Interview: STATIC

It’s the last day of creative duo STATIC’s exhibition at Whisper gallery. Artworks on show mix screen printing and stencilling onto layers of glass, Perspex and aluminium to create ‘floating’ patterned pieces. We caught up with the East-London based artists Tom and Craig…

So how did you two meet?

Tom: We met at sixth form college, and we got to know each other a bit then but it was not until we went to university, I went to Edinburgh and did more of a fine art based course, Craig went to Liverpool and did graphic design. We kept in touch through that but it was after Uni, when neither of us had a job doing anything that we wanted to do, that we decided to meet back in the town we were both from [Scarborough] and set up a little studio there just doing screen printing.

Craig: I went to Liverpool John Moors and did more typography based work but in my last year I started doing some screen printing and worked with a tutor there to produce a small run of a printed newspaper and then after that I came to London, mostly worked in a pub but then also managed to do a bit of freelance work but there was nothing that was going to be consistent so I met Tom at the end of that year, well we’d been speaking all the way through, but then we thought we would set up our own studio and see what happens if we were able to do things ourselves.

Had you done screen-printing before?

Tom: Craig had and my fiancé Ruth has done screen-printing, she did textiles at Edinburgh as well, so she knew a lot of other techniques. I’d never done it but with Ruth and Craig we sort of knew what to do

Craig: When we first started doing it we didn’t have a proper set up we were more buy viagra online south africa sort of doing it by hand, and we were doing smaller editions and things like that. It wasn’t until we moved to London that we got our first screen-printing bed and then started doing bigger editions and also printing for other people.

Tom: We’ve always made everything ourselves and even the frames, you can get aluminium frames but we just make ours out of wood and make them ourselves. At the beginning we did it because obviously we could not afford to buy everything brand new, but we just felt it adds something to it. Even with the recent show we got all the elements for the frame and put them together ourselves so that we control everything all the way through. So it’s quite nice.

Craig: At the beginning we just had two blocks of wood that we registered everything in. And then one held it down whilst the other printed.

How would you describe your work?

Craig: It’s a combination of fine art, urban art and it’s got strong graphic elements that sort of get repeated replayed and mixed in throughout I guess. We’ve always been interested in how we juxtapose different ideas and techniques, so we learn as we go along, so that we make something new from various elements that we might have used in the past, and also things that are more sort of culturally relevant that are happening at the time and that we are influenced by.

Tom: They are not always what they seem as well so even for example with our new show that we’ve got on at the moment, it all lines up from the front so from a distance it could look like a flat image but as you get close to it or move around it, because its on layered glass, you get more of the image and elements that you wouldn’t have seen straight on. It almost evolves as you move around it.

How long does each piece take to make?

Tom: For the show, we’ve been working on it for the last 12 months. But pretty much solidly for the last nine months. So we can’t really break it down to each one but there are about 35 pieces in the show and we’ve been doing it for nearly a year.

So tell us more about the prints?

Tom: For the show we did live screen printing and released a print called Lovely Jubilee:
it’s based on the diamond pattern pieces that we’ve done for the show, which is 60 diamonds with a crown in the middle. We did a gold edition of 25 and that one is sold out.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Tom: It’s everything and anything that we see. With the layered pieces that we’ve done for this show, we kind of evolved an idea that we stumbled upon with an earlier solo show, where we used layered glass. It was only two layers but the elements on the glass didn’t work together, they just made an image but didn’t actually relate to each other. We liked the idea of breaking the image down, using it over the layers, but obviously when you view it from the front it builds it back up again.

Craig: And using the screen printing process as well to kind of show the individual layers and then what’s happening behind them so it’s kind of been influenced by our learning and doing so much and so many different techniques in screen printing and making images.

What artists influence you?

Craig: People like Conor Harrington and Vhils I really like, mostly because of the way they build up layers as well but obviously in a flat piece.

So what’s next for you both?

Tom: We have a solo show that opens in Milan on 22nd of June, then in September we have our second solo show and then in November we have a show in Vegas then three more shows this year.

You work with lots of different materials, anything you’d like to try or experiment with?

Craig: In making this show we’ve also come up with a few other ideas on what we’re doing with layered glass so we’re probably going to experiment more with that and different techniques we’ve thought of that wouldn’t really fit with this body of work but could progress into another body of work or single pieces so we will probably be concentrating on that a bit more.

Words: Nosmot Gbadamosi

Static is exhibiting its latest collection ‘Moments of Clarity’ at Whisper Gallery, 27/28 Eastcastle Street, London, W1W 8DH until 26 May, which involves a variety of live art events. http://www.whisperfineart.co.uk/