STATIC is the creative output of London based images makers Tom Jackson and Craig Evans. Their unique work combines screen-printing with mixed media techniques to produce images that merge elements from street and fine art. The immensely talented duo kindly took a few minutes to give us some fascinating insight into their lives and work.
How would you describe your work?
A combination of visual samples, found images, elements and objects, blended together in new and unique ways across layers of glass and pieces of paper.
What would you say are the benefits of working as part of an artistic duo?
Nemo solus satis sapit. (No person can be wise enough on his own)
What made you choose the name Static?
STATIC can have positive and negative connotations. We are STATIC, but we are never still. To view something properly either you, or the object you are viewing, needs to be STATIC. We wanted something that reflected the duality of our set-up, which needs both of us to create the work we do. We Like STATIC – and hope you do too?
Do you listen to music whilst working? If so what do you have playing?
The majority of the time we’ll have 6 music on as it covers pretty much all bases and means we’ll get to hear everything from the Beastie Boys to Brian Eno and everything in between, which is just how we like it.
Where did you grow up? Were you creative children and what made you become a artists?
We grew up in the seaside town of Scarborough in the North East of England. Famous for it’s castle, it’s arcades and it’s naval warfare re-enactment…
T. I was always pretty creative as a kid and tended to lean towards art as I never seemed that good at any of the other subjects.
C. I loved reading stories and would draw with my Dad on Sunday afternoons. Then from around the age of 7 or 8 I started collecting pictures from magazines, brochures and postcards to make scrapbooks of things I liked and places I wanted to go.Neither of us really thought about ‘becoming’ an artist though and the majority of the time when we’re asked what we do, we both say that we’re screen printers.
Where did you train? What did training teach you and what do you wish it had taught you?
We met at Art College where we were encouraged to move around the different departments and set ourselves personal projects and from there we went to university where we spent 3 more years doing the same without any idea of where these skills would take us in the years that would follow. We obviously picked up a few things along the way, but the processes we use day to day are techniques we have taught ourselves over the last 8 years, trying out different approaches and learning (sometimes, but not always) from our mistakes.
How did you get started?
We set up our first studio in a large derelict flat overlooking the South Bay in Scarborough. Everything was hand-made and we would use the photocopier at the office supply shop to make traces and the dark room at the local arts centre to make our screens.At the time we didn’t have a proper print bed so we improvised using 2 pieces of wood bolted to a table and used masking tape as guidelines to make sure everything lined up. Needless to say, our prints got more adventurous when we got our hands on a vacuum bed complete with a cradle for registration… Looking back we don’t know how we managed to create some of the prints we did with such a basic technique!
Where and what is your studio?
For the past 4 years, we’ve been working out of a second floor studio in Hackney Wick. As the layered glass pieces have grown in size and weight, we’ve been thinking we should find a ground floor space and recently we found out that this whole area has been sold for redevelopment, so the search has begun…
What would you say are the main themes you pursue?
Pop culture, celebrity, beauty, power, faith, belief & identity.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere and nowhere.Sometimes it can find you and other times you have to go looking.
What are you currently working on?
We have just finished 2 layered glass pieces that each have over 1400 coloured feathers incorporated into the background and which are currently on display at LAG as part of the MIX Summer 2014 group show. We’re also involved in a couple of really exciting projects that should keep us busy for a while, have a private commission on the go and we’re starting to play around with themes and ideas for our next London solo show.
Which of your works are you most proud of?
T. The 2 new pieces are up there with my favourites and the possibilities that they could lead to with future pieces are pretty exciting.
C. If you look at the progression we’ve made from the prints and originals we were making 7 or 8 years ago, you can see how our ideas and techniques have developed and that’s something I’m personally really proud of and something that I hope we’ll be able to continue doing for another 8 years.
Who would you say buys your work?
Anyone and everyone, we don’t really seem to have a type, it can be anyone from a teenager working a paper-round to save up for a print - to a member of the Saudi Royal family who will pick up 3 or 4 originals out of the blue.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Well we did have to act fast at the opening of our ‘Moments of Clarity’ show, when an over-eager admirer of our layered glass works decided to take one off the wall for a closer look. Let’s just say this guy had been making the most of the refreshments that were on offer and it was lucky we were close to hand to step in and return the piece safely back to it’s spot.
What is the greatest threat to art today?
T. Aliens, killer bees, triffids…. In that order!
C. Mediocrity, virtual reality and the rapidly diminishing attention span of the human race.
What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
T. Never, Never, Never, Never give up!
C. Don’t be afraid to get things wrong.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
Which artists do you most admire?
JR – for the way he has pointed his camera at the people who previously had been ignored, the everyday individuals who are the life and breath of the communities they live in and in doing so, has empowered them and made them part of a global family connected through the Inside Out Project.
What work of art would you most like to own?
T. Conor Harrington original or an old school Faile wooden box.
C. Micallef’s ‘21st Century Love’ or an AJ Fosik sculpture.
If you could exhibit in any gallery in the world, which would it be?
T. Laz Rathbone, LDN
C. Guggenheim, NY
If you weren’t artists what would you be doing?
T. Who knows… Electrician/ shop assistant/ burger flipper/ astronaut were a few of my other options
C. Something that paid twice as much but that made me half as happy.
Describe an average day in the life of Static...
Eat, Drink, Create, Repeat.