Andrea recently spoke with Jamie Irvine and Kyle Noble, to discuss their upcoming artwork that they will be exhibiting at Naked Aye Art this April.
Jamie Irvine and Kyle Noble are a duo, who each input their own styles and reactions to the visual challenges set by the other, creating an organic and ever evolving narrative.
What are you showcasing at Naked Aye Art this year?
J: Kyle is away so we didn’t get the chance to do something new so we’ve had to go through our back catalogue of work and see what fits. I guess we had to go through it with a fine toothcomb and match this creepy theme which I think we’ve done. We picked some creepy somethings anyway.
K: Oh yeah, they definitely fit like a glove. We chose images which clearly fit the brief. Some of our work is surreal and wacky, and light-hearted to a degree, but most of our work is pretty subversive and dark. We are going to make them bigger for this show, they are going to be scaled up, so they will hopefully have the impact of being a big wall drawing almost, won’t they?
J: Yes I hope so. It should be cool. We’ve done big drawings before but we’ve never blown our drawings up to this scale, so it will be interesting to see how they look. We don’t know how they are going to turn out. That’s something exciting for us, to see what we end up with.
What mediums do you use?
K: So what we always use are pens and paper. It’s those tools and then the medium of our shared mind, the process of us being together, working together, drawing and sharing in the experience of making. Through all of this, coming up with something original, unplanned and very spontaneous. There’s a sense being closer to the immediate act of image making .
J: In Kyle and I’s individual practices, we each make highly detailed work. Spending a while on a particular image for a period of time can be quite clinical, and a sterile environment, whereas this can be quite chaotic and with pens all over the table. You get to relax a bit more and not be as precious with an image. I mean, I think it still holds the same merit as what we do in our own work, but the more spontaneous, free flowing style, that we have kind of adopted, or been adopted by works well and great imagery has come out of it. And yes we always work with pens, their marks strong and immediate, if we could get some kind of deal with Staedtler for their 0.05 pens that would be really good because that’s what we use. We could be like the face of Staedtler. Maybe from this we will hit the big time!
K: Yeah and adverts for Staedtler.
J: Yeah videos, billboards and the sides of buses.
K: Oh for sure, we might be the Staedtler gurus…
What’s it like working with each other?
J: He’s a nightmare! Horrible!
K: We bring out the worst in each other.
J: That’s true. I guess we became friends at university through our art. We didn’t meet and become friends through just chatting to each other. It was actually our tutor Dr Norman Shaw who said to each of us ‘you should go and see this guy and his work at his studio’. We didn’t know each other. We met each other as artwork first. It think the first time I went to your studio Kyle, you weren’t even there and it was just like walking into somewhere where a bomb had gone off.
J: Such a mess. I mean I started wearing gloves when I was drawing that’s how clean I wanted to be but this place was just like paint all over the walls, paint on the floor. I mean everything had something painted on it. Everything that he was doing was full colour and everything that I was doing was monochrome. I was like, why has he told me to go and check out what this guy is doing? It is nothing like what I am doing! Then I realised there were underlying similar inquiries. Now we are kind of like creative partners. Partners first, then friends after which is quite unusual.
K: Yeah at the time I was into making chance based paint patterns and trying to find mirrors into my mind through hallucinating over the suggestive forms and marks in the paint. Jamie was exploring deeply his mark making through automatic drawing, his mind would kind of fall out through pin sized pen work. Something along those lines drove us together and we started drawing together eventually. At the start I kind of felt that I was stepping on Jamie’s territory but of course it was all cool. We went to Amsterdam, didn’t we? That’s where it all kind of began. You got that travel award.
J: I don’t like to brag about it. I got a travel award to go to Amsterdam and Kyle came with me, we did a lot of drawing there.
K: That’s where the drawing started.
J: Did it? Yeah that’s where the drawing started. Yeah, and it was good there, it was very relaxed and gave us a platform where we could draw together without time based distractions. It was almost like a little drawing holiday.
K: Usually when we are working together it’s like we are sharing a kind of journey into madness for a period of time. Any suggestions Jamie makes with a pen, I will elaborate on which in turn are developed by Jamie. We kind of go into this tunnel which in many ways is quite child like. It’s very spontaneous and very free, we’re not really thinking of the after effects of what it is we’ve made. When I’m drawing on my own I would maybe work for half an hour and then start to slow down, but when we’re together and we’re sharing this vision, it has a real pace to it and drives itself forwards.
How has your style changed over the years?
K: It’s become more detailed hasn’t it?
J: Yeah, we also understand what each other motives are and now have a lot of imagery we can reference as part of our own visual language, we have recurring characters and scenarios that we like to pull out of the old dusty hat. Yeah, it’s become more detailed. I guess the works have become more graphic but sometimes we look back at the old things and there are similarities there. Our work together has evolved, it’s got better as we’ve kind of grown together.
K: Significant changes to the way we worked happened after art school, l went back to Aberdeenshire, and Jamie went back to Fife, we wanted to continue our work and defy the distance, so we started posting drawings to each other, in fact we posted two sketchbooks backwards and forwards. Later I went off to Taiwan for a year and Jamie was living in Glasgow at that time, again we bridged the distance, this time across the world. I think that’s when more detail and rendering of surfaces came up and some more complex imagery. Currently we try and have some pieces that we work on individually and when we meet up we exchange them and have a good session of making new work there and then.
What do you think the key elements are in creating a good composition?
J: If we had the answer we would probably be selling it.
K: I would say, to me, looking back at all our works we have done there’s been an element of simplicity there and a kind of symbolic element too. For me, that makes them successful, instantly connecting work. However, I also do the kind of sprawling, endless mind patterns that come out. My statement on that is sometimes it just happens. It’s just a strong simple to read message really. What would you say?
J: Yeah I like that. It’s hard to say really. I don’t think there is really a set rule because everyone would do it. It’s hard to tell sometimes, you come out and think yeah that’s great but I guess it’s just an opinion and what people decide is good.
K: It kind of like a visceral connection to the image it’s like a childhood response or something. It can be a really simple image or flash of an image and they’ll know or not. I don’t know, like it activates something deeper inside me.
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Jamie and Kyle’s work will be on show at Creep Me Oot, from April 2nd – 16th 2016, Gallery 1, St Margaret’s House, Edinburgh.