• Rlhero

    Rob Lowe: Full Wall Tile (detail)

Graphic Design

Rob Lowe, better known as Supermundane, talks about his super minimal new show

Posted by Rob Alderson,

It was right back in 2007 when we first started thumping any tub we could find to alert people to the talent of Supermundane, aka Rob Lowe. He has won a legion of admirers for his hyper-detailed, hyper-rewarding works but his new show at Kemistry Gallery sees his work go in an interesting new direction. Details is a collection produced by taking tiny areas of his drawings and simplifying them down to pure line and colour. Not only that, it will be exhibited as a Rob Lowe show rather than Supermundane, so we caught up with him to find out how and why this exciitng new project came about…

  • Blue_pink

    Rob Lowe: Blue Pink

Hi Rob. Tell us about how this show came about? The work is very different to what people might know you for…

I’ve been working on these pieces for a few years now, but have only just started to show people them. I’ve always loved very simple, graphic, art but it’s impossible to do without a reason as it just becomes purely decorative. It wasn’t until I started looking at my own drawings in a more subjective manner that I realised that I could take tiny details from them and they would still retain the optical effects of depth and movement.

Then I refined them by reducing the amount of lines used and introduced colour. I’m really pleased with the results, it feels like the start of something that has many possibilities and that’s a really exciting place to be. This seems like a very natural progression from my more detailed work but I can understand people thinking it’s a big change. Personally I can see a direct link between this and my drawings – it will be interesting to see if people think the same. 

How does it feel doing a show as Rob rather than Supermundane?

It feels right for this new direction. I wanted this way of working to stand apart from the Supermundane work and using my real name helps to do this. I reached that imaginary landmark of 40 last year and, while I hate to use the term “grown-up,” this new work does feel more serious.

Also, I have got over growing up in the 1980s and being called Rob Lowe, all those years of people saying “Like the actor?” every time I tell them my name. Although people do still do this.

“While I hate to use the term “grown-up,” this new work does feel more serious.”

Rob Lowe

What do you hope people come away with after seeing the show?

Well, I hope they like it. It’s quite scary putting on a first show of such minimalist work. There is a very strong visual language that runs though all the pieces and when it all comes together it should have quite an effect on the viewer.

All this new work is about movement, depth and everything being interconnected. There will always be some people that prefer the more detailed stuff because they will (wrongly) think there is more work involved, but I’m hoping that those people will be able to revisit the drawings and look more at the way they are constructed and see them in a new way. 

What else are you working on atm?

I’ve got issue 11 of Fire & Knives to do which is always fun, lots of hand-lettering. I’m also off to Frankfurt with a load of illustrators to meet some other (German) illustrators for a show we are going to be doing for children later in the year – I’m not art directing Anorak magazine anymore so it will be nice to do some work for kids again.

I’ve got some other personal new work that I’ve been doing which I will show people soon and I’m, hopefully, bringing my poetry and music night Kibbo Kift to the Southbank for something put on by the National Theatre.

I really want to do some very large versions of the new work so I’ll be on the look out for opportunities to do that.

  • Round_one

    Rob Lowe: Round One

  • Round_three-copy

    Rob Lowe: Round Two

  • Round_two

    Rob Lowe: Round Three

  • Tile_two_x4_2

    Rob Lowe: Tile Two

  • Tile_one

    Rob Lowe: Tile One

  • Tile_two_x4

    Rob Lowe: Tile Two

  • 2010_0225av

    Rob Lowe: Untitled

  • 2010_0225aw

    Rob Lowe: Untitled

  • Me_painting2_bw

    Rob Lowe with one of his paintings

Details runs at the Kemistry Gallery, June 15 – June 30.

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Exhibition View Archive

  1. List

    The name Jeremy Deller conjures up all manner of conflicting images in my mind’s eye; of frivolous inflatable sculptures and brass bands playing acid house; of turbulent clashes between miners and police and the rusted bodies of motor vehicles. He’s got a real knack for uniting ideas that feel inherently opposite. So his latest show at Modern Art Oxford shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise in its bringing together of two figures who seem very much at odds with each other.

  2. List

    There’s not a pie in the cultural world that James Franco isn’t ready and willing to stick a finger into, and to prove it the actor, director, poet and musician has just announced a new exhibition of his artworks, entitled Fat Squirrel, which is to be held at London’s Siegfried Contemporary gallery. The show is an undeniably eclectic collection, including a number of self portraits of the artist in the guise of various famous historical figures, a deer orgy entitled Triple Team, and some bright painterly collages, not to mention the eponymous overweight rodents which are undoubtedly our favourites.

  3. List

    There are equal doses of pleasure and frustration to be had in stumbling across the work of a photographer you’ve never seen before. It’s classic FOMO on a macro scale, coupled with joy at the prospect of showing off the treasure you’ve found. At least that’s what I felt when I discovered that photographer Mark Neville was to be showing two of his photo-series alongside one another in a new show entitled London/Pittsburgh at London’s Alan Cristea Gallery.

  4. List-flyers-for-the-institute-at-sexology.-photography-by-russell-dornan_-design-by-liam-relph-(3)

    London’s Wellcome Collection space always hosts explorations of the things that fascinate us most. It’s covered death, it’s exhaustively explored the human body in all its glory and grotesquery, and now it’s moved on to surely the most fascinating of all – sex, or more precisely, how people have studied it.

  5. List

    How’s this for a collaboration? Artist Quentin Jones, who counts photography, animation, painting and filmmaking among the tools of her trade, has teamed up with spatial designer Robert Storey to create the setting for her new exhibition in the The Vinyl Factory Space on London’s Brewer Street, with Robert creating a set for each of Quentin’s works.

  6. Main

    Right now, illustrator-turned artist extraordinaire Jordy van den Niewendijk is probably having a nap. For the last few weeks he’s been rushing around the world getting his work together for a very exciting solo show at New York’s trendy Moiety Gallery. It’s safe to say Jordy is one of our favourite artists, and to see his work evolve aesthetically over the years yet still cling on to that trademark style is great, a little bit like watching one of those cool videos of flowers blooming in slow-mo.

  7. Mp

    Hands up who loves boobies and butts? The pervier of us will appreciate this brand new show from Mike Perry which sees him collate all his brilliant nudie drawings in one place, and if you’re not a perv you’ll just love the colours. They say the human form is a beautiful thing, but sometimes people forget that it’s also super fun too. Good for lovely, bearded Mike for noticing this and spending ages drawing people with legs akimbo on coloured paper to entertain us straight-laced British folk. If you’re into illustration and/or nudity, head down to KK Outlet tonight for this scintillating show.

  8. List

    In 1963, the Royal College of Art held an exhibition celebrating 15 years of the school of graphic design. In the show’s catalogue, Professor Richard Guyatt remembered the days when the term was adopted by the college. “With a certain sense of relief, but not much conviction, the name ‘Graphic Design’ was chosen,” he wrote. “No one was quite sure what it meant, but it had a purposeful ring…”

  9. 4list.-charles-jourdan_-spring-1976-%c2%a9-guy-bourdin

    In the summer of 1979, several legs boarded a ferry travelling from Dieppe to Plymouth. However unlike most other legs making the journey, these didn’t have any feeling in their toes.

  10. Main1

    Just over a week ago It’s Nice That’s Jamie McIntyre and I took a train from London to Glasgow to the much-antiticipated Graphic Design Festival Scotland. We had been invited by Beth Wilson and James Gilchrist, two students who had recently graduated from Edinburgh College of Art. During their degree the two had found themselves working best when together, and decided to form Warriors Studio as a duo. They began thinking about the climate of graphic design in Scotland, the need for something new and exciting and – most importantly – what the hell they were going to do when term ends and they were turfed out to fend for themselves.

  11. List

    Designing for the Design Museum’s Designs of the Year must be in many ways a dream project, in many ways a nightmare. Creating graphics that can seamlessly place disciplines as disparate as graphic design, furniture, product and architecture comfortably next to one another takes skill and an eye for leaving said projects to speak for themselves. Ok-RM’s graphics did just that, sitting back to let the viewer to make their own decisions about each project on its own merit, regardless of how it was made or by whom. Clean, well-spaced and scant typography work with clever colour-coding to form an overall aesthetic that more than deserves its place alongside the best designs of the past 12 months.

  12. List

    Listen up digital art types! If you’ve got great idea for a project that you haven’t been able to make happen, The Space may just be able to help. The not-for-profit venue has launched an open call to help a creative make that one crazy idea a reality, with funding and mentoring on offer. They say: “Nothing’s off limits; this is about pushing the boundaries and the project can take their point of departure from any artistic discipline, from music and film to visual arts and gaming.”

  13. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.