Alastair, Luke & Rowan: interview extract

Luke: We knew what we really didn’t want to do. We weren’t interested in any performance thing or us being the focus point. And we didn’t want anything too bold. We wanted something subtle. Something we could live with.

Alastair: The fact that it was a dialogue was really nice. A lot of the work I make is bound up with domestic/industrial materials so it was really interesting to make work for a household. I have sold work to collectors and collections but you never see what happens to the work as everything’s done via a 3rd party. You can’t visualise where the work ends up, and you don’t work with the collector, so normally the situation is very different. 

Luke: You brought down your portfolio, and we spotted some bits out of that. The premise originally of the project was to use more stuff that was in our home. The fact is we’d just moved and had nothing. We had some remnants of stuff that meant nothing to us that had been left by the previous tenants. Obviously you’d also done extensive research including on the football guy…. 

Alastair: Derek Hales…. He was the most famous export of Lower Halstow. I bought a programme for his testimonial match on ebay. My initial thoughts around that were to engineer some kind of situation where all of us met with him.

Luke: That could have been good if either of us were half bothered about football but we had no interest at all. We don’t have a sports link. The power adapter for the iMac was more of a link for us. 

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Alicja, Tracy & Chris: Interview extract

Alicja:  I was attracted by making work for a specific family because as an artist you mostly make work for an imagined audience. You almost project an idea of who will look at the work, yet you don’t really get to meet the audience, you don’t get much feedback, and you don’t get to shape the work in response to it. I’ve been trying to escape this idea of a universal art and its public by creating works or projects that have very specific audiences in mind. Normally commissions like these are for an art gallery or institution. Even if they happen outside of that context they are not really for the people you make the artwork with. This project is different and I like its generosity. It’s exciting but also scary.

Chris: It was scary for us too. I would never have thought that anyone would ever want to entertain to do something like this for us. We chose you but you could have walked in and gone “I can’t work with this family”. But things just seemed to gell. Before you knew it we were sitting here talking about art, life and this that and the other. It was like talking to someone we’d known for a long time. It felt really comfortable. But if we’d seen you in an art gallery we wouldn’t have approached you. We would have assumed that you wouldn’t want to talk to people like us. At the end of the day though you’re a person like everyone else. We’re all the same. It’s just that somewhere along the line someone’s given us labels. And if you get beyond labels you find friends, as we’ve found here.

Alicja: I come from a family of non artists (people that are not professionally doing art) and I think most of artists do. It’s not such a long time ago that I didn’t have much experience of art. So as an artist you’re not that different. You develop a different way of thinking and doing, a language of a sorts, but that doesn’t make you an alien. But there are these stereotypes and they happen in every profession. Actually I don’t think the barrier was that strong in our case, it was more the not knowing….

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Artist Opportunity: 3 x £400 commissions available


We know what we like and we like what we know is an experimental public art project, funded by Ideas Test, involving contemporary artists working with residents in Swale, Kent, to produce bespoke artworks for people’s homes. We are looking to commission 3 artists for the project. Each artist will be paired with a different household and over the course of a month (starting in January 2013) will create a new piece of art for residents’ homes.

Participation in the arts in Swale is low and this project is about putting artists in direct contact with potential audiences (likely to have little or no experience of contemporary art) to encourage an exchange of views resulting in the creation of new work. Reversing the usual dynamics of production and reception We know what we like and we like what we knowis about starting with resident’s interests and ideas on art and seeing how these might align with those of the contemporary artist’s. Perhaps households will want exactly what the selected artist wants to make, but equally there might be disagreement, in which case a process of negotiation and exchange will be necessary. Processes and outcomes will very much depend on the individuals involved and the project is as much about the journey as about the final works that are made.

Finished work will be installed in situ in each of the houses and kept by the householders, (if they so choose). The work and process will be documented and feature in a publication about the project. There may also be additional exhibition opportunities arising from the project in the future.

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