In case you were wondering (which you probably were) what Kyle Platts has been up to recently, the answer is rather a lot. Don’t worry, he’s still churning out drawings that resemble the illegitimate love-child of the Bash Street Kids and Beavis and Butthead at an unstoppable rate. His latest lump of work is, satisfyingly, much like his old work but even better – the detail is tighter, the colours and brighter and his choices of materials are getting increasingly varied. We caught up with Kyle for a chat about residencies, Pick Me Up, his new work and some fellow artists he’s excited about at the moment.
Kyle! How are you? Tell us about your work on show at this year’s Pick Me Up?
Hi! I’m feeling very good thank you. All the work in my Pick Me Up display was created based on the idea of a lack of mindfulness among people. We have come a long way intellectually but I wanted to point out in a playful and irreverent way how sometimes we let our basic impulses get the better of us. As much as I love humans, we sometimes don’t think through our actions, whether it be texting whilst driving, cyber bullying or using unmanned aircraft to anonymously kill our enemies.
I wanted to show all these silly acts together, from the prosaic to the world changing. Aesthetically I went on a mad’n and really enjoyed embellishing these pieces, I had a great time coming up with all the little patterns and details. An important part of the display for me is the Medic Dog that is in the centre of everything. He was designed to be a sort of baseline, all the frames either align from his various right angles or are actually held in his hands.
Can you tell us a little about what you were doing in Linz and how that came about?
I was approached by the curator of The Next Comic festival in Linz to take part in an artist residency there, which would culminate in an exhibition at the start of the festival. My friend Jay Wright had done the same residency the previous year, and having seen the great work he got done there I was keen to get stuck in.
What did you learn from being in Linz? And is it something you’d like to do again.
Besides how to order a Big Mac in German I learned that I shouldn’t underestimate how important personal work can be for development and how that ultimately feeds back into commercial briefs. For example one of the drawings for the exhibition was this doodle that contained various characters and phrases such as “post justification is better than no justification.” After creating that I got a brief from Converse to do a gig poster and the visual formula from this drawing suited it perfectly. I’m going to look into potential residencies for next year, somewhere with a beach would be good.
The paintings you made in Linz were kind of anew aesthetic for you. Do you feel that your work is changing or evolving at the moment?
The paintings from Linz are a departure from my drawings because I wanted to make the most of the freedom I had there. So consequently they are more abstract and they are mostly non-linear. I’m not going to try and crowbar that style into my commercial work from now on but I can see how it could be appropriated into murals etc. The work in the Pick Me Up display is more of an indicator of where my editorial work is going. I’m still more interested in developing my actual drawing than the process itself.
What are your plans for the near future?
There is an exciting project I am a part of that starts in May that I’m not allowed to talk about (which doesn’t make great interview content). However, I am designing my first board for Blast Skates in their next series. Designing a board graphic is way up there on my little list of personal goals, it’s going to be a good’n. I feel like the residency in Austria was a two-month holiday so I’m planning on spending the rest of the year working my bum off.
Tell us about some other artists or illustrators you’re really into at the moment.
On a recent trip to Vienna I saw a good collection of Mike Kelly work at the MUMOK which gave me a new appreciation for him. One of the paintings featured was a man taking a huge shit and a woman dressing the turd in children’s cloths as it came out. That piece captured my heart forever. In regards to illustration, Pick Me Up has been a bloody great big eye-opener this year, I’m particularly enjoying the Ed’s – Ed Cherverton and Ed Monaghan as well as Billy (a.k.a Alex Godwin). Jack Sachs is definitely one to look out for too, he is blowing my bean with his 3D renderings at the moment.