I wrote to several theatres. We auditioned and we chose the best for us according to all the propositions we received.
Do you enjoy touring? Do you have any funny / weird stories to share with us?
E.C: I don’t have that much experience of it. I still see myself as a beginner. But yes I love touring and travelling for shootings. It’s a way for me to fully commit to the work as you leave your daily life and your landmarks. It helps you to focus and you go through such awesome moments with your partners that you get used to spending a lot of time with them. It’s an adventure and a great way to travel! Because you are not just a tourist and you create personal memories in cities you might have never visited!
Weird stories: Pretending to be sexy under a mountain’s waterfall while the artificial water was actually freezing cold! Performing an extract of my play in a big theatre in the middle of nowhere in front of teenagers listening out loud to their MP3. A little bit like trying to get the attention of Gremlins in front of a movie!
Finally what would be your 5 musical choices for a road trip mixtape?
E.C: Bruce Springsteen “Dancing in the dark”, the first three albums of Arcade Fire, Rihanna and Britney Spears when I’m feeling down and Bertrand Belin during the night.
What’s next for Emmanuelle Coutellier?
E.C: I have a new project in mind so let’s see what happens!
Pictures credit: 1: Nathalie Mazéas, 2: Film “Epuration” Jean-Louis Lorenzi, 3: Show "Tes yeux se voilent", Laurent Cazanave, 4: Show "L’histoire d’amour du siècle, Lee Fou Messica, 5: Nathalie Mazéas
At DUPE HQ, while working on our second and current publication”The Road Trip Issue”, we looked a lot at historical maps and map art. This is why we selected Stephen Walter’s stunning illustration “The Island” for our front and back cover. Here is a little selection of the books that have inspired us.
Magnificient Maps, Power, Propaganda and Art, by Peter Barber and Tom Harper
Display maps have had a significant impact throughout history, yet since extremely few have survived this has not always been fully appreciated. These often magnificent maps, expressing an enormous variety of differing world views, used size and beauty to convey messages of status and power. This book takes the best surviving examples to re-establish manuscript, painted and mural maps as a major cultural medium particularly in early modern Europe by illustrating the settings in which they were displayed and discussing the background and purpose of individual examples. Sourced from one of the greatest map collections in the world, many of these visual delights will be completely new even to experts.
On the Map, by Simon Garfield
This is a book that will inspire mapophiles and also engage those of us who stare blankly at an OS pathfinder’s hieroglyphs. Garfield creates compelling narratives on everything from the challenge of mapping the oceans, to spellbinding treasure maps, to the naming of America, and from Churchill’s crucial war maps to the lay-out of a Monopoly board, from crime maps to music maps, from rare map dealers to cartographic frauds.
En route, there are “map-break” tales on Michelin and railway maps, how to fold a map, maps of places that never existed, a London A-Z from 1677 and the weirdness of videogame mapping. On the Map explains where we’ve been, how we got there and where we’re going.
A Map of the World: The World According to Illustrators and Storytellers Hardcover, by Antonis Antoniou
Maps help us understand the world. This book features the most original and sought-after map illustrators whose work is in line with the zeitgeist. Drawing a map means understanding our world a bit better.
A new generation of designers, illustrators, and mapmakers are currently discovering their passion for various forms of illustrative cartography. A Map of the World is a compelling collection of their work—from accurate and surprisingly detailed representations to personal, naïve, and modernistic interpretations. The featured projects from around the world range from maps and atlases inspired by classic forms to cartographic experiments and editorial illustrations.
The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography, by Katharine Harmon
A book’s celebration of mapmaking to the world of artists’ maps.
It is little surprise that in an era of globalized politics, culture, and ecology contemporary artists are drawn to mapsto express their visions. Using paint, salt, souvenir tea towels, or their own bodies, map artists explore a world free ofgeographical constraints. In The Map as Art, Harmon collects 360 colorful, map-related artistic visions by well-known artists—such as Ed Ruscha, Julian Schnabel, Olafur Eliasson, William Kentridge, and Vik Muniz—and many more less-familiar artists for whom maps are the inspiration for creating art. Essays by Gayle Clemans bring an in-depth look into the artists’ maps of Joyce Kozloff, Landon Mackenzie, Ingrid Calame, Guillermo Kuitca, and Maya Lin. Together, the beautiful reproductions and telling commentary make this an essential volume for anyone open to exploring new paths.
Pictures and text (c) the british library and amazon
DUPE chats to Illustrator Jodie McNeil about naked polaroids, Berlin & Jockum Nordstrom
Jodie’s illustrations grab you instantly and make you feel like a peeping Tom. Nudes of soft bellied men and women going about their day to day lives are captivating….
DUPE chats to Jodie McNeil here
You have only just recently graduated, what’s next for Jodie McNeil?
I’m applying for graduate jobs at the minute, and then if I can save up enough money I’ll apply to do a masters in Berlin or London.
Describe your work in five words.
My tutor Phil Wrigglesworth described my work as ”considered naivety” so I’ll let him describe it in two for me, cheeky sod.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Are these characters from your day-to-day life?
When I was studying in Berlin my friend found some polaroid’s of a naked old couple and I loved how nonchalant they were while posing. I couldn’t stop thinking about the couple, so I illustrated a story around them. Most things that inspire me come from things I’ve found in markets or second hand shops, I found a family photo album from the fifties not long ago and made a book based around that.
Do you have a favorite piece of work that you’ve done so far?
I’ve got a least favorite if that counts? Erm if I had to choose then probably the house with the front wall cut off so you can see what everyone is doing in each room, there’s the old woman going about her business stark-bollock-naked which has petrified the cat, while her husband remains oblivious in the bath.
Where was your favorite place to holiday as a child?
My mum couldn’t really afford to take us on holiday when we were younger, so she would take me and my little brother to visit our Uncles, Uncle Steven, who lives in Whitechapel and Uncle Billy who lives in the middle of nowhere in Wales. He had a forest for a garden so we’d make tyre swings and go walking up hills and stuff.
Who are your favorite illustrators/artists and why?
Jockum Nordstrom is one of my absolute favorites, I love that his hand-collaged figures seem to be innocently riding horses or dancing but there always seems to be something strangely sinister going on. Viva Vidali is another good one, he works with collage too and his blog is amazing but his work is a bit more child friendly. I’ve also recently become obsessed with Vladimir Lebedev, after buying his book in the Arnolfini bookshop in Bristol.
If you could take one book on a road trip, what book would this be?
The man who grew his beard by Oliver Schrauwen, it’s well and truly mental and every time I read it I see something I’d missed the time before.
You’re from Bristol; tell me your favorite thing about the city?
I’m not from Bristol, thank god… I’m from Liverpool, but I went to University in Bristol. I don’t know why I like Bristol so much, but I’m still here four years later so it must be doing something right.
DUPE talks bike culture with CycleLove founder James Greig
(Photo: George Marshall for Rapha Survey)
Give us a brief idea of how and why CycleLove started…
When I moved to London I hadn’t ridden a bike for a decade or so. All my friends were cycling and eventually I caved in and got a crappy hybrid bike. It kind of snowballed from there and before I knew it I had three bikes in my bedroom. But when I looked online for websites about bike culture… just normal people doing cool stuff with bikes… I couldn’t find much happening. So I decided to start my own blog. It was good timing because I was becoming increasingly jaded about my day job as a graphic designer, so CycleLove became something I could pour my heart and soul into instead. I began by going out on the prowl around East London with my camera, looking for interesting characters on bikes. I then moved on to interviewing people involved in London’s bike scene and after that reporting on bike culture elsewhere in the world.
You launched with a screening of the inspiring ‘Bill Cunningham New York’ documentary - why is he such an influence for you ?
Basically I watched him tootling around New York on his bike whilst shooting this amazing street fashion photography, and it inspired me to dust off my SLR and start taking photos again myself. On top of being a great photographer, he’s also a supremely genuine and humble guy. Here’s one of my favourite soundbites from the film:
“You see, if you don’t take money they can’t tell you what to do. That’s the key to the whole thing, don’t touch money! It’s the worst thing you can do. Money is the cheapest thing. Liberty is the most expensive.”
Without Mr. C (I hope it’s ok to call you that Bill…) CycleLove wouldn’t have happened.
What’s this about you cycling 100 miles to meet your first customer?!
When I began selling t-shirts I wanted to do something to mark the occasion… having someone willing to part with cash for my products was a big milestone so I wanted to mark it accordingly. I made myself a promise that I’d deliver the first order I got by bike. And then I sat back nervously and waited for the emails to come in. Luckily for me (or not) it came from Peterborough which is around 100 miles north of London. I did the delivery on my own so it was tough mentally, and it was November so the weather was a wee bit nippy too. But the smile on the guy’s face when I got to the pub in Peterborough and explained the story made it all worth while.
What have been the best and most difficult parts of turning your passion into a day job?
The problem is that I haven’t managed to turn CycleLove into a day job yet — I’m still working as a graphic designer to pay the bills.
If anyone reading this is planning to make a living from blogging… remember that a blog is not a business. It’s really just a way to build connections, tell stories, and to gather a tribe of like-minded people around you. As for the business part… I’m not 100% sure how that is going to pan out yet. Selling t-shirts and prints has been fun but I don’t think I want to build a fashion brand. I get a real buzz from discovering new cycling brands and products so that’s something I’m going to carry on doing for sure.
Lastly, I saw someone wearing one of my t-shirts in the wild for the first time recently and that gave me a real buzz.
One thing I’ve noticed about the blog is the collaborative aspect - working with cycle brands/stylists/other bike enthusiasts etc. Has this been important to the growth of CycleLove?
Absolutely. Running the blog has opened so many doors for me and I’ve met a lot of cool new people in the short time that it’s been running. People who ride bikes are a pretty friendly bunch in general. I’ve not spent any money on promoting CycleLove other than on the Bill Cunningham screening, so I rely on word-of-mouth and the goodwill of my readers.
I’ve thought a lot about how I’d prefer to get around by bike but so far have been too scared! What are your top tips for cycling in London?
(1) Get a buddy who’s already cycling to show you the ropes. Then you can ride your commute to work on a Sunday and get a feel for it with less traffic around.
(2) If you’re not feeling confident about where you’re going or a turn coming up, there’s no harm in stopping. It’s not a race. Pull over for a second. If you need to turn right across a junction, try a “Copenhagen Left” (well, the opposite of this as we’re on the other side of the road from them) where you turn left first, and the turn your bike and straight
(3) Smile. Riding a bike should be fun. You’re not a commuter zombie any more :)
Do you have a favourite cycle ride / trip that you’ve been on?
I live on the north edge of Victoria Park at the moment which is the largest green space in East London. So my new favourite ride is just cruising around the park. I try to leave my phone behind and just enjoy the ride.
Tell us about your recent trip to the Alps and the training involved…
Training was difficult because London is short on hills. I was going up to Swains Lane in Highgate which is a mecca for road cyclists because it has a steep section of road which is one-way and doesn’t get much traffic. But it’s only a few hundred metres long so you have to do it on repeat. By the end of my training I was doing it 12 or 13 times in the row, which equates to about 1000m of climbing. On top of that I’d do interval training around Regents Park, and head out to Essex for longer rides at the weekend.
But of course not of that can really prepare you for riding up a mountain. It took me about three days to get in the right place mentally when we got to the Alps. The guys I went with had been training about 3 months longer than me so they’d disappear up the hill and I’d be left on my own having a freakout. There were a few moments where I wanted to just throw my bike off a cliff and go home. Eventually I got into the swing of things and began to enjoy the pain. I guess that’s what road cycling is about… pushing yourself mentally and physically and seeing what happens. You can’t do that behind a desk. And the epic views at the top of the mountains, down from amongst the snow onto these winding roads, made it all ok.
What’s next for CycleLove?
I’m working on some new product designs: t-shirts, jerseys and posters. One of them may or may not be Kraftwerk influenced. There are also plans for an exhibition next year and some exciting collaborations with other cycling brands on the horizon.
Lastly what 5 songs would you put on a road trip mix tape?
Ha, I don’t ever listen to music on my bike. And I can’t drive so I don’t do road trips. If I did though… maybe “A Real Hero” from the Drive soundtrack, Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” (the 22 minute version obviously), some Johnny Cash for singing along badly too, “Jabdah” by Koto (dodgy Italo-disco) and lastly “Dry The Rain” by the Beta Band as we’d most likely be driving around Scotland in the pissing rain.
All photographs by James other than profile (George Marshall for Rapha Survey)
DUPE talks to Fashion Designer Mary Benson about Brooke Candy, the UK & who she has her eyes on next
Mary Benson is already shaking things up in the fashion world and she hasn’t even graduated yet! I first met Mary (she’s a Northern Lass) in a bar in Leeds & chatted about our mutual love over a Vivienne Westwood heel. DUPE catches up with Mary Benson here..
Did you ever get those shoes in the end?
Yes I bought pink ones with a big bow on the front!
After Leeds you moved to London to complete your BA HONS in Fashion and already I’ve spotted Brooke Candy and Rita Ora in your designs. How did that happen?
Their stylists requested my pieces for events and shoots so they must have liked them because I saw photos all over the Internet of them in my stuff.
Who would you love to see next in a Mary Benson design?
I’m not sure who exactly but I’d love to see my pieces in the US and places abroad.
How would you describe your personal style?
I wear a lot of simple black clothes. Then usually mix it with really bright pieces of my own.
What do you find inspiring about living and working in the UK?
Everything is really fast moving and a lot of hype about the UK. I find living in London particularly exciting and inspiring but also appreciate chill time at home up north with the family.
If you could pick one outfit to wear on a American road trip, what would it be?
Probably my Yorkshire jacket, just to be deliberate ha.
Do you still find yourself inspired by the same things in London as you did in Leeds?
Not really, it’s really different here. I have the same drive but the fashion culture here is really interesting and more evolved. There’s so much to take in.
The first place you went on holiday?
To the Pyrenees in France. My mum and dad have photos of me stood in 7inch snow in my shorts and T-shirt looking so happy!
What next for Mary Benson?
I’m going to finish my final year at Westminster, and continue with my business at the same time. The pressure’s on!
Founded in 2011, MARS! is dedicated to facilitating creative exchange between German artists and artists abroad. Based in Munich, it is run by Francesca Zedtwitz-Arnim, Victor Hausladen and Quirin Brunmeier.
DUPE was represented by MARS! at Basel Art Book Fair this year and thanks to them is now present at Salon Fuer Kunstbuch in Vienna.
Tell us a bit more about MARS! How did it all come together?
We all grew up in Munich and have a background in the arts. Quirin and Victor are artists, Francesca is a writer and curator. Munich is very well off when it comes to cultural institutions, museums and private collections but lacks in spaces and projects that show art by the younger generation. The first project we did together was BYOB Munich in 2011. The reception was great so we decided to continue.
We organised a couple of shows together in the last years and recently got more and more interested also in independent publishing and artist books. We do not have a space as we are all traveling a lot and Francesca lives in London. So we prefer also to make projects that can travel.
How would you define your practice? Do you see yourself as curators?
MARS! is an artist run project. All three of us have a creative practice and different interests which feed into the projects we do and we enjoy collaborating.
Do you always work together? Or do you have other projects on the side?
Victor and Quirin are both artists based in Munich. Francesca is co-founder and co-curator of Almanac, a London based project space.
Your various projects have taken you from Munich to Shanghai or Basel. Do you have any travel stories to share?
There are a few! But the most absurd was when the Chinese fell in love with Victor and more or less forced him to improvise a performance during a public ceremony in front of the exhibition space where the show was happening we curated.
What is making you buzz at the moment? What is next for MARS! ?
We are quite excited about publications at the moment but also would like to work more with artists on individual projects. We are planning a project which involves a vitrine in the museums quarter in Munich. Artists will take turns in making site-specific installations for the vitrine over the next months and we would like to use it also to show video works.
Finally which 5 tunes and / or 5 books would you take on a road trip?”
1913 by Florian Illies which we all recently read and loved.
Kyle Proehl is a writer and lives in New York. Pierre Forcioli-Conti is a flmmaker and lives in San Francisco.
A few summers ago they took a drive across the U.S. with their pal Chris.
Kyle: This looks like the loneliest road trip ever.
Pierre: You don’t always talk much bro. Although outside the frame was me taking pictures and probably smoking, and Chris probably getting ready for whatever, ironing a shirt and blow-drying his hair. This wasn’t a lonely trip.
K: And you didn’t always warn me you were shooting.
P: I like shooting the back of the head better than faces. People looking at something, doing their stuff, not knowing about the camera. You get something more poetic, until they see you.
Do you remember your mindset in some of the photos?
K: So much excitement, but melancholy too, the road just keeps going and going.
Traveling is an expression of longing that stays unexpressed.
Thats one reason I love these photos: the quivering solitary figure confronted by existence in a landscape, plus the haunting skies, land that looks blown open. The way the desert beyond that charred corpse of a car undulates like the ocean sets off a feeling of vertigo.
And those clouds, man… there’s part of you when driving this country that wants to live all the lives, even or especially the saddest lives in the most desolate places, you find a face or word or tree or house or rock or cloud that splits you open and lives inside you, and the only way to show gratitude is to live with that moment. Maybe that’s traveling anywhere, but I’ve done most of mine in this country, where sometimes the only way to feel at home is to stretch toward homelessness. Hitting the road means lighting your fuse and looking to burst like one of Kerouac’s candles.
Which reminds me of Chris, our wild card, who I kept expecting to just walk away from the car, vanish into the Western night: he bought fireworks in Texas, and we never set them off.
P: Aha I forgot about that, but I think that was in New Mexico. Asking gas station personnel “Is it okay to blow that shit in this county? Next one? Or can we do it on someone’s property?”
I bought a keychain with my girlfriend’s name printed on it when he bought the fireworks. It said ‘Land of Fertility’ below the type, next to a drawing of a cactus.
Which by the way, what was the reason for this trip?
K: You guys helped me move from California to New York to be with a girl.
P: Right. I remember both our relationships were swinging funny. Mine in San Francisco, fading away, yours waiting at the other end of the road… And Chris was just breaking up, not giving a shit, whatever dude.
K: What were you looking to shoot? Did you find those things?
P: The only places I expected to go we didn’t go. I still think the missile museum in Arizona would have been very appropriate.
I wanted to film some little vignettes, but never got to it. In Virginia we found a huge snake instead of your old, secret swimming hole. Chris found most of what he was looking for.. He got a few lap dances and fell in love in the gym of our pad in New Orleans.
K: I’m still upset about that. Even after ten years, in the middle of nowhere, wandering through the woods, I should’ve remembered how to get there. We’ll just have to go back.
Where are the cheeseburgers?
P: Fucking everywhere. We were gourmets on the road. Worst pic: Sonic Burger Drive In on some Native American reserve in Arizona. Just gazing at the rollergirl bringing the crap, I thought she was going to beg to come with us.
It’s a strange transition with the landscape. You’re breaking out of that powerful emotion to crash into social and industrial crisis, very concentrated.
Although these burgers were wild. Is your stomach feeling better?
DUPE was delighted to take part in the first Hush House Supermaket, hosted by the Bussey Building in Peckham on Saturday 24th August.
Both floors of the Bussey were jam packed with stalls selling fashion, prints, hand made objects, photography, food and more. We enjoyed going to two of the free talks held by Clever Boxer about setting up a creative business - very useful advice!
It was really busy all day and we had a great time talking to lots of interesting people and spreading the DUPE word. We especially enjoyed hearing what people thought of the zine and getting words of encouragement.
A showcase of all things independent and a moment to celebrate creativity. Things to expect on the day include:
Record Labels, Photography, Buskers, Juice Bars, Clothing Designers, Publicists, Painters, Savoury Foods, Local Condiments, Politicians, Vintage Resale, Jewellery Designers, Florists, Art Collectives, DJs, Printmakers, Tailors, Poets, Handmade Perfumes, Solo Musicians, Live Installations and many more magical things.
The first time I met Vo I remember her sitting on a shopping bag outside the lift on the day we moved into student halls. She had a face like thunder but was still the cutest thing I had ever seen and then I saw her work and fell in love.
Your family heritage is clearly a huge influence on your work. What is it about your Vietnamese heritage that inspires you?
It’s the only side I know. I am half Vietnamese, half English but I’ve only ever known the family on my Vietnamese side. So from a young age I became very interested in the traditions of this side of my family and the meaning behind them.
Do you prefer working in one medium over another and if so why is that?
It sounds so cliché but I like working in film. I think there is a beauty in imperfections, I love that a film negative physically captures a second in time that cannot be deleted, it’s forever engrained. I don’t like deleting pictures so digital wasn’t for me. I feel that a photograph is all about time whether it’s set up or not. With a lot of my photographs themed around history and time I felt that the medium of film captures the overall spirit of the subject matter, film having a history all of its own. But that’s just me, I think digital has its place and there are amazing artists getting amazing results in the digital format but I think digital works best when it reflects on the work the photographer is doing so it becomes more than just a format.
If not the UK or Vietnam where else in the world would you like to take pictures?
I like places that are untouched by humanity, places with natural beauty and large remote areas, my list of places to visit is extensive but Iceland is definitely on there.
Is there a reason why you mainly work with women models?
I try not to put value into ‘self’ I feel the model is more a vessel for the larger image and ideas of my work, the photographs are not just about the individual but I do select my models carefully, it’s important that they can connect with the story. If I felt a male model was right for what I was trying to portray at that moment in time I would use one happily but for the work I have been doing based around movement and time I feel the female figure responds better to the majestic flow of time.
There is beauty in everything it just depends on how you portray it.
Describe your work in five words.
Past. Present. Now. Then. Here.
You spent 6 weeks in Vietnam for the funeral of your Grandpa and documenting your stay. Do you have a favourite photograph from this trip?
The last ever time I saw him.
Tell me something in Vietnamese.
Whats next for Sarah Vo?
Just keep moving forward, the world is forever changing, as is life so you just have to go with it and see where it takes you. Start work on my new project.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS ------> ISSUE 3 'The Dark Issue'
DUPE is calling for submissions for its third publication: “THE DARK ISSUE” due for release in Winter 2013.
We are looking for original and creative material in the form of photography, illustration, collage, writing, poetry, reviews, interviews etc. The work must respond to the theme but it can be interpreted as literally or abstractly as you like.
Send your final piece of work to be considered for publication to email@example.com by Monday 7th October. Please send all images high res 300 dpi. Maximum 1,500 words for written work. Pieces exceeding the word count will not be considered for inclusion. Please be aware that the zine will be approx A5 in size.
DUPE talks to London based Set Designer George Lewin
George Lewin’s work has appeared internationally with shoots for Vogue Russia, Elle US, i-D Magazine & many more.
Read DUPE’s Q&A with the talented Set Designer here.
What has been your most memorable shoot to date?
A few summers ago, when I was still assisting my friend (Robert Storey), we did a shoot with another friend of ours, Thomas Giddings. It was out in Essex in a huge lavender field - I just remember driving up and being hit by this gorgeous smell and a sea of purple. The shoot looked amazing and we had such a lovely day.
Favourite museum/gallery in London?
Tate Modern, but this is partly to do with the journey to get there. Every time I cross the Millennium bridge, I’ll always stop to take it all in - I love the mix of architecture and the views of the bridges (I’m a sucker for a good structure). Every time I go, no matter how bad a day I’ve been having, that view always makes me feel grateful and lucky to be living in London.
Where is the most inspirational place you’ve been on holiday?
I went to India about 8 years ago and have since been back a couple of times. My favourite part is probably Rajasthan. The colours, patterns and vibrancy of the place are breathtaking..
If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
It would have to be Eileen Gray. She’s my hero.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I absolutely love my job so I’d just like for my company to continue to grow and to be involved in exciting, diverse projects. I really enjoy the art direction side of what I do and it’s a role I’d like to explore more in the future.
Whats does you tool box consist of?
Ha! If I listed everything we’d be here all day. But my staple pieces would have to be: strong gaffer tape, clamps, rope, a hammer, tape measure, staple gun and my trusty leatherman.
DUPE talks to Art Historian Fabien Bellat about the academic life on the road
I first met Fabien in Paris while we were both studying Art History at the University Paris X. At the time we were part of a rather geeky art collective called Erbefole. He was the only person I knew who would jump at saving lost Russian tourists in Paris by explaining them how to reach their destination in Russian. He already was a prolific writer and after a thesis on French and Russian architecture between the 30s and 50s, he soon left for Canada. Since then he has not stopped travelling, following his researches.
How would you define yourself? A travelling Art Historian? An Art Trotter?
I am a free and mobile academician… Narrow horizons and a certain lack of curiosity from the current French academic establishment make me struggle inside. This is why I decided to choose my own research subjects (in Russia, India, Egypt and the USA etc) regarding their potential of discovery in order to explore uncharted territories. Those are the most gratifying: I don’t know any greater pleasure than highlighting little known marvels!
Tell us about your lifestyle. Where are you based? You studied in Paris, lived and worked in Canada, speak fluent Russian and travel constantly. How did that all happen?
According to official documents, I am supposed to be living in Paris… but I am not there very often! My suitcase is always more or less ready in the corridor, my passport ready to be grabbed. If I have lived in Canada, it’s because I couldn’t find any work in France. So I decided to undertake all the administrative steps to obtain a permanent Canadian resident permit. Unfortunately, I quickly understood that Québec wasn’t what I had hoped for and I had to deal with difficult periods of unemployment there too. However moving to North America was still an excellent decision since the research I undertook there gave me an international legitimacy that I didn’t previously have. Thereby, the Château de Versailles – showing an exceptional curiosity for the unrecognised sections of mondial creation – requested that I take part in a major Le Nôtre exhibition planned in October 2013. One thing led to another and my researches in Russia for Versailles attracted the attention of the French diplomatic services in Moscow. And I started an excellent working relationship with them. Since then, I have become « the French researcher who visits Russian cities », sometimes on the request of the embassy, sometimes because some Russian colleagues invite me. This is how I discovered Stalingrad or Ekaterinbourg, in the Oural region, for example.
Do you only travel for work these days?
Mainly. But not exactly… I always have an official goal for each trip (conference, institution to meet, monument to explore), then I build my itinerary in order to discover other sites on my way, or see some friends. I do the same everywhere. For example, the official goal of my stay in Cuba was to give a lecture at the Museo Nacional de Belles Artes, in Havana. But really, my main motivation was to discover the colossal embassy built by the URSS in the 70s (see picture). In the end the conference and the visit of the embassy were both extraordinary.
In the same way, I recently did a talk in Romania both to see what my Romanian collegues were up to and to have the pleasure of revisiting their breathtakingly beautiful country (see picture).
I hope to shortly be able to repeat this very same pattern in Italy, a country that I miss very much.
What’s the weirdest thing that has happened to you whilst being abroad? Any funny or surreal stories that stick out or unusual characters you met?
Doing within a week Ekaterinbourg / Nijni-Tagil / Moscow, then coming back to France for 24 hours – just in time to show Versailles to a Russian « princess » - then leave again straight away for the US, be stuck in the US-Canadian customs chaos, land at a different airport than planned in New York, have to cross Manhattan during the night to reach the other airport. My suitcase having been lost then found again by the airline, have it delivered from hotel to hotel, from New York to Atlantic City then Philadelphia. I never travelled so light… Thankfully I kept with me the powerpoint for my lecture at Princeton!
In Moscow, taking the night train for Volgograd (Stalingrad), a 24 hour trip… with an old man who was a Soviet boxing champion and the trainer of the cuban team in Havana in the 60s… We spoke Russian and Spanish – of course I was the only foreigner in the train which provoked the curiosity of the passengers and a lot of food donations. Upon arrival, the boxer’s family kindly took me to my hotel. The day after, I bumped into him by surprise on the esplanade above the Volga river (see picture) and we went to drink in “the russian style”. I won’t easily forget my visit to Stalingrad, nor the runs to catch the spartan but swift local trams!
In Saint-Pétersbourg, dining in the sumptuous mansion of an aristocratic family (heirs of a general of the white army), who recovered part of the building after the fall of the URSS… The family made me dance with each of their very beautiful daughters, one after the other. Let me tell you that it is not easy to remain an ok dancer after a rather toasted meal…
Russians can be extremely friendly, when you know how to approach them. Each trip there has for me its small human miracles.
St Pétersbourg, Palace of culture, Noé Trotski arch.1931.
What do you always take with you when you go away (apart from essentials)?
No rule in that respect. On my way somewhere, I always bring presents for my friends; on the way back I always bring back architecture related books that I’ve discoverd. Sometimes I cannot take everything back so I leave it with a friend in Moscow. A sign that I will be back soon.
What is next in store for Fabien Bellat? What are you currently working on?
Right now, I have become the conductor of a large exhibition on the new town of Togliatti (on the Volga, in the middle of Russia, see pictures), an exhibition that will take place during 2014 in Moscow, Paris and Togliatti. From being a simple traveller, I have become the director of a strategical cultural project for the french-russian relationships… It changes quite a lot of things. From now on there is always a car waiting for me where I arrive somewhere. While this new comfort is appreciated, I still just as much like dealing with an unexpected situation or unexpectedly going to discover some unlikely site.
Lastly which 5 songs would you put on a road trip mix tape?
I usually travel without any music… I prefer to unexpectedly discover the offers of concert halls of the cities I visit, or listen to the radio on the different buses or cars I travel on. Listen to the music choices of a Cuban taxi or a Russian driver - let myself be invaded by what a whole different population is listening to.
DUPE talks with Jeremy Shlachter of Gallus Cycles about making bikes, randonneuring and night riding.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey into the world of bicycles…
My interest in bikes did not really start till I was 18. Before that I was into skateboarding, but got too old to throw myself down stairs and such. I moved to Glasgow when I was 19 for architecture school, and that’s when my interest grew. Glasgow was a great city for cycling around, traffic was low key and the hills were fun. I ended up landing a courier job, and things just progressed from there. I started putting in loads of miles and learning how to fix my own bike as we were all too skint to pay a shop to repair them, nor could we afford to have a bike holed up in a shop for a few days.
How and why did Gallus Cycles start?
Though I had a keen interest in architecture I was learning that I was not cut out for long days in front of a computer. My passion and knowledge for bikes was growing, I had learned how to assemble bikes from scratch and build wheels. This was at the beginning of the single speed/fixie popularity and good bikes were hard to find, especially new ones. My friends were finding vintage hand made bikes made by various British frame builders. I wondered why new bikes did not have the quality and style of the older ones. I thought someone should do something about it, and set off to learn about bicycle construction. This took me back to States, were I learned from Koichi Yamaguchi and Doug Fattic, both master craftsman with over 30 years experiences each. This was 2006, I built a few bikes for myself and friends and in 2009 started Gallus. It’s been 7 years now, but still feels like yesterday, which hopefully means I have a lot longer to go yet.
You spent some time working in the Ukraine…that must have been quite an experience?
Yes, it certainly was. My teacher Doug Fattic had set up a project building bikes for church workers and educators in Ukraine. I went there for 2 months. My workshop was in a small trailer and I lived in a dorm room in a Christian College. That was an experience in its own right. Ukraine provided other experiences. It was 2008, but it looked like it hadn’t changed since the height of the Cold War. There were still Soviet flags and emblems everywhere, statues of Lenin. The transition to democracy/capitalism had not been easy, and life appeared hard for the ordinary Ukranian, with rampant corruption controlling the economy and politics. People struggled to get by everyday, but made the most of it. Everyone worked hard and did not waste anything. That sounds simple, but it was in steep contrast to the comforts we are used to in the West. I ate borscht for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You were born in India, raised in Texas, studied in Glasgow and now live in Denver. Do you consider yourself a bit of an adventurer?
Haha, I suppose I do fancy myself a bit of an adventurer. I have been very fortunate to have had the experiences I have had already in life.
Do you have a favourite or most memorable cycle ride?
Mostly any ride can become a memorable one. The ones that stick out the most would be bombing down hills on a track bike in the hills outside Glasgow with my messenger pals, riding through a lightning storm in the west of France during Paris Brest Paris, going from Fort Worth to Austin last Christmas and having a bit more of an adventure than I was expecting from my home territory.
Describe night riding, how does it differ from daytime trips asides from the obvious!
Night rides become hypnotic. Relying on either one’s bike light, street lamps, or houses off in the distance provide a constantly changing perspective. Throw in the fact that you have already been on your bike for hours and now going without sleep, your mind starts playing tricks on you. It becomes a game of survival, and test of perseverance. It’s fun, but I try to not do it too often because it is taxing and I know there is a limit for how many times I can or would want to do such a thing.
What’s the difference between a cycle ride and randonneuring?
Randonneuring is the original ultra distance form of cycling. It started in the late 1800’s in France and Italy, and its events, many of which still take place, pre-date many races including the Tour de France. Distances typically range from 200km to 1200km for the Grand Randonne. Randonneur events, however, are not races. Events have time limits but there are no awards for top finishers. Instead it promotes self-sufficiency and camaraderie. You are not allowed to get outside assistance during the ride but can get help from fellow riders.
Who or what influences and inspires your bike designs?
Firstly, my biggest influences come from the work of my teachers Yamaguchi and Fattic. The steel bikes made between the 50’s and 90’s from both European and American builders are influential as well. And now the new wave of young builders, which each one bringing a unique style and new methods to buildings. Outside the bike building world, my array of creative friends inspire me. It’s great to be part of such energy. I am also inspired by the city and conversely the countryside. And, last not but not least, simply riding my bike informs my work and pushes me on.
You recently moved to Colorado, what’s next for Gallus Cycles?
To be honest, I plan on staying put for a while. Getting Gallus reestablished in Colorado will take some time. But I am quite content exploring my new home. Colorado is basically a giant playground if you like being outside, and one can easily indulge into a variety of city vices in Denver.
Lastly in homage to our current theme can you name 5 tracks you’d put on a road trip mix tape.
Hmm… The whole Weezer Blue Album, that is my all time ultimate road trip anthem. I had that on tape and would listen to repeat on Coast to Coast road trips. Frida/Grand Central by Groovie Ghoulies Summer. Feeling by Jonathan Richman. Any track by Bonobo for driving through the mountains. Roll Bus Roll by Jeffrey Lewis.
DUPE talks to photographer Paul Phung about Northerners, B&W film & why the word 'talented' makes him feel uncomfortable.
If you could exhibit anywhere in the world where would you & why?
I would really keep it in the UK, it’s where I’ve been brought up and where I became a photographer.. so I would say a solo show in London would probably be a big goal.
Why do you choose to work in mainly in black & white over colour?
I do favour B&W over colour, apart from the traditional aspects to it I just seem to work more naturally in B&W and find it much more effective to get across my vision through that. It’s also maybe due to the fact a lot of film makers I look up to and find inspiration from only do B&W films but I also do shoot colour, it really depends on what I’m working on and what I want to put across to the viewer.
You’ve appeared alongside some big names on the latest cover of ‘Nasty’ (Marina Abramovic being one). How did that feel?
I felt very honoured, but I try not to think about stuff like that, in a way it makes me work harder.
When I first met you I remember it was the use of thick white smoke in your earlier works that caught my attention. I also remember spending my hard earned student loan on a print…….what first drew you into using smoke?
It came from films I was watching at the time and remember thinking it was a great atmosphere to incorporate into my photographs plus it was quite fun to do.
As you know our latest issue theme is ‘Road Trip’. Tell me the 4 essentials you would pack in your suitcase?
Well depends on what trip I’m doing, I always pack light anyway..the last trip I did, I had in my backpack a notebook and pen, a shirt, my camera and a music player. That was actually quite a big mistake and I ended up buying clothes at the local supermarket in Portugal.
We’ve interviewed alot of talented people from up North (Paul is from Manchester). Why do you think that is?
Haha that word talented makes me feel a bit uncomfortable but I have no idea, great artists come from all over..probably all my favourite music artists are from the north actually but what I can say is growing up in the north has really helped me. I rarely had many distractions and it really aided me into becoming a photographer.. thinking about it, I really do miss it a lot.
DUPE talks comedy, the uncanny and practicing in Berlin with artist Kasia Fudakowski
Kasia and I did art together in year 6. I can’t remember much about it, but I’m pretty sure it involved a lot of drawing tedious ‘still life’s’ with oil pastels. Then last year I stumbled across some of her brilliant work at Frieze Art Fair, and after some deft stalking on my part we got back in touch, and I found out she was now practicing in Berlin.
I decided to capitalize on this rendezvous by asking her some questions about the fantastically peculiar things she makes.
You grew up in London, you’re of Polish descent and now live in Berlin. Where do you feel is home?
I had the classic problem of feeling English in Poland and Polish in England, so Berlin is where I feel like I can be a bit of both quite happily. Home is where your hard drive is…. or is that too cold?
Why did you decide to move to Berlin? How do you find living and working as an artist there in comparison to London? Are there more opportunities for creative endeavors in general?
I moved almost immediately after studying in England, so I never really experienced professional London life, but the feeling I had when I moved to Berlin was that you can make life easier for yourself and be somewhere where you don’t need to have a high paid, time consuming job in order to sustain a flat and a studio. I don’t think there are particularly more creative opportunities here in comparison to London, as London is a place where you are somehow forced to keep being active and producing etc, and as a result there is a lot going on, whereas the pressure is sometimes lacking here, but being given the headspace to quietly work things out is something that is important.
Absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) seem to be a clear underlying theme in everything you make. Where do you think that stems from? Does it have anything to do with being from a culturally “mixed” headspace?
Ah, now you’re asking me if the absurdity and humour (albeit with tragic undertones) is a result of my mixed cultural head space….Well that’s hard to say. Probably not. I tend to avoid putting much emphasis on nationality and feel like my interest in comedy and awkwardness stems from the enjoyment I get from dark twisting story lines, and glorifying the pathetic. I’m interested in comedy that fails, because the expectation of a specific result is so interwoven in the set up. I think there is a lot of space to play with this idea of expectation and what entertainment is. I like to make art, that you can use the sound made from sticking your tongue out and blowing, to describe it. This is essentially childish, and is unacceptable in most other professions.
Looking at images from your recent show in Belgium, ‘Where is your alibi, Mr. Motorway?’ I get a strong sense of the Uncanny. Are you primarily trying to subvert people’s sense of recognition, or is this just a by-product of what happens when you’re focusing on more intellectually motivated ideas?
The uncanny is difficult to avoid, but it’s not something I was necessarily occupied with. Of course, on some level, you are always subverting the familiar in Art, but what I was attempting to do was build a whole elaborate system of judgement that was based on very simple fallacies and then watch it crumble. There are some very real concerns with systems of judgement in both a legal sense and on a more general level, contained within the work.
What are you working on at the moment? And what’s next?
At the moment I am co-organising and taking part in an exhibition that brings sculptors and performers together. It’s kind of brilliant because in a way it’s doomed to fail in the same way that unnatural collaborations must. I’m really happy though because we have some amazing artists taking part and whatever the result I think it will be interesting. At the moment we have a daunting stack of Styrofoam bricks….
Lastly, our current theme is ‘road trip’, so in the spirit of that please can you give us 5 songs you’d put on a road trip mix tape?
Here goes…. nothing to do with roads….but a little multi-kulti.
DUPE talks to curator Bertrand Riou about Gyrovague, Abraham Poincheval's latest exhibition at Le Cairn
Tell us about “Gyrovague, the invisible trip”, the current exhibition of Abraham Poincheval’s at Le Cairn.
This solo exhibition is the outcome of a peformance undertaken over the course of four seasons between Digne and Caraglio in Italy. This solitary journey took the artist on the steep roads of the alpine landscape, progressing with an imposing circular capsule that served both as camera obscura and habitat. To the people who crossed his path, it looked like an unidentified rolling object. This strange artifact called "gyrovague" is now exhibited at Le CAIRN, alongside other material collected and transformed by the artist during the course of his unusual journey.
At the origins, Gyrovague (Latin gyrus, “circle” and vagus “vagabond”) was a wandering or itinerant monk without fixed residence or leadership. A hermit withdrawn to distant lands to remain free. The artist re-appropriated this tradition with his performance starting in the summer of 2011 : “It is 9:30. I propelled my capsule two hours ago, leaving an enthusiastic crowd of three spectators behind. John Paul, the machine’s manufacturer and a sixty year old man with his dog in a van passing by. He stopped to take a closer look at this strange device. The dog, without doubt to bring me luck or because the capsule had an unusual smell, took the opportunity to baptize it." From this story succeeded a plethora of situations.
How does this performance work relate to land art? Does the artist leave any traces of his presence on site?
Abraham Poincheval is an “explorer artist”. This is a sort of modern day adventurer who investigates the surrounding world through performance art that often take extreme forms. These performances ordinarily take place in a natural setting but are not Land Art; he never leaves a trace. His pieces are created using materials collected during these performances, taking them away and arranging them in an exhibition space as though they were artifacts. They become a trace, a witness to what he has experienced. The same method is used in Gyrovague as in all his performances. He doesn’t share a common vision with the Land Art artists such as Andy Goldworthy, whom for some, crowd the Dignois area.
How did you and Le Cairn came across Abraham Poincheval’s body of work?
Already widely recognized on the French art scene, Abraham Poincheval has worked with Laurent Tixador for some time. Over the years their exploits have attracted a lot of interest from art institutions, if only to delve out of a world that is perhaps a little too rigid and serious. Abraham lives and works in Marseille, a city that has strong cultural ties with Digne due to their proximity. In 2010, Nadine Gomez, director of the art centre at Le CAIRN, decided to develop two projects encompassing Abraham Poincheval’s universe. Firstly with Gyrovague and then a second performance based project that will take place on the 9th of July 2013, whereby Abraham will spend two weeks inside a naturalised bear. I started to work with Le CAIRN in March and took over all of the on going projects, and I must say that it is a truly extraordinary experience to work with an artist like Abraham.
You studied in Montpellier, lived and worked in London and are now executive assistant at the art centre LE CAIRN, in the south east of France. How did that all happen?
My years spent in Montpellier gave me the opportunity to research various fields that now cross over from one to another. At the time I was already seeking out artists from art schools, but also artists from a more underground background, for example, from the skateboarding world or whom I met during rowdy evenings out. A real desire grew to show artists that I liked and to expose them to a public using my preferred themes. These are themes that prone to the extreme, sex, the gender studies but also following more metaphysical lines such as the study of dreams and our unconscious. I went up to Paris for six months where I worked as the assistant curator at the art centre Betonsalon. This experience was a great source of inspiration. It was at this time that I met Anna Colin, a French independent curator working in London. Thinking back at it, she is probably the person who gave me the urge to live there. After four curatorial projects in Montpelier and Paris I finally decided to go to London. There I moved between an intense exploration of art spaces and passionate encounters with young artists and curators all more talented than the other, and where I partied like never before, notably at a club that played edgy music called The Alibi. In fact one of my preferred locations for reflection and action was right next door in a large building of artist studios on Ridley Road in Dalston. This is where I met one of London’s craziest artists, Noah Wiegand. It’s with Noah and another artist, Marion Sagon, that I spirituality and physically put together the Cosmic Intimacy exhibition. Following this curatorial project in East London, I returned to the South of France, first of all to escape the bad weather but then to find a stable job in my field of work. This is when I landed at Le CAIRN, a great art centre in Digne’s epicentre that also has a strong policy of exhibiting outside its walls. In all honesty I’m not quite sure how this all came about, luck probably. I thought that I was a lost case, having always been on the fringe of things, avoiding large institutions and often having ideas that were radical. However, Nadine Gomez put her trust in me and we hit it off straight away. I think that the art centre is one of the most exciting as we are always on the forefront of things. I hope to continue in this direction whilst avoiding the commercial system that has a real tendency to kill my mojo! Ultimately, my utopic desire is to open my own art centre and do what I like with it. Maybe in the future, all is possible.
Do you travel do see exhibitions? Do you qualify as an Art Trotter?
I consider myself to be an art trotter. My travels in France and abroad are for me an opportunity to discover a new culture through art. Cities such as Montreal with the Belgo and the Fonderie Darling, Brussels with its fantastic Wiels art centre, neighbourhoods such as Williamsburg in New York or even places in Berlin’s underground scene have made me understand the need to show all of these emerging artists. I still, however, cannot find the time or the money to attend events like the Venice Biennale or Art Basel. I satisfy myself with the Salon de Montrouge and the Lyon Biennale that are both excellent artistic events.
We’ve heard that you are a keen cyclist, fond of vintage sport bikes. Do you go on any cycling road trips?
There is an old man here who is always selling bikes for 20€ at car boot sales. So I’m thinking of starting a vintage bike collection. I find them beautiful and love to renovate them. It’s my favourite sport. It frees my mind and reminds me of when I was penniless in London and I would cycle the city everyday from one end to other with my big vintage Dutch bike. What fond memories! However, I don’t consider myself to be a keen cyclist, just a Sunday stroller.
What is in store next at Le Cairn and for Bertrand Riou?
Frankly, I’m not sure about the long term. My greatest worry at the moment is to not get completely absorbed by the extraordinary and powerful beauty of the surrounding mountains. I have put my work as an independent curator aside for the time being to concentrate on my work at Le CAIRN. There is a huge potential here and I have to remain focused. As a sneak preview I can already tell you that I have placed one of my favourite artists, Delphine Gigoux-Martin into our 2014 program. In August I will be taking off for a month to the Equator, more specifically, the Galapagos to discover the dinosaurs! It is where Charles Darwin finished writing the Origin of Species, my current bedside table book.
Lastly which 5 songs would you put on a road trip mix tape?
Johnny Come Home – Fine Young Cannibals
The Mojo Radio Gang (Club version) – Parov Stelar
Troublemaker – Beach House
Open – Rhye
I want to know (Part II) – Adriano Celentano
Visit GYROVAGUE at Le CAIRN till the 30th of June 2013 and OURS from the 10th of July to the 1st of september 2013:
DUPE talks touring with Greg Hughes from London-based band Still Corners
Photograph: Chona Kasinger
As well as playing all over the UK, you’ve previously toured Europe and the USA. Where was your favorite city? And how did this compare to playing shows here? We really liked Berlin, NYC, Rome, oh wait that’s a lot. We just like being on the road really, meeting lots of people. Europe is great, there’s usually a nice meal provided by the venue which is great. The US is a different beast. Long road trips, lots of changing scenery, good vibes.
What’s the best part of touring? Meeting new people and performing live. The best is when the crowd digs it, there’s a heat and an energy that vibrates through the room, it’s fantastic.
And the worst?
Bad food or unavailable food. When you’re in the middle of nowhere it can be tricky to find fresh veg. By the end of our last US tour all we wanted was salad, we just wanted to live in a salad and eat our way through it.
How do you keep yourselves entertained on the road?
Read, watch films, play video games and invent games. When we were in the south of the US we invented a road games called “I See Jesus!’. This was because in the deep south you see a lot of religious things like billboards, bumper stickers, random road signs asking you to repent, and churches, churches every 100 feet. So every time someone saw any of these they yelled out, “I see Jesus!” and scored a point. Tessa took it really seriously and won I think.
What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you whilst on tour? Any funny or surreal stories that stick out or unusual characters you met?
One night we pulled up to our hotel just as a massive tour bus was pulling in. Out popped this dude with full on 70’s beard and torn jeans and stuff. Tessa had gone in with our tour manager to sort out the rooms so I was watching this guy and I knew it was probably a big band. So I popped out of the car and walked up and said “hey there, what band is this?”. He was a little miffed and looked like he didn’t want to say. I just stood there and then under his breath he said, “Stevie Nicks”. I was like ‘fucking Stevie Nicks! Well alright!’ So I walked backed to van and told the guys. Anyway, when Tessa came back she said she had just seen Stevie Nicks come into the hotel and walk up to a flight of stairs pulling her suitcase and stopped at the first step and said, “What? I’ve got a walk up stairs? Fuck a duck.” Amazing.
How important is touring to you as a band? Due to the current state of the music industry, surely it’s the only way musicians can support themselves financially these days?
Touring is important not just financially but because it’s part of what being in a band is. You’ve got to be able to perform and have that communication with the audience. Making a record is like making a movie but playing live is like putting on a play, it’s instant and most importantly if you do it right there’s the potential to go off into another world and take the audience with you. Part of that also means there’s the potential for failure but that’s what touring and playing live is. In it’s perfect state you should be right at the edge of a cliff and open yourself up to falling off or making it through. Still Corners doesn’t always achieve this but we try every time.
Lastly which 5 songs would you put on a road trip mix tape?
Philip Glass - Island, Dirty Beaches - Alone at the Danube River, Washed Out - Get Up, Miles Davis - All Blues, Wild Nothing - Nocturne.
Stills Corners’s new album ‘Strange Pleasures is out now on Sub Pop. They are currently on tour in the USA with Chvrches.
Recently, a podcast listener wrote in to ask us whether we worried that watching so many films was a way to ignore the desire to go out and experience the world for real.
Clearly, the vicarious thrill provided by seeing characters in films experience situations, people and places that seem a million miles away from the glibness of daily reality is a powerful appeal for the cinema.
It’s undeniable that films involving journeys away from home are often the most compelling, and the easiest for mass audiences to appreciate. A good example is TheLord of the Rings - still the highest grossing film trilogy of all time, not simply for the special effects and impressive ensemble cast, but also because cinema goers the world over connected with the sense of adventure and the moving scenes in which the humble protagonists reflect on the pain and fear of being forced to leave the comfort of home, and their ultimate realisation that even on returning, nothing can ever be the same again.
This is because it is a universally relatable concept; all of us fear the great unknown as we move forward in life, yet we need to believe that bravely disappearing into it will bring some finite transformation for the better.
Films provide us with a vivid and exhilarating foray into these worlds unknown, but they can also be deceiving testaments to our doomed desire to fit our lives into a cohesive, rewarding narrative structure.
How many times have you stepped onto a train, or taken a final look at your old flat, or gotten into bed with a lover and wished the words “THE END” would materialise in the air above you, leaving the untold, surely happy ending to be imagined in the mind’s eye of some outside viewer as opposed continuing the tricky reality of the confusing, mundane and sometimes frankly bizarre ongoing story of you?
Admittedly, not switching off has its benefits – the biggest of which is avoiding having to suddenly reappear years later in the disappointing sequel in which a fatter, older and less charismatic actor portays you in a dull, convoluted mess of a story that sees you having to do things that betray the more relatable and charming portrayal of your character in the original movie.
On the other hand, a good film can tell us a lot though smart metaphor and healthy idealism – about where we’ve been, where we think we want to go and who we might want to be when the final curtain falls for real.
Films like Up and The Straight Story offer us a resonant ride through the pathos and wisdom of old age. Stand by Me and American Graffiti remind us that we once had grand notions and strange dreams. Before Sunrise and Lost in Translationoffer us solace and understanding when our hearts lie in shreds before us. And The Hangover reminds us that toilet humour and casual racism aren’t actually that funny.
And if we can get all that from ducking into a cinema for a couple of hours andemerge entertained, why then, lucky us.
In the spirit of road trips and journeys, we picked ten of our favourite films that we like to watch so we don’t have to go out into the cold, or even lift the pizza boxes from our laps.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles - John Hughes 1987
“If I wanted a joke I’d follow you into the men’s room and watch you take a leak”. Like Hughes’ other great film Home Alone, Planes is so perfect and ever-present in the canon that it seems almost too obvious a choice in this list. But it is impeccable film-making. Steve Martin and John Candy have never been better, and it set the blueprint for the comedic road trip movie (that it spawned the likes of Due Date is something of a shame). It has so much heart that the saccharin ending barely registers (what the hell is Steve Martin’s family going to actually do with John Candy? Let him move in?).
Essential Killing–Jerzy Skolimowski, 2010
An overlooked pocket rocket, this is the understated and lyrical story of an escaped terrorist hopelessly stranded in a different country. Even though he’s playing the villain of the piece, arthouse/lunatic/douchebag Vincent Gallo brings a singularly hypnotic and surprisingly moving performance to the screen, leaving us constantly desperate to see what happens next. This is ultimately paid off in one of the most creepy and absurd solutions to starvation yet devised for the silver screen.
Midnight Run -Martin Brest, 1988
A sweaty companion piece to Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Midnight Run takes a chalky bounter hunter (Robert De Niro) and cheesy crook accountant (Charles Grodin), and sticks them on a road to hell. Decent action comedies are hard to come by, but this is a fucking delight.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? –Joel & Ethan Coen, 2000
Based on the oldest and most famous “road trip” story ever, the Coens’ greatest film (according to Geoff anyway) presents us with three magnetic leads on a meaningful journey: yes, it’s littered with jolly chases, escapes, diversions and disguises, but ultimately it is the characters’ fate we’re really invested in by the end. The soundtrack is also astutely relevant, featuring renditions of old songs sung by the rural working classes collected and catalogued by folklorist Alan Lomax on his trips through the USA heartland in the 1930s and 40s.
Grave of the Fireflies –Hayao Miyazaki, 1988
One of the lesser known works from the vast catalogue of the Spielberg of Japanese animation, it tells the story of a teenage boy and his infant sister in WW2. Orphaned and forced onto the street after their village is destroyed by bombs, this is absolutely a heart-wrenching film (do not screen to children, my god), but the beautifully animated depictions of the struggles of life during war are also interspersed with breathtaking scenes of the quiet, magical beauty of nature, and reminds us that the world outside is not always such a scary place to be, if only for a moment.
The Wild Bunch -Sam Peckinpah, 1969
The tale is simple - a band of ageing outlaws are hounded across Texas after a job gone wrong, heading to Mexico for a last ditch grab at a payout from a vicious warlord. The execution is brutal, violent and world-weary. It’s vital, bleak and beautifully shot, and one of the few Westerns to transcend the genre.
Sunshine -Danny Boyle, 2007
This seemingly innocuous space thriller about a bickering team of scientists on a mission to save the sun sees a great many science fiction clichés bundled together at once – but somehow it works better than most. Aside from boasting a durable round of performances from the cast and classy cinematography, Sunshine is a perfect example of the effectiveness of the “journey” format, and one that reaps the rewards of its meticulous and intelligent construction.
Old Joy -Kelly Reichardt, 2006
A sadder, more downbeat picture of a friendship long soured, Old Joy follows two friends walking and camping in the mountains east of Portland. There are few films that come close to showing the end of an era so tenderly as this.
Two Lane Blacktop–Monte Hellman, 1971
It’s not often I concede that a film “lacks a plot” but this definitely sits somewhere dangerously close to the edge. Nevertheless, given the time and patience, James Taylor and Brian Wilson’s depiction of two stoic, car-obsessed sociopaths on a race across the country with a swarthy ne’er-do-well ends up becoming a quietly fascinating portrait of post 1960s America as it’s never quite been depicted on film elsewhere.
Sideways - Alexander Payne, 2004
A theme appears to be developing in some of these choices… men, together, bonding and bickering…here gloomy struggling writer Miles (Paul Giamatti) takes his soon-to-be married, happy-go-lucky friend Jack (Thomas Haden Church) up to wine country for a strained, sombre and wittily brilliant stag weekend. It’s a sad, very funny and oh-so hopeful tale of failure and friendship and a high point for everyone involved.
DUPE talks touring with Mishkin Fitzgerald solo artist and frontwoman of Brighton orchestral alt-punk band Birdeatsbaby
1. Mishkin Fitzgerald, as well as playing all over the UK, you’ve previously toured Europe and the USA with Birdeatsbaby. Where was your favourite city? And how did these compare to playing shows here? I think playing in Seattle last summer was pretty amazing. The city was very beautiful, mountains, sea and a forest. The people were lovely, the food was great, the show was fantastic. So yeah, I’d say Seattle was one of our favourites! In Europe we love to play Berlin, I think we’d all move there if we got the chance! Playing in the UK has its perks too, but generally we get a better reception in Europe and America as it’s more exciting for them that we’ve come overseas, so the crowds are generally a bit bigger, and more into the music. People in the UK are a bit more reserved… It’s hard to get them dancing.
2. Best part of touring? All the crazy, amazing and wonderful people you meet… and knowing that you’re going to wake up in a different city every night. And the parties…. 3. Worst part of touring? The constant exhaustion. The smell of the van. Traffic. Running out of socks. 4. How do you keep yourselves entertained on the road? LOTS of playlists of our favourite music. I always bring a notepad too, I tend to do most of my writing in the back of the van, it gives me time to think up lyrics. Apart from that we all get on quite well so the van is rarely quiet! 5. What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you whilst on tour? Any funny or surreal stories that stick out or unusual characters you met? Haha yes, too many to mention! The weirdest was probably the relapsed alcoholic whose house we stayed on our American tour. He told us he built spaceships for the government, that we were going to hell. At the end of the night he appeared wearing nothing but a tiny towel and asking us for weed. It was very funny if not a bit scary. We locked the door that night! 6. How important is touring to you as a band? Due to the current state of the music industry, surely it’s the only way musicians can support themselves financially these days? It’s vital once you’ve released an album/single to tour it, it gives us a chance to see how the new material works live, and goes down to the crowds. It’s also a chance to build up new followers. However, nothing as an unsigned musician is that financially supportive. Even touring costs almost as much as it makes so until we’re backed by some other kind of funding it’s still a bit uncertain whether we’ll make enough… But I think we’ve begun to get a bit smarter, we know which shows to pick now, and how to save money on the road… What we really need is for a bigger band to take us under their wing! Any takers? ;) 7. What’s next for the band and you as a solo artist? Birdeatsbaby have a new record which we’ve almost finished recording. That will be exploding with a new single towards the end of the year… It’s very exciting as we’ve pushed our sound to new levels and I think this album is the most unusual of them all. As far as solo work goes, I’m kind of done with it for a while. I loved making that record but I’m keen to take what I learnt from it and put it back into the band that I love, I’ve never wanted to be a solo artist, it just kind of happened momentarily and now I’m happy to go back to the band thing.
8. Lastly which 5 songs would you put on a road trip mix tape? Muse – Uprising (we’re all singing by the third chorus), Nick Cave – As I Sat Sadly By Her Side (good night driving music), Queens of The Stone Age – First it Giveth, Kate Bush – Hounds of Love (makes good van dancing moments), Biffy Clyro - Bubbles
Mishkin’s solo album ‘Present Company’ is out now.
We are very happy to announce that DUPE and “The Hairy Issue” will be represented by MARS! at the awesome I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel !!! MARS! is a nonprofit association that aims to create connections between the German art scene and young artists abroad. MARS! will show a selection of zines and artist books at Basel’s Art Book Fair.
DUPE speaks to illustrator Richard Kilroy about his practice, tools of the trade and Liverpool
DUPE: How would you describe your style?
RK: It’s mostly a mix of realist pencil work and playing about with space and line. It’s predominantly black and white for now with occasional colour but I plan to expand on this a lot this year. Pencil and realism are the starting point for me, I aim to take that and play a lot on spatial work and breaking it up further.
DUPE: Have you ever explored with any other mediums? Are you ever tempted too?
RK: I’m beginning to work more with photography when it comes to getting my own images of the models that I draw. I practised photography in university but not much beyond that. I was originally told my tutors I should actually do photography over illustration as they preferred it. I’m confident in my eye as a photographer, but don’t actually see myself as one. Material wise I’m planning a lot with cards, acrylics and rougher materials this year. I usually like to include pen and ink, again something I plan on pushing further this year too.
DUPE: If not illustration what else would you be doing?
RK: I would definitely be involved in publishing in some respect for another. I’m always very keen on looking for compositions and layouts in things, so to some extent could see myself doing layouts and graphics. Same for photography but there’s already enough photographers out there.
DUPE: You grew up in Liverpool, studied in Leeds and now live in London. Do you miss the north?
RK: I miss aspects of the north but I do love living in London too much. I miss the prices, the space, the fact everyone is generally a lot more open, because they’re not used to walking through hundreds or thousands of people on a daily basis and switching off. Also no-one in London seems to get drunk that often. Especially with Liverpool, there’s the whole thing with people really going to town with their hair and beauty and outfits. A lot of it is kind of awful but I love the excess and fun of it too. It’s a love/hate thing for me.
DUPE: What’s next for Richard Kilroy?
RK: Well I’m working on a book featuring a lot of fashion’s leading illustrators, so continuing with that. Planning the next issue of my publication Decoy, and experimenting with my work further.
DUPE: You know how dogs have a tendency to look like their owners… I think this is the case with you. You look like the drawings you make - Do you agree or disagree with this?
RK: No I totally agree and I think most fashion illustrators I know do too! Well, I don’t look like a model obviously, but it terms of how I dress is similar to my work. Lots of black and white and usually one big bold colour, usually fairly graphic. I’ve been called ‘clean’ and ‘neat’ before haha. I draw the outfits I’m drawn to. I find it strange when illustrators or designers don’t embody their work in some respect.
DUPE: If you could travel to anywhere right now where would you go and what would you pack?
RK: Like anyone else in the UK it is ALL I have thought about these last few weeks ha.
a) I need a holiday
b) Somewhere hot with a beach
My main plan is to go around Italy for a few weeks this summer, Sicily, Venice, Florence etc. However if it was more exploring than a hot getaway, I’ve always had a fascination with Western America and road movies, the photography of Keith Davis Young and movies like Boys Don’t Cry and Into The Wild, so to explore those kind of areas would be amazing.
DUPE meets up with artist / curator Gala Knorr to talk about her pratice, projects and travels
DUPE’s Georgia Lucas-Going and Gala.
DUPE: First of all Gala, where are you from?
GK: I was born in Vitoria-Gasteiz, it’s a city on the Basque country in the north of Spain, but I left when I was 16 and came to school here with a lot of American people hence the accent!
Dupe: So I’ve read that you’ve studied in Paris, but also in London?
GK: I went to the Parsons School of Design in Paris , it’s an English speaking school, so my French was slowly building but my art was quickly growing, and then I went to Central Saint Martins.
Dupe: You’ve moved around so much where do you feel is your home?
GK: That’s the crazy thing, it sounds really cheesy but home is where your heart is so I try to build a secondary family everywhere I go. My family’s in Spain but in Paris I have this family of people who are similar to me, e.g. a friend who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia but was studying there. Everyone who has a similar background always seem to stick together wherever we go. In London it was actually really organic because I embraced all these people who I studied with and we all shared a studio like a little united nations!
Dupe: So right now we’re talking in your studio and you share with 4 other artists? And this work behind us, isn’t it travelling soon? Where’s it going?
GK: Yes this is going to Madrid in 2 days. Then hopefully coming back to London. We’re opening this show in there, in a studio called Bunkhouse, which actually used to be a bakery! The recession has made Spain really poor, but has also given artists really good opportunities to start up small galleries or pop up shows everywhere. I think after our show it’s going to be used for music, as a place where people can come to Spain to play and rehearse.
Dupe: Free things! As there’s no bloody funding anymore! So you’ve mentioned the USA, have you done a show there?
GK: Actually the show that we’re doing in Madrid is called ‘Journey to The Center of My Mind’ and the first edition of it was made in LA, in this artists commune venue called ‘HM157’. I was trying to find a spot to do it in London and I emailed everyone and their mothers basically! Everyone wants money for that and we had none because we’d all just graduated, so I made a Facebook page about this idea and then I realised Facebook pages could get messages and I got a message from this lady who runs the space and she offered it to us for free, so of course I was going to do it. It would be crazy not to do so, so we chose 5 London based artists, and 5 based in California, as we thought it would be a nice bi-continental dialogue. All the artists were women as well; that was the little twist. It’s like how do you make a show with only women artists without being all cliché and feminist, which isn’t bad, but people have a pre-conceived idea of what it’s going to be like.
Dupe: We know you’re a traveller, does that influence your work a lot? It must do?
GK: My work is really inspired by the people I meet or things that happen which spark this revolutionary idea of people going over the street and changing the world with art, which sounds really utopian but I think nowadays you really have to have this kind of mindset in order to survive the negativity of today and continue. I remember my second solo show was based on everyone I’d met on a trip to America, and it was all small portraits made with ink, like on the road, and just finding people who are different and unique and live outside bureaucracy and off the grid, but still have this creative ability to change things, and that’s what basically inspires me.
Dupe: Do you have any road trip/journey stories; something that sticks out in your mind, be it whether you met someone mental or saw somewhere really beautiful?
GK: The most extravagant story which sticks out in my mind was in LA and I was staying with someone I’d stayed with in Paris really briefly who would later go on to become a really good friend of mine. The first night she took me out in Venice beach and we hung out with her boyfriend who was this big, very loud Mexican guy, who everyone knew. He was like ‘oh my friend Danny’s coming’ and he turned out to be this badass Mexican actor who’s in a movie called Machete. We went out to some bar and this guy was trying to dance with me even though he was about 60. My friend’s boyfriend was basically trying to set us up and I was like ‘Oh my god I’m 23 what am I doing with this old man!’ Then her boyfriend got a call and he said ‘oh yeah girls my friend Eminem is coming over’ and I was like ‘what no?! this cannot happen! I’m wearing pyjamas!’
Dupe: If you had to make a mix tape for a road trip who would be on it? Name two people.
GK: One has to be Neil Young, I really really love his album ‘Harvest’. When I was 24 I played it on repeat, he is such an amazing songwriter and his voice is so peculiar, he’s just awesome! The other one…it’s not really a road trip singer but I’d have to say Nina Simone, I listened to ‘Sinnerman’ on repeat for so long, it’s so epic and crazy.
Dupe: So you’ve got the show coming up, and then what’s next? Anything in London?
GK: Well, we want to have the upcoming show again in London, but it just seems impossible, we’re all based here but opportunities are very low. I realised that if you don’t have a gallery or anyone who wants to show your work then you have to invent this gallery and curate it, and this involves a lot of meeting people and earning their trust, so we’re in the process of earning people’s trust and showing them this project is really worth their time.
DUPE speaks to artist duo Keeler&Tornero about inspiration and collaboration
Could you explain how you operate as a collaborative duo?
We’ve known each other for nearly twenty years and have been working together on and off for about ten, so we know how each of us operates and generally we’re interested in the same things. Collaboration requires a level of mutual understanding and this develops the more you work together.
Everything we do comes from the input of both artists, we work on the same piece, sometimes at the same time. It’s a process of give and take and if we don’t agree, we have to negotiate until both are happy. Sometimes we have to just let things go because we can’t arrive at the same standpoint, but this is ok, there’s never a shortage of ideas.
We’ve found that when collaborating it’s important to suspend personal preconceptions about outcome and in some ways this is the most exciting thing – you’re never sure how something is going to end up. Even if one of us has a strong vision, it’s important let go of this if it appears to be going somewhere else. If you give yourself up to the process, you enter uncharted territory every time but the pay-off is being able to get to a point that you could not have anticipated on your own.
This way of working can be daunting because it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, you never know exactly where you’re going, you’re forced to leave your comfort zone but it’s also exhilarating for the same reason. It never seems to get easier and you don’t get used to that feeling of uncertainty. The only thing that possibly changes is that somewhere in your subconscious you know that it’s all going to be ok, it always is. It’s not the easiest way to work but it can be the most satisfying.
Another benefit of working collaboratively is that you have an ever-present support mechanism. When you have a problem, you can talk about it, if you’re stuck you can get guidance and if you’re uninspired you can get a pep-talk. We tend to balance each other out in terms of skills and motivation and usually what one of us doesn’t like doing or isn’t good at, the other takes over.
We tend to work in intensive blocks, fully immersing ourselves in the process that we have chosen to follow at any given time. We usually have several pieces on the go at any one time so we can put things in rotation, wait for things to dry, talk about the next step for each one and there’s always a definite dialogue about where each thing should be going.
Are you inspired by other dynamic duos, artistic or otherwise?
We’re interested but not necessarily inspired by anyone who collaborates, the Chapman brothers, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Ren and Stimpy, Laurel and Hardy etc, etc… In fact it’s been pointed out on numerous occasions that we resemble L and H when we’re in the studio.
We’ve always loved Gilbert and George and the main reason for that, apart from the obvious, is that they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. We’re especially fond of their ‘Singing sculpture’ from 1970 in which they sing ‘Underneath the arches’ for hours on end.
How do you organise yourself between your personal practice and your commissioned works, how does one influence the others?
Working on commissioned art outside of our usual practice helps expand horizons in terms of what’s physically possible. We do a lot of stuff which involves working large and fast and that requires that you wear a different head to the one you’re used to, and in this way you tend to see the whole thing from a different perspective. There’s always a cross-hatching going on, personal work being inspired by outside commissions and vice versa. Sometimes personal work is put on hold when commissions come up because of time scale issues and this is when self-discipline becomes important to get back into the personal work. This is why we always end up working intensely in the weeks before work goes up on a gallery wall.
What is the inspiration behind your surreal and somewhat grotesque imagery/narrative?
We get inspiration from all over the place and are constantly collating and adding to our library of digital and found images.
It’s interesting you say grotesque because when most people see something in this way, we often see it as beautiful. We love old horror movies in which the horror is pretty funny and we’re obsessed with anatomy, so I guess if you mix the two you might get what could be considered grotesque but at the same time there’s always an element of humour. It’s all about juxtaposition for us and that’s where the surrealism in our work comes from. Our inner compass seems to drive us towards humour and the absurd. When you contrast absurd elements, things that are unexpected, you enter the world of surrealism. That’s not to say that these juxtapositions are arrived at just so we can have a good old laugh but rather that we are processing or filtering imagery through our already established mode of operation. All this imagery fits into a larger scheme, as if all the characters and scenarios belong in a vast soap opera.
Where do you source the found imagery you work with?
From our extensive library of books and magazines procured over the years from car-boot sales and charity shops, plus people are always giving us stuff.
What’s next for KEELERTORNERO? What are your future projects and works? Any road trips?
This year is already filling up with solo and group shows in London and across the country, a theatre project, a big mural, illustrations for magazines, poster design and set-painting plus we are getting into film this year.
If we do a road trip it will be on bikes. In fact that’s what the film for DUPE TV will be, a documentary about our bicycle road trip to the bits of London that we don’t know about yet….