Many of us tried out a new thing or two over lockdown, creative pursuits often being one of them. Bound to our homes, loved ones also became collaborators – which was very much the case for David Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park who, over lockdown, decided to work together in producing a new book A Spell Too Far.
A photographer and multidisciplinary artist respectively – David the former and Lina the latter – the pair decided to join forces and put their likeminded creative heads together. The work as a result has been compiled over 2020 and 2021, featuring an array of creative set-ups, staged compositions and scenarios made from food and household ornaments. It’s a harmonious merging of the two worlds. The couple have produced a series of pictures that are both strange and realistic – as if they’d spent their entire relationship fine-tuning their processes and skills together. So you might be surprised to learn that this is the first time they’ve worked alongside one another. “It actually started during lockdown, as we were both stuck at home together and a bit restless with creative energy,” says David, pointing out how Lina made the props and sets, while he took the pictures. “Sometimes there’s overlap, but that’s generally how it breaks down.”
While working on the project, Lina explains how they both came up with the ideas in unison, and that there really weren’t that many challenges all in all. “Though David is very quick and works in a bit of a sporadic manner,” she says. Meanwhile, Lina is slower and steadier, “she really takes her time,” adds David. Concurrently, it’s about discovering what works best between two individuals for the team to really flourish. “So it was about finding the right balance between those methods of working,” adds Lina, “which proved to be an interesting synergy and I think the book does a good job at capturing that.” Besides, working with your loved one is always going to pose some difficulties, as we learned last year through Olivia Atkins’ insightful feature on It’s Nice That; will it risk the relationship by merging the two careers, or will it flourish?
Clearly flourishing, A Spell Too Far is an exciting offshoot of their first endeavours together (perhaps paving the way for many more). The project arose after their friends at publishers Same Paper reached out to see if they wanted to make a book; the two of them decided it was a “fun undertaking” and agreed. Now published and released into the world, they’re more than happy with how it turned out. “As for the stories, we like to think of this as a book of fantasy,” says David. “The images are all open to interpretation and personal association.” What we do know, however, is that the duo kept a specific term in mind while making the work, that term being “transcendental arts and crafts”. Lina adds: “We used simple, ordinary materials that became something else entirely. A new world with its own story, past, present and future. But that story is up to you!”
There’s much to be imagined while looking through the imagery found in A Spell Too Far; from broccoli heads sprouting out of a body made of yarn, to a swan constructed from apple slices and leg hair swivelled into a floral pattern. The pictures are engrossing – sometimes a little gross even – and spark many curiosities for the viewer. There’s one image that David and Lina are particularly fond of though, of a toiler paper butterfly. “The toilet roll itself was something Lina picked up in Paris before lockdown began,” notes David, “and she had been waiting for a change to use it – the lilac colour was brilliant and we knew it could be made into something special. The dichotomy of the dainty toilet roll crafts and our old bathroom (desperately in need of a paint job!) gave it magic.”
The duo continue to point out another image, this time the cover – the food table scene that gives new life and meaning to a segment of onion – which proved a huge success for them both. “After making it, it felt like we opened a portal into another universe where fruit becomes furniture and engages in deep conversation.” The self-portraits, too, were a great joy to create. “We love this one of David looking totally transformed with slicked back hair and moustache, and this one of Lina that reference the childhood story, The Green Ribbon,” which tells the eerie story of a woman who never wants to take off a velvet ribbon around her neck. “We hope the images are freeing in a way,” David finally goes on to say, “that they open the mind to new possibilities. We hope they speak to the limitless inner child in everyone.”
GalleryDavid Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park: A Spell Too Far (Copyright © David Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park, 2021)
David Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park: A Spell Too Far (Copyright © David Brandon Geeting and Lina Sun Park, 2021)
About the Author
Ayla is currently covering Jenny as It’s Nice That’s online editor. She has spent nearly a decade as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.