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. 

 

Alastair: …That was at the first meeting. I had an image of a component for an iMac computer. It was on ebay. It’s part of a process where I’m asking ebay sellers for high res images that I like.

Alastair: Originally we were talking about having an assemblage of things in this corner. Then we were having a Skype chat and I couldn’t get these things to sit together so I suggested that we worked with these as individual objects and you were happy with that.

Alastair: …This piece is called “Phil” and that is the name of the painter/decorator who gave me the dust sheet. It’s accumulated different colours and paints – so black, blue, white, but also footprints and dirt. So it’s quite grimy in a way. If you didn’t know what it was you might think it was an abstract painting.

Alastair: …And this is a cushion cover from a rubbish dump in Gdańsk…It’s been around in my studio for months. I’ve been experimenting with ways of bringing it in to groupings of objects and you guys just liked it.

Rowan: I really really like that one. I thought it would go really well with the canvas. To have a block colour next to it. And the size difference I thought would work. I thought if we could have each of the elements in a space where from one point in the room we could see all three pieces, that could work quite well…. with the different sizes, colours, and objects.

Luke: I like that they’re all completely different.

Rowan: They’re all completely different but they work well together.

Alastair: My one worry at the beginning was that it would be difficult to come to a place where we were all happy. But I think we’ve done that reasonably successfully. the other thing that’s been good is that when I’ve sent stuff through you’ve been honest and open about what you like.

 

Luke: Art has not been our background at all. I had no real concept of art and feel like a real novice. Musically I’ve done stuff and that’s what I understand.

Rowan: I’ve always been interested in art. But between us going to an art gallery or going to a gig, we’ve always gone to gigs.

Luke: I did have a preconception about artists. I thought it was “I’ll do it my way” and (from TV and media) perhaps a snootiness and closed off approach. I can say that’s not my view now. So you’ve changed that. 

Rowan: …You’re a normal guy Alastair. You’re not any different to us. You haven’t pushed anything overly hard and you’ve taken what we wanted onboard.

Alastair: I often read the comments section after articles and reviews in the guardian and I’m always amazed by the bitterness that so many people have for contemporary art and artists. That people say things like “artists are trying to pull the wool over peoples eyes and fool people or con people.” …. There’s a lot of suspicion around art with the general public. There’s no reason why there shouldn’t be, but you guys have been really open.

Rowan: I was interested in the process it would take to create something and tried to keep a bit of an open mind about it. I hoped that it would be collaborative and that we would be bounce ideas off each other, but then I don’t really know anything about art so I wasn’t sure how much I could input.

Luke: We’ve always just gone and bought (to sound really crass with it) the generic thing from homebase or the mass line stuff which probably 50 million people have all got in their homes. And then when we thought we’re buying a house we could go and do all that again but why? And that’s why we hadn’t rushed into anything. This seemed like a great chance to have something different. 

Luke: I never would have imagined working with an artist or how you would do it. Unless you have a lot of money. But where do you go to find an artist? It’s not like you can open the yellow pages or anything?

Luke: Now we’ve got some things up it does make me feel like something’s missing. I didn’t expect to feel like that. I personally (and you’ll be shocked at this) would now like to go and see more contemporary art because I never have done. My experience has been the national gallery but nothing really contemporary. I’d be open to trying some different things…. But maybe I’m just a older now!

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