05 September 2012

No Gibberish by SMUDSPEPP

'Stoked on dirt' (smuds:dirt // pepp: stoked) could be the most graphic way of describing the aesthetics of the duo art collective Smudspepp, formed by Stockholm-based Sebastian Eriksson and Tomas Nilsson. Confusing as that description may sound; the project is the most liberating, straightforward, laissez faire art movement to hit the art scene here in Stockholm since…too long. SMUDSPEPP is all about no-gibberishing - simple, honest and direct art.

Besides issuing their fanzine 'Snurriga former' (eng:dizzying shapes) they work with mixed-media, multitasking on so many creative levels, producing a set of - screen prints, T-shirts, cloth bags and stop motion visuals. Their signature imagery is abstract/non-figurative depicting irregular spaced-out, and even 'brainless’ shapes. SMUDSPEPP had their debut a few weeks ago at the Swop Art Gallery in Stockholm, with the exhibition Snurriga Former (July 12th). I decided to hook up with them for a chat and find out more.

Would you say that there is any MAIN theme in SMUDSPEPP?

Sebastian: There's really no intended theme, we just try to keep our work spontaneous and somewhat brainless [laughs]. We create images that we consider funny, and try not to convey a specific meaning, so our art is very direct and playful.

Tomas: SMUDSPEPP is about twisting and bending stuff, and to find a balance in composition. Some images may seem to depict something specific, while some don't. It doesn't necessarily convey a particular theme, but more an expression, a collective expression that suits us both aesthetically.

Sebastian: Visually, the theme is about skewing things up, to make things that are harmonious 'dirty' and 'filthy'. We often do that deliberately so that we don't make things resemble something in particular, but then again - it ends up resembling something anyway. Coz eventually some images somehow always do, everyone has different associations and takes on things. That's the beauty of art that's abstract - the perception varies and is based on individual references. It's funny, once there was this japanese girl who perceived one image as a toilet [laughs].

Is there anything you wish to communicate through this project?

Tomas: We've discussed that quite a bit,  and thought to ourselves- why must everything about art be so 'much'? We've kept it on a level where we both feel creatively free.

Sebastian: We want to lower the pretentiousness, art can be so damn loaded these days. Many are creating art, there are artists wanting to express and communicate so much opinions, we would just like to show that you can depict things that just 'are'. So, our aim is to just keep it as simple and playful as possible. We try to keep it a bit silly too, and not over-intellectualise what we do - and that just might come across as provoking to some.

So, what awaits for SMUDSPEPP in the future?

Tomas: To continue to develop our collab, arranging some additional exhibitions and to also work on developing SMUDSPEPP as a concept.

Sebastian: Well, pretty soon we will end up in a very odd place where you normally wouldn't expect to see art. That's our current plan, we can't say too much about that right now. But, we want to create a small movement, to stir up some life into grey Stockholm, to add some playfulness and spread the word on fanzines, so, this is just the beginning for us.

Interview & Article by: Heather Ferrigan