STATIC is the creative output of London-based image makers and Street Artists Tom Jackson and Craig Evans who have been producing original works in house since 2006.
(ISSA) – What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
(STATIC) – That depends on what time it is, as it’s 11am on the morning of our show we’ll take 2 coffees please!
-Introduce yourself to us…
We are Tom and Craig and we’ve been working together for 10 years under the name STATIC.
-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
That’s a tricky one… It feels strange describing ourselves as ‘Artists’ and usually when people ask we tend to go with screen printer or painter. Our work combines elements of stencil art and fine art, as well as photomontage and graphic design, which is then created with spray paint, acrylics, varnishes and other embellishments. As a result of this, we don’t really ‘fit in’ with the conventional definition of street artists, or artists – but we’d both agree, we are lucky to do what we do as a full time job and it has given us opportunities to go places and do things we would never have done if we’d chosen a different path.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
It started after we finished our degrees and found that the opportunities to work in our respective areas were few and far between, so we started up a studio in our home town of Scarborough. At the time we were lucky enough to have a studio split over 3 floors of some derelict flats with a view of the sea, which we transformed with a lick of paint, some new floor boards and a DIY printing table and drying rack.
While the work has progressed in what we think is a positive way, the same can’t be said for the studio…. For the past 4/5 years we have been working from a studio in Hackney Wick, which as well as being a lot smaller, is also slowly falling apart around us. This will be our last year in the current space though and as part of the Wood Street Walls project we’re involved with, if everything goes to plan, we’ll be moving to a new creative hub come the summer!
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
For this body of work It would have to be this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Fv5cuYZFC0 !
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What inspires you?
This body of work takes its inspiration from early 8 bit video games that have become iconic for their design as well as their playability and for this show we wanted to capture that aesthetic and play with the content and context of each ‘classic’ title. Despite the limitations of the technology, these games were steeped in narrative, myth and adventure that caught the imagination of not just one generation, but also all those who followed. Video games put you in control of the outcome – how long can you survive? what level can you reach? are you fast enough? All questions that consume the ‘player’ and make ‘1 more go’ the eternal struggle between fantasy and reality.
-Before going to paint, what is on your check list to take along?
Paint / stencils / and if it’s summer, or somewhere hot, sun cream and a hat!
-Do you have an artist you admire and what for?
Tom: I really like Conor Harrington’s work and was lucky enough to hang around for 3 days while he painted his piece for Wood St Walls (in Walthamstow) which we are heavily involved in. The speed that he completed the wall and the detail and textures he got while using rollers and squeegees were amazing to be able to watch and see it develop.
(above: Collaboration piece with Teddy Baden for Wood Street Walls project, Walthamstow E17.)
-Which cities do you think are the most inspirational in Street Art?
Craig: There’s definitely some cities that stand out like New York and Berlin, but that’s mainly because you can’t turn a corner without discovering something new. Sometimes the most inspirational things are those outside of cities or between places, which aren’t just about what’s been painted, but also capture the imagination to find out the background of how and why that piece was painted there. I’m going to Australia for the first time in March and am looking forward to checking out and being inspired by visits to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, which from what I’ve seen and heard have some great galleries and places to see murals on a par with either of the above.
-Do you have other passions apart from art?
Tom: I’d say travelling, luckily sometimes we get to combine the two and in Feb are heading out to Japan for the third time.
-What is your wildest project that you dream of achieving some day?
Craig: We started to play around with the idea of large scale layered-glass work last year which would be really challenging, but would still be really cool to try out at some point. Without giving away too much, it wouldn’t be something that would hang on a wall, instead it would be more interactive and immersive…
Also, it’s still very much in the early stages, but we’ve been discussing and developing ideas for a very exciting project in connection with an architect whose client has requested a ‘Bat-cave’ for his cars, art collection and R&R, so to see this come to fruition would be a dream achieved indeed!
-Does your art include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
Craig: When we first started out we threw a stack of ideas together and chose our favourites, which amongst others included the Chinook helicopter carrying a glass / crystal chandelier. At the same time, we decided that instead of ‘writing’ our name, we would use this as our logo and so we created these pieces on wood which we then took out and put on walls and bridges and pretty much anywhere we could get them. As a result, we’ve continued to use it and have found it to be extremely versatile, which allows us to experiment with new ideas and approaches that are often applied in other ways to our collections for shows and murals or prints.
(above: Photo of KIWIDINOK – 3D layered piece for Wood Street Walls taken by Mark Rigney of Hookedblog.)
-What is your reaction when you realise someone has vandalised your creation?
Tom: Depends really, we have been lucky with the recent pieces in Wathamstow and they have been largely left alone, although someone did decide to draw a giant ‘Cock and Balls’ in marker on the window next to our ‘Game On’ wall…. rather considerately they had done it on a space that didn’t effect our piece!
-What do you think people first think or feel when they see one of your works on the street?
Tom: We’re not sure, although while painting the ‘Game On’ piece we were offered several other walls, only to find out they wanted them painting in just white masonry paint…. don’t know what that says about the work haha
– What kind of responsibility do you feel you have towards society as an artist?
Craig: I’m not sure if it’s a responsibility as such, but I’d like to think that what we do – in one way or another – inspires those who see it. We recently painted a mural at a primary school in Hackney, which was created using ideas and drawings from some of the children who went there. Looking out across space on one side was an astronaut and at the other there was a small girl pretending to be an astronaut and the drawings of spaceships and planets by the kids, turned into the real planets that are in our solar system, which was a really fun project to do and now with there being a British astronaut in space, it’s even more relevant to show these youngsters that you can make your dreams come true…
-Do you have any interesting creative plans for the future?
We’re heading back out to Japan for solo shows in Hiroshima and Tokyo next month, sending work to Chicago for a group show in April, continuing our work with Wood Street Walls both outside and in, plus lots of other stuff…
It’s been great to get to know more about the minds and persons behind such talented and inspiring works. Thank you guys !
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.
Want to know more? Check out STATIC Website here or on social media @WeLikeStatic
Some studio artwork from STATIC :