You’re based in Montreal, does the city have a large independent art scene?
Montreal is a city where there are a large amount of artists and musicians working on amazing stuff on an independent level. Unfortunately, there isn’t much support for “underground” visual artists here. Most galleries and artist run centers will not show it and being in a city full of bohemians means not many folks can afford to buy it.
Does that help or hinder your work?
It hinders on the level that we rarely get commissions locally and don’t really have anywhere to exhibit our work. That said, it’s a pretty exiting place to live and rent is cheap. We know tons of talented folks we can talk shop with and draw inspiration from. Plus there’s always a decent amount of stuff going on.
Montreal, for us, works as a great home base to do our thing on an international level.
How long have the two of you been working as a illustrators?
We started doing the poster thing in earnest in 2002 and slowly by 2003 a few illustrations gigs would trickle in here and there. It wasn’t until 2006 that we got picked up by Debut Art and actually became professional illustrators.
For us, illustration is pretty ideal ‘cause we can pick and choose when we’re available for commissions. It leaves us a decent amount of time for our band and for personal work and pays decently enough that we’re able to use it to fund projects such as book making, starting a boutique record label and working on doing print based sculptural installation work.
What did you want to be when you were a kids?
y- an accountant
c- rockstar then as a teen, filmmaker / poet
Are you part of any larger group or collective?
Our studio space, the One Hundred Sided Die, is run collectively. There are 23 members if you include the bands. It’s basically a giant warehouse full of printmakers, painters, fashion designers, bands and various other creative freaks. It’s a great atmosphere and means that we are constantly engaging with a diverse group of talented folks.
You do a pretty high volume of screen-printing. Is that your favourite technique to use for your illustration projects?
We only screenprint our posters and fine art work, for us screenprinting is more a manner of reproduction that rendering. Our illustration commissions are generally rendered in pen and ink and either colored in with FW acrylic inks (fucking wonderful), magic marker or digitally.
I expect most people know your work through the numerous gig posters you’ve done. How did that come about and do you find that’s how most people know you?
So far, it’s been the thing we’ve done the most of and that’s been the most visible in our short carrer.
We have done many art shows with our posters, both group and solo (heck, we even took them on tour several times) and having been featured in countless books , magazines and even a few TV shows and a documentary.
We also have a strong online presence.
I think gig posters are a medium that caches many people’s imagination much more than art for arts sake. The ties with music, youth culture and collectability all make gig posters and gig poster artists interesting to the public and the media, to the outside world; we hang out with rock stars, it’s glamourous.
On the other hand art is rarely glamourous unless the artist is big-time. Being a poster artist, you can coattail off of the fame of the bands or even just the poster scene at large. Plus you exist in some grey zone where pop culture, advertising, “the underground”, art, illustration and design collide. That Grey zone facilitates interest from several different scenes.
Most of the attention we’ve gotten has been in the music world and the design world. Since gigposters cater to several worlds at once, a up-and-coming hardworking artist in that avenue has more chance of being seen and talked about than someone doing art for arts sake. That said, we’ve been doing posters full time for 6 years now and don’t want to be solely doing this for the rest of our lives. We both have plenty of ideas for projects we’d like to work on and understand that while NOW we might be known mostly for our posters, we hope it won’t be the case in 10 years from now.
Most our our ideas involve installations using prints, paper sculptures and art books. We also have ideas for video work.
You have a band as well. Is it tied to the work in any way apart from the gig posters?
Seripop and our band AIDS Wolf are totally twisted and intwined together for us. Before Seripop, we were both doing video and performance work. It wasn’t really until we started wanting to do promo for our own bands that we began to work in a more graphic manner.
Drawing, printing, design, for us came out of being in a band and being friends with bands. And of course , as I mentioned earlier our reputation has mostly been built on gigposters. We’ve shown, sold and exibited our work at music venues, record stores, music festivals and house shows.
Then you have our art tours, of which we’ve done 5 at this point. On our art tours, we basically function as a band. We show in a different city each night, often for only that night. We arrive and hang our work, the doors open, we talk to everyone, sell stuff then tear down, pack up and drive to the next city. It’s part of our total immersion lifestyle, inspired by Henry Rollins’ book “Get In The Van”, his tour diaries as the front man from Black Flag. Black Flag were a hardcore band from LA who were almost as famous for their relentless work ethic as they were for their (excellent) music.
We’ve printed all nighters on New Year’s Eve, missed our own birthday parties and generally cut out almost everything from our lives that doesn’t involve creating or showing/performing our art and music.
So our work ethic is informed by punkrock DIY, our touring is not unlike a band’s, our development as artists who DRAW and PRINT came from being in bands, much of the art world connections we got were via the music scene (it seems that many musicians/promoters/fans are artists or curator or agents) and our aesthetic is largely informed by our musical interests.
Without wanting to sound pretentious, we feel that our work in posters, records covers and other music related almost serve as training for what we wish to do as fine artists. The aesthetic we’ve crafted over the past 6 years of making posters etc, translates to what we are trying to do with our sculpture and installation work.
We not only want to immerse our lives in creating art, we also want to immerse the viewer in our world by transforming spaces.
I read that you have a limited (completely screen-printed) book that’s in the works. How many prints will you have to do for this?
All in all, the book has 21 screens but each page will be 3-6 colors. It’s an edition 300.
Isn’t that insane?
It’s not really more insane than lots of others who make screened books. For us it was mostly insane ‘cause the drawings are all very different so we had to build different color palettes for different pages.
It’s a pretty slim book though; it’s manageable. For us, it’s more a matter of balancing commissioned work with personal art and our band’s touring schedule that the actual art being hard to do.
Do you do much work on a computer?
Not really, we basically use Photoshop as a paste up board but all our illustration, lettering and layout is done by hand, generally with pen and ink. Sometimes Yannick uses a brush but I (Chloe) prefer rapidograph pens ‘cause I have shaky hands.
We use a light table and vellum to work our color layers.
What's the most annoying thing about what you have to do in your daily working process?
Packing tubes and filling customs forms. It’s mind numbingly boring.
What's the best?
Sitting around drawing while listening to DJ Rick and petting the cats.
What goals do you have, if any? What projects would you really like to work on if you had the chance?
Well, we’d be jazzed to get offered new large spaces and some funding to do our installation work! The last one we did was 14 feet high, 13 feet wide and 24 feet deep. Ideally, we’d like the opportunity to do stuff that is even larger. We have lots of big ideas, pardon the pun.
With ‘Radar Eyes’, our most recent exhibit in Chicago, we’ve had our first try at curating and would love to curate more shows.
We’d also be really into getting involved with fashion by designing yardage.
And a long time dream of ours would be a publishing deal where we could create experimental books on a regular basis. We pretty much have a billion ideas for books of all original, unpublished work.
Your style is pretty unique and instantly recognisable, who do you currently admire in the field of art and design?
Click names for links...
Jelle Crama, Rob Churm, Bongoût, Jim Drain, James Victore, Parra, Savage Pencil, Paul McCarthy, Wiktor Gorka, Vittorio Fiorucci, Bruce Nauman, Tony Cragg, Simon Bossé, Le Dernier Cri.
What's your favourite item of clothing?
Chloe: My glasses. The frames are black and white checkered and are from the 60’s.
Yannick: A t-shirt of a face that a friend made for me with spray paint.
c: because they are totally loud and make me look put together even when I’m not. And because I hate wearing makeup !
y:because it’s anonymous and one of a kind and it looks like a ghost.