SWIMMER: SCREENSAVER AS SOFTWARE ART
SCR makes the lowly screensaver interactive
ENERGY AND DELIGHT OF YOUTH
VNA 14 LAUNCH
The Brainer columnists unleash their new issue on Thursday
A: THE PRIVATE VIEW
Two Agents of Change, a whole lot of booze and some incredible artwork!
Steve More and Remi/Rough ‘A’: Future Perspectives
Dran… Is Sick.
TWO SOUPS AND A HONEYBUN
The Earnest Endeavours crew are back with their second London party in conjunction with Hit+Run
Terence Teh (Earnest Endeavours/Protein)
Where did you grow up and where do you now live?
I grew up in North London where I still find myself despite short-lived moves to South London and Brighton.
Tell us about your creative background.
I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pen. I tried ‘studying’ art at university but the whole process felt forced and my growing interest in graffiti just kind of took over everything at that point. So, I left with the intention of trying to become an illustrator on my own… Something I accomplished with varying degrees of success; managing to self-publish my own comic and land the odd commission from corporate identities wanting to deem themselves as edgy and cool. Ultimately I realised I was really into art for art’s sake, work with no real motive or commercial intention but stuff that I found self satisfying. I think it took me a while to figure out how I could potentially make a living as an artist without having to compromise my integrity.
It’s taken 10 years of trial and error to reach a point where I feel comfortable with my intentions as an artist. Everything I do on the street is for me. That’s still extremely important, as it’s always been the purity of graffiti that’s been the attraction for me. I paint where I’ve been given permission to, as trying to do it any other way wouldn’t really gel well with my laborious way of working.
Luckily, I’ve reached a point where I’m also recognised as a painter outside of the confines of graffiti, and feel like my canvas work is a way that I can still satisfy the illustrator inside me and tell stories and create worlds that, although are still part of the same universe as the stuff I put out on the street, can be shown and distributed through a commercial arena. Even when asked to do illustration work these days, I find myself doing everything with a paintbrush and canvas before turning it into a digital image. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer promoting my work and interacting with people so when it comes down to the creative process, I do my best to stay away from the screen and get back to reality with a more hands on approach.
What drives you creatively, in terms of influences and inspiration?
I’m driven to try and realise my full potential as an artist whatever that may be and to hopefully one day look back proudly on my body of work. In terms of influences and inspiration, I suppose everything in the creative world is shared and borrowed to an extent but graffiti in all its forms has had a huge impact on my life, as has my passion for Japanese culture and pop iconography. I’d say that these are the two main compounds that have aesthetically helped form my style.
Outside of design what other interests do you have?
I watch a lot of movies. I guess I’m into pretty normal stuff outside of work. Hanging with friends, partying etc.
Character design plays a big part in both your illustration and graff work, would you say exploring different ways of capturing the figurative medium has become a bit of an obsession of yours? And how do you come up with such bizarre concepts?
I’ve been drawing ‘figuratively’ since I was a kid, although they’re very much characters based in a world of pop culture. From superheroes as a kid, to Manga-inspired male hero types to the sultry Japanese girls that have appeared in my more recent work. I suppose they’re kind of an amalgamation of different things. The male figures I find are usually angry or appear in the form of a demon – possibly a way of me working through my own anxieties, whilst the female characters are usually a mix of apparent innocence, sexiness and intrigue. Sometimes these paintings have a concept, other times they are simply compositions I find interesting. One thing I try to stay clear of is delivering any obvious explanation for what’s happening in a painting and to try and keep it as dreamlike as possible… I find it far more interesting to let the viewer decide on my intentions.
What’s your proudest mural piece to date and why?
Difficult. Some pieces of work I’m proud of because of the visual outcome, others simply because of the challenges I worked through and things I learnt during the process. A recent production that springs to mind was something I worked on with Lovepusher. Because of the weather that morning we had decided to postpone the planned painting, but then realising this would be logistically the only day we both had free to paint, decided quite late in the day to go for it. We managed to find 2 ladders, get a plan fixed and battle through a colossal rain storm and still managed to tie things up before darkness stopped play. It was a true exercise in teamwork and time pressure.
In recent years people have tried to draw divisions between what is regarded as graffiti and what is classified as street art. What’s your view on the subject and ultimately what does graffiti mean to you personally?
People like to neatly package and label styles, which always frustrates me. I consider myself a graffiti artist – as ultimately it was a passion for graffiti that lead me on to realising my work with spray paint. The guys I started painting with were all from traditional graffiti backgrounds and had no real interest in any form of art outside of graffiti although I always knew that no matter how far I went with graffiti, it’s not what opened my eyes to art in general and was not what I hoped would define me.
I try not to think about which category my work falls under. Street art has definitely helped open the public’s eyes to what’s going on around them due to it being deemed as more accessible than graffiti, and therefore has also hopefully opened a few minds out there when it comes to views on ‘mindless vandalism’. Society certainly still associates spray paint with graffiti, although I think in years to come, it will just be thought of as another artist’s tool.
If you were given free reign to paint over any London establishment what would it be?
Nowhere specific comes to mind. Generally the bigger and more public the better.
Do you have a particular type of music you like to work to?
I like listening to chilled stuff (like Sigur Ros) and film soundtracks whilst working, nothing too evasive.
What would your dream project be?
I’d love to work alongside an animator and get some kind of film made. I feel like I’ve got a lot to express via that medium.
What’s next for Inkfetish?
Who knows. I’m about to start working on my biggest canvas-based painting to date, which should keep me busy for the rest of the month.