This week I popped along to the Heretic studio to meet printmakers and designers Jon, Luke and Therese for a cup o’ tea and a chat about good paper folds, dropping bad acid and my new favourite term “mind-fi” novels. Read more…
Tell us a little about how you got started…
Luke: We got this studio space with a group of us, we had some equipment, some inks, screens etc and got things going. Before that we were printing from home, I was living with Therese at the time, getting ink everywhere and it was cramped so we needed a studio space! We weren’t all working together at the time, just sort of sharing the space, some of us were in work or dossing or doing own projects and this sort of became a natural progression from that.
Therese: I have another studio as well which I work from and mainly use this one for print projects. Its really cold in this studio so you want to be printing and on your feet constantly to keep warm, you wouldn’t want to be sat here working on a computer all day!
Jon: Yeah this place is ideal spring/summer time! We moved to this bit of space within the building because of damp and lost some people along the way due to all the spiders and snails… Then it was just us guys and a ghost member for a while.
T: It was around the House of Fairy Tales project in 2008 I came into the group and then the project outside the Tate was our real first solo show.
L: But we’d done collaborative projects under the name Heretic previous to that too with things like Le Gun where they’d approached us after seeing some of our stuff around.
J: Yeah then we worked as Heretic as a collaborative name after that on all projects whether it was drawing, type stuff or posters.
L: From the exhibition shows we started to get some jobs, although we’re big on self initiated exhibitions. Me and Therese printed together at LCP (now LCC) and me and Jon were drawing together before. We never really set out for it to be the three of us, it just naturally happened this way which is nice. We like working collaboratively with people though, like with Thee Marquis of Nowhere, we get a narrative to illustrate or like when we did a sound installation with him.
J: Sometimes projects start with just an idea, we’ll just be chatting or in the pub whether it be music or writing so be it. It develops from there.
L: Its nice to keep things on a collaborative level, you can’t over control it and the outcome is always a surprise.
Whats your favourite project you’ve worked on recently?
L: The most fun project we’ve worked on recently is this one (points to the table of neon trippy designs) with Psych for Sore Eyes with an independent record label. We met the label boss through a friend and did a few posters and then he came to us with this idea for a double 7″ sleeve and were left really to do what we wanted. Which is always cool.
T: Yeah he had in his head he wanted something 3D but other than that…
L: Thursday 21st is the launch night and we’re printing for the back drops today, its always nice to take a project and use the designs in different ways.
J: We just wanted to create the most warped feel.
T: We also wanted the sleeve design to be just one sheet, it turned out to be a bit of a time consuming fold but its worth the time as its quite tactile.
L: Yeah a tripped out fold to go with the design. The initial cover design is quite simple then it draws you in to this vortex, really mind bending like dropping some bad acid. (everybody laughs)
Its nice to have the clients where we can kind of do what we want, we’re often lucky like that and we’re left to be quite free.
T: Its kind of important though, you have that freedom because the client comes to you because they trust you so naturally give you that freedom.
L: We’re doing a lot of music covers at the moment actually. We worked recently with Tim Burgess. He came to us because he liked a typeface that Therese designed which we had on some posters that he’d seen. He came to us with a photo and an idea and we did the vinyl sleeve and inserts, and the tour poster for him based on the original poster he’d seen.
On a serious note, what did you guys have for breakfast this morning?
J: Well I had biscuits… and an apple turnover. And a tea…
T: Two cups of tea and two pieces of toast with cheddar.
L: One piece of toast with just butter… then one piece of toast with this really strong cheddar we’ve got.
Do you each have specialities or strengths within the studio? For example how do you split the roles of a project?
J: Well it depends on the project really, Therese does a lot of photo collage.
L: we kind of jam on ideas and any of us start really.
T: For visuals someone starts and it usually gets passed around and they’ll add to it. If a brief comes in, whoever’s idea gets taken on usually takes the lead.
L: Yeah we’ll put three ideas in, then whichever one is picked we’ll still join together and develop it.
T: I spend a lot of time doing book design too so i’ll usually focus on layout stuff.
Do you have a particular soundtrack or playlist going on while you work in the studio?
(They get out a tiny handheld mixing deck and start making trippy warped sounds at me laughing.)
J: Its usually an iPod on shuffle so it could be ANYTHING. Although we have a website called Toxic Island Radio and we’ll often put playlists on there.
L: Me and Jon both collect records too so it could be anything, really old or something new. We’re always on the lookout for something new, like Bernard Parmegiani. Thats one of our current ones. We had a thing for trying to discover something new each day.
What are you all reading at the moment?
T: I’m reading Paul Auster- Sunset Park but I’ve sort of read everything by him.
J: Im reading Jarred Diamond- The Third Chimpanzee and The book on taboo and knowing who you are.
L: Jarred Diamond also, we were like “this guy sounds like the f**king man!” and went on amazon and ordered some of his books together. Also Phillip K Dick- A Scanner Darkly, if you like Sci-Fi Miranda, you’ll love this. But its not quite Sci-Fi, more like “Mind-Fi”. (laughs)
Now for the most important question of all…
Whats your favourite biscuit?
(A ruckus of answers are shouted all at once)
J: I’ll say Tutki’s, they’re a Turkish biscuit or Jezyki’s. These ones (points at plate on the table) are Biskrem’s, they’re good… a little more together.
T: I prefer cake to biscuit really… Oh Dutch caramel waffles are good.
L: Wait Oreo biscuits actually.
J: Actually, no wait, Choco Leibniz over a Tutki any f**king day.
A huge thank you and big love to Jon, Luke and Therese for having me in the studio, taking their time out to chat work, inspiration and nonsense and letting me snap their creative home.
Check out their website and see their incredible and hearty portfolio of truly innovative work.
Interview and photographs by Miranda Foxx