Posts Categorised: Interviews

Interview with Kim Parker and Clarke & Clarke

KimParker

I’m very lucky, to have recently do na interview with award winning lifestyle designer, Kim Parker, who is collaborating with Clarke & Clarke on a stunning, colourful range of wallpapers and fabrics which will be launching at Decorex – and couldn’t wait any longer to show you a preview of their beautiful floral designs …

ART BOOK 1-800x800

What is your background? How did you become an artist ?

I grew up in a home surrounded by great music, art, ballet, and a love for Nature. My family are all serious classical musicians. By the time I was two years old my parents were already saving my drawings of clowns and flowers and putting them together in a book. It was evident early on that color was a driving force for me.  I used to dig my crayons deeply into the paper to get the maximum richness of color out of them. Having come from a musical family I started studying the flute by the time I was eight years old. I pursued my life as a classical concert flutist -graduating with a degree in Flute Performance from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. I had many rich experiences as a classical musician, playing publicly in masterclasses with Jean Pierre Rampal by the time I was thirteen, and spending memorable summers playing in an orchestra at Tanglewood where I had the great privilege of working closely with Leonard Bernstein, who happened to be my musical hero. My life seemed destined for a career in music. But in between concerts and practicing, I was usually painting quietly. I would just sit for hours at my desk reeling out designs in exuberant colors. It came so naturally to me. I had absolutely no idea throughout my childhood and even after college, that I could make a living as a textile designer. I didn’t even know there was an actual “field” for this! It was not part of the dialogue in our home.

It was not until my late twenties that I started to pursue a career in textile design. It was hard to cross this emotional bridge and leave my early career as an accomplished musician behind, but taking auditions for orchestral positions and living out of a suitcase somehow didn’t resonate for me altogether. I was literally starting over in a whole new creative path. My story was chronicled in my first art and design book, “Kim Parker Home: A Life in Design.” (Abrams) Entering into the design industry with just a small book of hand painted textile prints each no larger than the palm of my hand, in retrospect, took courage. I worked in the fashion industry painting in numerous design studios for a period, then moved on to start my own print design company, “Kim Parker Designs” where I sold my hand painted prints on silk and paper to hundreds of fashion companies such as: DKNY, Jill Stuart, Gap, Anna Sui, to Anthropologie. After seeing the success my designs were having when appearing in other people’s collections, my husband Felipe ( and business partner ) felt we should move in the direction of creating a brand.

I think “becoming an artist” is a lifelong process, something that hopefully continues to evolve and grow. I know that my earlier career as a classical musician really provided me with a very strong and unique foundation for my life in design. I was not coming from an “academic” art background. I didn’t graduate with a degree from FIT or Parsons. My life in design was something that was developing organically. Every step of the way there were challenges and I held tightly I guess to my own style and voice, which was very unschooled. I think I preferred a career in design to one in music because I simply had more creative freedom of expression. With all the beautiful music living inside of me though, I was able to express these harmonies and rhythms by freely composing gardens. I was exploring my own idiom; incorporating a rich sonic vocabulary with pigment in a tapestry of flowers and leaves. This freedom and passion never gets old to me. It’s a form of story telling.

ART BOOK 9-800x800

How did your collaboration come about with Clarke & Clarke ?

My agent showed me a Clarke & Clarke ad in one of the industry design magazines with some beautiful fabrics and wallpapers. We both agreed that it felt like a good potential licensing partner to pursue. When we met Emma and Lee Clarke for the first time here in New York in our showroom, we spent seven hours carefully going through a massive archive of my hand painted silk, linen and paper designs together. Those seven hours felt like two hours. The mutual enthusiasm and decisions as to which designs would become our first collection was a magical exchange. It’s really important to work with a company that supports and understands your vision artistically. It was Creative Director Emma Clarke’s idea to create the “Artbook” instead of the usual mix and match types of fabric and wallpaper books you so often find in decorator showrooms. She really understood what had gone into each and every “child” I had painted, seeing their souls so to speak. Lee and Emma appreciated their exuberant colors and energies. After careful selection and deliberation, we all agreed on the vision for the “Artbook” collection.

ART BOOK 13-800x800

Who and what inspired your designs for the collaboration ? 

Each design in this collection was actually created at different times in my life. I will say though that the cover child, “Rosina” was painted while listening to the music of Argentine composer Astor Piazzola. I love his music and feel the flowers are dancing tango. “Martine” was originally painted on French linen many years ago. It was one of my favorite designs that I felt would one day have her platform. Other designs such as “Ariadne’s Dream” were wilder explorations on paper with gouache, created at a time when I was literally living in my box of paints. It’s pure fantasy. I love them all, to be honest. I feel like a mother who has all of these kids who have grown up to be true to themselves, and for that, I am proud. None conform to an industry standard, and all, I can assure you, were painted from the heart.

floral print fabric colours

I love the names you have chosen for the collections. Are they names after people you know?

Naming my work is actually one of the great pleasures and liberties I have as a designer. Some of the names have very personal connections, while others just explore the sensual nature of language. I decided to give them mostly girl names because obviously flowers are usually associated with the feminine. ( but I love when men wear flowers! ) I am a fan of Greek mythology, so there are a few names that incorporate mythological characters. “Penelope’s Muse“– one of my favorite designs in the collection was named after Penelope, Odysseus’ wife. She was the Queen of Ithaca who was waiting for twenty years for husband to return from the Trojan War . I chose her name because she is a symbol of “patience” and “fidelity.”

“Ariadne’s Dream” was named after another mythological character, Ariadne, whom I have been intrigued by as well. She was brilliant and an innovator. She knew how to assist Theseus in safely returning from his dangerous mission by using a thread to guide him back from the labyrinth. When I painted this design I think I was in my own kind of labyrinth.

“Martine” and “Rosina” hold a very special and personal place in my heart. “Tatiana” my little gypsy dancer, came from my love for Russian and Ukranian embroideries, my Eastern European heritage I guess. Designs like Giselle and Isabelle’s Garden were named simply because I love those names, and “Caitlin” was always a favorite Irish name. She is my bitonal toile child who likes showing off her versatility by being offered in a number of color combinations.

Blue Room fabric colours

Have you been involved with Decorex before? 

I have not been involved with Decorex before. I have heard about its impact on the design world and what a truly, highly unique platform it is for introducing new and innovative collections.

floral fabric

Do you have favourite colours that you like to work with ?

I tend to work a lot with warm and exuberant colors such as pinks, saturated oranges, and apple greens. I love all colors of course. I have lately been drawn to plum and pink. Colours have different “frequencies.” As a musician, I see the correlation between certain tonalities and their corresponding colors. Certain colours I guess just leap out at you with energy, while others play a more subdued role. I personally love colours that celebrate life! I am a huge fan of orange, and most shades of pink. Pink is the colour of love. Who wouldn’t want that in their home?! Our living room is mainly orange and pink.

The Kim Parker Artbook for Clarke & Clarke featuring Isabella's Garden design

Can you tell us about your design process from drawings to the finished product ? 

I love this question. There is no drawing process for me. I have never ever sat down and pre-planned a single design. I just dip my brushes and go. The creative process for me is a very free and organic one, which keeps the whole approach fresh. I really don’t like designs that are fixed looking and too thought-out. They kind of lack energy to me. I hope my designs reflect a more human approach since they’re all painted by hand, and none have been mapped out in advance. Designing is a very personal space where no one can follow. My heart is my compass. The influences are innumerable. It could be a piece of music that transports you to another place, or simply a bird out the window singing its heart out.

Just the other day this lovely Mexican flower vendor in our neighborhood stopped me on the street and asked me where I got my embroidered blouse. It was from Mexico, and we started talking about his city, and the women I reminded him of apparently. Before I knew it I was showing him floral textile designs I had painted on my iPhone and he told me I reminded him of Frida Kahlo. Moments later he kindly handed me a beautiful orange Gerber Daisy from his stand, and said, “This is for you.” I took it home and put it in water. Hours later I painted one of my finest watercolors. This is just an example of where inspiration can be drawn from and where the creative process originates. My designs find their way onto the various product surfaces after they have been created. Not every design can become a rug, or paper a room. I have seen how certain designs of mine lend themselves to certain surfaces better than others.  But it’s wonderful to be surprised too; to see one of your kids sized up and dancing on the wall or floor, one you thought for sure would not translate, or to pull one from an archive and bring new life to it on a bedspread or dinner plate. From start to finish the process remains organic, thankfully.

colourful headboard red orange floral

Enjoy Decorex ! 

Thank you ! We are very excited about our new designer collaboration with Clarke & Clarke. They are an amazing team with so much integrity and hope to continue growing the program. We are thrilled to be working with such an extraordinary company.

Thanks very much to Kim. Really inspiring !

I hope you have enjoyed the interview ? What do you think of the designs ? 

Leave me a comment under this post or tweet me @lucylovesyablog ..

Lucy x

All images are copyright of Clarke & Clarke and Kim Parker 2015.

 

A Welcome Back To My Design Room

My Sewing Room

A welcome back to my design room.

With those colour palettes I shared last week, I mentioned that I am going to be doing some DIY soon. I was sat at my craft table yesterday putting some colours together and realised I haven’t posted any pictures of my sewing room for ages – and especially my new fabulous chairs.

Hag Capisco Puls

I’m over the moon with this CAPISCO PULS chair. It’s made by HAG and Peter Opsvik the designer used inspiration from a horses saddle for the sitting position. His goal was for increased movement in the seat. It has been 30 years in the making from patent to fruition.

Hag Capisco Puls 3

It’s perfect for this room, because I can swivel the seat around so that I sit with my back against the rest or lean forward on to it. It also moves up and down, so I can sit at my sewing machine and then wheel over to the craft table and add the extra height I need. It is really comfortable, practical and well made and encourages sitting upright. We all fight over it, to be honest !

Noor -1 copy

Did I mention that I love bright colours ? Much ? This chair is just about as pillar box RED as you can get. A Scandinavian style by RBM designed by a collaborative of three designers – StokkeAusted, Form Us With Love and Susanne Gronland. It has a great shape and it feels flexible – so excellent for long hours at the computer. The focus on low impact materials is appealing –  plus it can be recycled, gives sound mind too.

You can choose the colour, material and model – and there a few different styles to choose from. Even the legs can be selected which is great if you already have a certain colour scheme. There is an option for having them upholstered too.

Moodboard

They’ve been very useful so far for long hours at the design tables – and for fun times playing with swatches and tester pots. I’ve collected a few colours and other hues in various forms that I have in mind for the living room, to make up a mood board. It is still work in progress but the new look will be on its way soon. I will be making new blinds and curtains – and doing a spot of painting. There might also be some new additions when it comes to furniture.  So keep a look out !

Hope you like my new chairs and my design room ( if you haven’t seen it before ) .. I would love to hear from you, whether it’s about my room or to tell me about your favourite room in your home. Leave a comment or tweet me @lucylovesyablog ..

Have a fab day.

Lucy x

I was sent these chairs to review. No other payment has been received. All opinions are my own.

Oh.. and please do vote for in the Amara IBAs .. there’s still time and you might win a trip for 2 to Italy ! Just click on the badge on the top right hand side of my blog. Thank you xx

Interiview – with Artist Horace Panter

Today, my interview is with Artist Horace Panter – who you may well also know as Sir Horace Gentleman, founder and bass player with Iconic Ska band The Specials.

Horace already had a Fine Art degree under his belt when he joined The band in 1977 and so it was just a matter of music, tours and an interesting teaching role, before he would produce his own icon inspired artwork. The first public exhibition of many took place in November 2011 with great response and there are plenty more to come.

News of a 2013 tour with The Specials is out, so all in all, next year is sounding good too.

I could’ve asked many questions to someone with such an interesting and varied life to date – but I managed to narrow them down and hope you enjoy …

You studied art before even joining the Specials – you had your first exhibition at the Strand in London only last year – what has the reaction to your work been so far ?

I think it has surprised people. There have been a lot of positive responses and Iʼve been taken a lot more seriously than I was expecting, you know, the ʻsemi – retired rock star with too much time on his handsʼ reaction, but itʼs been more like ʻwow, this guy can actually paint !ʼ

Do you think it’s important to study your craft at college or university, be it fine art or whatever you choose in life ?
If youʼre going to be a doctor or an architect, then yes ! I suppose it depends on what sort of artist/musician you would like to be. Francis Bacon, for example, never went to art school. It has helped me, I know that, by giving me a credibility I would not otherwise have had. Also, a grounding in Modern Art History has helped but you donʼt need to go to university to study that.

Has working as a musician developed you as an artist – and vice versa ?

Only in as much as it has enabled me to travel and visit art galleries and find inspiration from around the world. No, thatʼs not all, if I wasnʼt a professional musician with lots of ʻdown timeʼ I wouldnʼt have the excess of free time to paint. When Iʼm rehearsing in the studio or doing a gig, I have to fit into a team and concentrate on what works best for the group; when Iʼm painting, Iʼm solo, making all the decisions.

When you are painting do you like to surround yourself with solitude or paintings and music ?

Preparing boards and preliminary stuff I can listen to music, but I canʼt multitask very well; I could never do my homework in front of the TV so, when Iʼm painting, I like solitude.

Did you design The Specials logo ?

Not entirely. Jerry did the two-tone man and I did the 2 -Tone Records bit.

You were Head of Art at a school for autistic children for ten years – how did this come about and did any of the students work inspire you ?

I went into the special needs school as support for one specific pupil. As he settled back into the school, I was ʻabsorbedʼ into the staff and once it was discovered that I had an art degree  (the art teacher was really a PE teacher who took the job because no-one else wanted it … yes, school is like that! ), I was offered the job so a bit ʻunder the radarʼ really. It was a fantastic experience, especially dealing with children on the autistic spectrum. It made me change the way I viewed art – to make it more immediate.

Who and what are your biggest influences ? Is this ever evolving ?

Musically, most stuff on Tamla/Motown and Stax/Atlantic, Chicago Blues and Dub Reggae. Artwise, the list is longer – Henri Rousseau, (Sir) Peter Blake, Wayne Thiebaud, Mark Rothko, Kenneth Noland, Robyn Denny, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein, James Rosenquist – mainly American 1960s artists, but they, the 60sʼ, were my formative years. Lately, I think Iʼm like the Borg out of Star Trek inasmuch as I accumulate everything and it becomes a source for work. I like the phrase ʻappropriation and subversionʼ!!

As a bass player and teacher you are in a supporting role – how does it feel to be the front man ?

The art career is my ʻsolo albumʼ. It is a different kind of creativity.

Are there certain galleries that you look forward to visiting when you’re on tour ?

Oh yes ! There is a probability we will be in New York towards the end of summer. I have never been to the new MOMART. The year before last, we were in Europe and the Ludwig Museum in Cologne was fantastic, as was The Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.

Is you work influenced by pop art ?  What do you love about it ?
To my way of thinking, Pop Art was to Art History what Punk Rock was to Rock and Roll. You had Abstract Expressionism, which was very elitist and metaphysical ( I love Rothko by the way ) and then along comes a guy with a soup can ! My work is heavily influences by traditional iconography and the word ʻmundaneʼ is used a lot in iconography as it is in Pop Art. ʻElevating the Mundaneʼ is one of the tropes of Pop Art and a lot of my work looks like Pop Art. Peter Blakeʼs technique and his use of colour are also big influences.

I love your cassette paintings, they really remind me of my treasured mix tapes  – if you were making up your ultimate mix tape of 30 minutes / 10 songs.. what would they be and why ?

1. Road Runner, Junior Walker and the All Stars

2. All Down the Line, Rolling Stones ( off Exile on Main Street ) !

3. Too Much Alcohol, J.B. Hutto and the Hawks

4. A Little Bit of Love, Free

5. Outta Space, Billy Preston

6. Dub Tree, Joe Gibbs ( from African Dub Chapter 3 )

7. Trampolene, The Spencer Davies Group ( worldʼs greatest B-Side )

8. PCH, ZZ Top ( great driving music )

9. China Girl, David Bowie ( with Stevie Ray Vaughan channelling Albert King )

10. Pour Me One More Drink, Robert Ward ( the Blues – for real )

What inspired you to write your book  – Ska’d for life ?

I had these two diaries from our US and Japanese tours and my parents had collected 11 scrap books full of Specials and Two-Tone related press. I was always the one that people were being directed to: ʻAsk Horace, he remembers stuff like thatʼ. There had been a couple of ʻfan-relatedʼ attempts at writing about the band but I thought they were far from accurate and no-one in the band had done it … so I did. Also, I twisted my ankle during the summer holidays and had fuck all else to do !!

Could you offer some words of advice for any aspiring artists and musicians reading this on how to fulfill their dreams ?

Self belief and persistence. Oh, and a good manager. Thatʼs A GOOD MANAGER!!

Do you have any exhibitions coming up ? .. and will The Specials be touring next year ? I will look forward to both..

By the time you publish this, The Specials May 2013 UK Tour Dates will have been announced. In 2012 I had 14 exhibitions – great fun but too much! In 2013 I am discussing exhibition dates in Liverpool and Glasgow in the early months and have one pencilled in for Number 9 Gallery in Birmingham for the summer. As soon as I have confirmation of any exhibitions the dates are published on Twitter and Facebook and also in the ʻHoracePanterArtʼ quarterly newsletter … all the logistics are handled by Clare, the woman I love !

A massive thanks to Horace ( and Clare ! ) …it is an honour to interview someone whom I have grown up listening to and loving their music, and now am very inspired by Horace’s artwork too.

You can see more of Horace’s work on his website – www.horacepanterart.com Follow him on Twitter @horacepanterart and you can become a fan facebook for info on upcoming exhibitions and shows.

All images copyright Horace Panter 2012.

Leave me a comment here to say hi or tweet me – @lucylovesyablog I’d love to hear from you :)

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INSPIRE ME – with Tatty Devine

Rosie_Harriet_TattyDevieToday is a good day. A really good day and I’m a little bit excited… because I am sharing my recent interview with the creators of a brand that I LOVE more than all the tea in China…

Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine have made a big name for themselves over the last thirteen years as Co Founders and designers of cult jewellery brand Tatty Devine, creating the most unique, fun and clever pieces made from often from perspex, but also wood, veneer, leather and enamel.

Their designs are featured around the clock in magazines such as Vogue, Grazia, Elle, Cosmopolitan… and stand firm as one of United Kingdoms most original and exciting brands.

As it’s coming up to Christmas, I thought I might also mention their fab  “How to make jewellery with Tatty Devine” book – a really good idea for any crafty, jewellery loving people in your life. It’s 125 pages of creative inspiration and shows you how to transform any object into a new accessory and, what you will need to get started. At £12.99 I think it’s a very good price ! It’s on my list ! You will also find on their website that they sell stitching patterns and run jewellery making workshops too.

When you met at College, did you hit it off straight away ?

At Chelsea the year was split into 4 groups over 2 floors, Harriet and I were in different groups on different floors, so it look a while for us to become friends. In the second year the roof fell in on where I was living, I’d heard that Harriet had a spare room so I rang her up. Once I’d moved in we hit it of straight away.

 

 

 

 

 

You opened your first boutique on Brick Lane, thirteen years ago – did you know even then how loved and popular your brand would become ?

We had no idea ! We were just having so much fun and our criteria was to have a good time, make original things ( we just didn’t want to look like everyone else ) and not get ‘proper jobs’. We’ve stuck to all these things, although it could be argued that we now have proper jobs !

I can spot a ‘Tatty Devine’ piece a mile off.. what would you say makes your jewellery so unique and distinctive ?

I think its a few things, the first being that our techniques are unique to us as we have created and developed them, that we never want to go for the obvious – so I think there is always an unusualness to our jewellery and we like to think our jewellery is of the highest quality – which makes it stand out.

Do you have a current best seller ?

Other than the perennial name necklace we have been selling out of fox brooches and the Arrgh Necklace has been doing very well.


You have collaborated with lots of creative people so far, who would you love to work with next ? 

We’d love to work with Grayson Perry.

 

Where do you get your inspiration for new designs and how far ahead do you work on new seasonal pieces ?

We’re currently finishing off AW13, so for the non seasonal collections we tend to work3-6 months ahead.

Are you music fans ? If so, what do you like to listen to when designing ?

We love music, it’s always been central to what we do. When we’re designing we listen to whatever we are currently into, although there are always old favourites like Belle and Sebastian, Electrelane or ESG.

As well as making your products, you also run jewellery making workshops and sell a “How to make jewellery” book – what inspired this ?

We’ve always done events to celebrate Tatty Devine and get involved with the customer. Our customers just love anything experiential and at heart we are all about DIY so we thought it would be fantastic to do a book with making ideas and to support this with workshops to give people the chance to make some of the pieces with the Tatty team.

With your jewellery stocking in over 300 stores worldwide as well as your own, how do you make it all happen ?

We’ve got a team of 30 people that make it all happen. Harriet and I design and oversee everything, but then we have people making, packing, doing the admin, working in the shop and workshops, doing the press and marketing, the accounts, the customer care and someone to look after our wholesale customers and attend trade shows.

What do you love most about  being designers and having your own business ?

The freedom to do what we want to do and the joy of making people happy with our jewellery.

 

What are your career highlights to date ?

Opening our shop in Covent Garden, the pop up in Selfridges and working with people like Rob Ryan, Gilbert and George and Tate.

 

Can you offer advice to anyone reading this who has a unique brand idea but doesn’t know where to start ?

Start small, let it develop organically and put all your energy and enthusiasm into it. Most importantly have faith in your idea and in yourself.

What can we expect next from Tatty Devine? Personally, I can’t wait…. :)

So much, 2013 is going to be a very exciting year.

Highly inspirational stuff and thanks so much to them both for taking the time out for a little chat. Here’s hoping for a Grayson Perry collaboration soon !

Do you have a favourite Tatty Devine design ? Please do leave me a comment below and spill the beans… ? :)

Follow Tatty Devine on Twitter, Become a fan on Facebook and you can see an abundance of cool jewellery, learn more about their workshops.. oh, and check out the brill book on their website.

All images copyright Tatty Devine 2012.

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Interview: Coldplay’s Artist in Residence Paris – on their Mylo Xyloto World Tour

coldplay milo Xyloto tour

This week I am sharing my interview with the man who has created all of this  -Paris, Coldplay’s Artist in Residence on their Mylo Xyloto World Tour –  and to find out more about his art inspirations and plans for the future.

A few weeks ago, I talked about my evening at the Coldplay concert at Emirates stadium on the UK leg of the tour.

As my husband is currently working with them on the Mylo Xyloto tour, myself and a few friends went to their show and our first impressions of the huge stage area were all literally “WOW”.

We were completely blown away by the graffiti artwork, the enormity of it all and how totally captivating it was. A massive beautiful work of art !

 

mylo xyloto tour graffiti

milo xylitol tour graffiti

Firstly, Paris, what an amazing gig to get as an artist ! Please tell me how your Mylo Xyloto collaboration with Coldplay came about ? 

I’ve been so lucky to land what I reckon is one of the best jobs in the world !….

The band already had an interest in graffiti , but they wanted to meet a real graffiti artist… I was recommended through a friend of a friend.

I met the band, we had fun spraying in their studio, and before you knew it we were painting the Album cover for Mylo Xyloto and getting jetted around the world to paint all kinds of things for their shows !…

lyle xyloto tour coldplay mylo xyloto tour

mylo xyloto tour coldplay paris

 How does it feel having 50,000 people a night at the Coldplay shows looking at your graffiti work ?

It’s an amazing feeling, I got to see quite a few of the Stadium gigs last month in Europe, and the other week in Manchester was one of the best yet… the whole show, the whole production is incredible ,so just to be a part of that is great…when I think how many people see it in just two days its staggering…and our artwork is hard to miss, it’s all over the stage, instruments, screens & stadium !

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS GRAFFITI

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR GRAFFITI

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR COLDPLAY PARIS GRAFFITI

My husband, Andy, is blown away by your speed on Mylo Xyloto ! You turn Chris Martin’s piano and Will Champion’s drum kit into pieces of art so quickly. Do you pre plan what you are going to create and do you always work at a fast pace ?

I think working fast keeps you on your toes, and it gives your artwork an added vitality.

This is what first attracted me to graffiti as a kid, when it’s done well it has a lot of visual power.., and a lot of this comes from painting at night, the thrill and the energy comes through in the work.

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS GRAFFITI

For the Coldplay artwork I’m creating a look that is playful and loose, and this can be a lot harder to create in a studio than it looks…one way of getting the right effect is to do it fast, get loads of paint & pens and just go at it !

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS COLDPLAY MYLO XYLTO TOUR COLDPLAY ARTWORK MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS COLDPLAY

At what age did you start graffiti-ing and what inspired you ?

I was about 7 or 8 when I first saw graffiti, in about 1981, at that time it was just Punk graffiti, stuff like the Anarchy symbol & “The Jam” & “Sis loves Saz” written on walls near my house, even then I remember it fascinated me, to think who did this ? and when did they do it ?..

By about 1984 there was a lot more breakdance style graffiti around Hull, and this was more colourful, that stuff I loved.

In the middle of a housing estate you’d see “Egyptian Lover” in 6ft high letters in reds, oranges yellows blues & greens…I’d see this from the school bus every day….I just thought “I want to try that” it looked like so much fun.

Did you study to be an artist at college?

Yeah, I had a really good tutor at Hull College called Connie Littlefield, she taught a whole bunch of us Hull kids about the Great Masters & the great art movements..The Cubists, The Impressionists,  Art Deco.. all that.. and took us to London & Paris ( this is where I chose the name….in 1992 )..she really opened my mind to what was out there, really really inspired me…, after that I studied in Bolton for 2 years, then in Bristol for 2 more specialising in Printed Textiles for Fashion.

This was definitely the best course for me, so much looser than Graphics, and Fine Art was a bit too snooty…

I came out with a First Class honours so that was okay, but I had to build my business myself, and that took years !

PARIS ARTWORK GRAFFITI COLDPLAY PARIS COLDPLAY ARTIST

 

COLDPLAY ARTWORK MYLO XYLOTO

Where did you used to do your graffiti art and do you know if any of it has survived the test of time ?… 

I used to live near a big park as a kid and like everywhere in Hull back then there where a lot of abandoned buildings.

MYLO XYLOTO TOUR PARIS ARTWORK

There was an old boat house that we called the “Acid Hut” and this is where I did some of my early pieces with my mate Xenz and later we teamed up with an older lad called Eko. We painted an old swimming pool in the park too, the Lido, and the basket ball courts, it was good fun in there, not bothering anyone, and if you painted when Home & Away and Neighbours where on it was so quiet you had the place to your self and all the time in the world to spray. Sometimes the Park-keepers would chase us off but it was all good fun.

Most of those places have been re-developed or knocked down now, the handball court is still there but that gets re-painted every month or so…..it’s a legal graffiti wall now…haha.

I guess its the nature of graffiti to be temporal, even if it survives the test of time the weather will one day wash it away, there might be few bits & pieces around, maybe in someone’s back garden!

PARIS ARTIST GRAFFITI COLDPLAY

Your girlfriend, Milk, is also an artist, do you ever collaborate ?

Yes, Milk has helped me out a lot with some of the bigger Coldplay jobs, and we often get the chance to paint together at Festivals and on walls around the city. We met through painting, and our styles compliment each other well, I think it’s a match made in heaven ! X.

COLDPAY GRAFFITI

I’ve discovered French street artist Koralie and Swoon, from the States.. Are there alot of female graffiti artists in the UK ? 

I think there are a lot more female graffiti artists in general these days, though even in the beginning in 1970s New York there was Barbara 62 & Eva 62 and in the 80’s there was Lady Pink who still paints now.

I think it can be daunting for girls who want to paint, as graffiti can be a bit of a boys club, but the female influence is vital, I think it really freshens it all up. That’s how I met Milk, I saw her work and it was a hundred times more original than most blokes graffiti out there, with really beautiful colour combinations too.

Milk’s done a few pieces with my sister K184, and they also did a show called “Great Birds of the British Isles” with Amour and Dora who are also female artists.

How do you get art inspiration nowadays ? 

Even if it’s just on the walk to my studio I’ve started noticing all these amazing marks on old walls and doors, and the effects corrosion can have on buildings. I find I’m looking at all of this around me with new eyes, I guess it’s just looking properly…, its always been there.

The Hockney show in April had a pretty profound effect on me..that was very inspiring, just the scale alone, it helped me see “the bigger picture”… a true master, and Jeremy Dellers recent show was also a real eye opener.

I find travel is one of the greatest sources of inspiration, wherever me & Milk go we’re always searching for the ‘down at heel’ bits of a city with Dusty shop fronts and old cafes.

We went all over Europe in 2010 and when we got back we just had hundreds of photos of old logos, shop fronts and bits of fabric !

COLDPLAY GRAFFITI ARTWORK

 Are there anyother artist/band that you would really love to work with ?

I’d have loved to work with the Beastie Boys, as I admire everything they’ve ever done….

Jay Z would be cool to do something for, or I’d like to create something for a Detroit Label, I love that futuristic sound.

It would be pretty cool to create artwork for a sci-fi film …maybe just decor or graphics.

COLDPLAY GRAFFITI COLDPLAY GRAFFITI

Your website showcases your paintings for sale – is this something you’re focusing on more now .. and what is happening for you in the near future ?

Yeah, now I’ve got a lot more time in the studio it’s really helped my painting to flourish.

This is something I really want to push, hopefully I can exhibit in London & further afield.

I find painting on canvas pretty scary, but you’ve just got to persist at it.  Doing a wall anywhere, in front of hundreds of people is nothing to me, but I really feel the pressure with a canvas. One way to get over this is not be too precise about it. I’ve got a big wall behind my studio and I nail a load of canvass to this and then just go off!, have fun then work back into each painting individually over time. The work’s selling really well and the prices are rising so hopefully this is something I can keep doing for years to come.

The Coldplay Mylo Xyloto work has made all of this possible, and a lot of my new paintings have been inspired by this collaboration.

COLDPLAY GRAFFITI

Do you have any advice for an aspiring artist ?

Keep doing what you LOVE doing, theres a lot of distractions out there, but if you feel that art & creativity is your chosen path you’ve got to grab hold of it with both hands, Hockney’s work showed me that , he’s 70+ and all he’s been doing all his life is painting & drawing and being creative..and his work shows it, and its all totally possible, you’ve just got to believe in it, no-one will make it happen – but you.

Thanks so much to Paris, for giving me this interview about Mylo Xyloto and us all an insight into his life as an artist and inspirations. Really interesting, eh ?

If you would like to find out more about Paris’s art work for sale, head on over to his instagram page.

If you’d like some more art inspiration then heads on over to my Pinterest page.

All images are copyright of Paris 2012.

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