Today sees the opening of an exhibition of personal work from the fantastic Peepshow collective at Dreamspace Gallery, allowing you to get that bit closer to original pieces, collages and drawings without the classic computer screen barrier.
We went round to their studio to have some pizza and ask them what we should expect from this latest show, eight years on from their inaugural exhibition as young Brighton graduate whipper-snappers – and even snuck along to see a special preview of the show itself.
In their own words, “In between their day-to-day studio activity, there are always thoughts, ideas, possibilities and fragments growing and developing after the work has been done. Peepshow has chosen to show these personal investigations, drawings, prints and objects at the dreamspace gallery, EC1, offering a secret insight into the personal minds of the Peepshow Collective.” And what better excuse do a set of illustrators need?
The last time you had a show together it was a couple of years back with ‘Many Hands Make More Work’. How does this show differ?
Luke: Well, the last show was more about trying to get us all working together, and this one is pretty different, with everyone working more individually. Most of the work is framed and has all been created specifically for the show. For the previous show there was a real effort to make it all link up, or one entity. This time we’ve concentrated on just making the work. This show has come about at a time when it’s been important for us to address our own work, rather than our collective work.
So, there’s no motive for the show to get you lots of new commercial work then?
Miles: No, it’s just an excuse to make some new work and hang it, without commercial pressures. It’s nice to give ourselves a deadline for it too. There’s also no animation work so we thought Pete’s contribution might be some nice cakes.
Pete: Yep, Pete’s Tuck Shop.
Luke: Everyone will get something out of it though, probably far more than their commercial work.
Andrew: The reason we’ve always done exhibitions is so that we can do some self motivated work and show it to people, so this one is no different.
With lots of different styles and techniques, what’s going to tie it together?
Luke: Well, nothing really!
Miles: I guess just that’s it’s all of us and people are pretty used to seeing all of our work together.
Marie: Also, it’s all work that we want to make, rather than commercial work — that’s why it’s called ‘In Between’, so that gives it a bit of a theme.
Luke: It’s also a chance to get to show our personal work to people as we all work on self initiated projects anyway…
What kind of work can we expect?
Miles: It’s a mixture… there’s some original work, prints, woodcuts, drawings, collages, it’s very much about real pieces, rather than print outs.
How did the show come about?
Miles: Dreamspace got in touch with us about doing a show and we’d been to some things there before, were impressed with the way it looked, so we thought it was a good idea. We had also chatted about taking the work from this show and exhibiting it somewhere else… maybe New York?
Luke: In the last year we’ve just all been really really busy with work, so it’s been good to adjust ourselves a little from just doing commercial work. Also, I think the space has dictated the work a little bit, but in a good way. At first more people were thinking of producing large scale pieces, or installations, and actually the space just suits a classic way of hanging a show. We’ve reacted to that and it’s been quite healthy.
So have you taken time out of your normal studio days to work for the show?
Miles: Yes, for sure. I’ve been working at home without a computer for the first time in ten years…
Do you think it’s always necessary to show your personal work?
Luke: There are other ways of showing it aside from in a gallery. You should always be trying to put it out in the world somehow, illustration is an applied subject, so it should be applied somehow. I’m not sure just putting it on your website is quite enough these days. Personally I think it’s almost like pretending it’s real. I’m quite keen that things exist as physical objects and real things now.
So what are people going to get out of coming to the show, rather than just looking at your site?
Luke: Well, Pete’s cake for a start.
Miles: And of course the chance to see original work in the form it’s intended.
Andrew: Yeah up close and in depth.
Miles: It’s definitely not just a set of prints you could buy online that we’ve printed out and put in a gallery.
Luke: I think it’s interesting that even though it’s personal work everyone’s still very hard on themselves. Everyone doesn’t just slacken off because it’s for themselves, it’s almost like you’re even tougher on yourself.
Coming from someone who gets sent more than my fair share of illustration work on a daily basis, I can assure anyone who manages to pop along that this is a set of illustrators who are firmly at the top of their game – showing some honestly made, beautifully hung work. With a catalogue available to pick up free from the show too, this is something very special indeed.
Dreamspace Gallery, 1-3 Dufferin Street, London, EC1Y 8NA
17th June to July 15th 2009
Monday to Friday, 9.00am to 5.30pm
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org