Urban Attic Atl: This typically happens after I have awakened from a deep sleep, hence my title Dream Journals
Not everything is about being in touch with your emotions or manifesting the idiosyncrasies of blah blah blah. Some art is just about, catching the eye, and being the one thing that you’ll take home at the end of the day thinking… “That was dope, that was the most interesting thing I saw all day.” Maybe it doesn’t play out exactly like that for you, but I’m just saying… ease up with all the deep stuff for a minute and just enjoy the visual. That’s what husband and wife duo Alex and Jennie are carving their own lane in under the name Urban Attic Atl. Check out their work.
Your imagination is out there Alex. I love the Every Man series. When I first saw it at The Telephone Factory where I met you and your wife, I immediately went from looking to investigating, and breaking it down piece by piece. There’s so much going on and, to the eye, it’s very spontaneous. Tell me about the series, its development, and if that spontaneity is legit, or more so perception.
The Everyman Series was created entirely from my sketch journal that I scribble in when I’m hit with a jolt of inspiration. This typically happens after I have awakened from a deep sleep, hence my title “Dream Journals.” These are really just a brain dump which can end up being very rudimentary line art, or super detailed depictions of whatever is going on in my head at the time. These sketches are then juxtaposed into larger stories which become a sort of visual poetry.
I don’t think there is a specific plan in the beginning of each composition, but as I work through the creative process they begin to reveal a story of their own. I was interested in creating my own character that would eventually become “my signature,” that I could tag around the city with a stencil or a sticker, or whatever. So this bowling ball head was something simple enough, and intriguing enough to merit some exploration I thought. At the time I did not know there was another artist out there who uses the moniker “Everyman” in Atlanta… something to do with tiled monkey faces made of wood?
So when I found that out I was like, “shit! I need to come up with another name for this guy” (Still working on that part). Haven’t really gotten around to putting him up on telephone poles or top signs yet either. Who knows, he might just live on these Urban Attic boxes forever?
You have an uncanny ability to pair the vintage with the modern. Color-wise as well as image-wise. It’s always in a way that the two don’t simply share a space, but work together to create one cohesive piece. White Mike is my favorite example of this. What are your standards for that part of the process? I mean can you articulate some of what makes it feel right?
The vintage and modern fusion is something that I see being a very popular theme at the moment. And having not done many shows or festivals, I thought I would try to elaborate upon what my idea of the two might look like.
The first several “mash-ups” that were created using this process yielded very interesting results. With the encouragement of my wife, I just kind of let the ideas fly off the cuff without much regard for refinement.
Looking at this first series I have decided that there are several other things I would like to incorporate in the imagery; which I think Urban Attic fans will like too. White Mike seems to be a favorite for sure. I think the simplicity, the format and the color palette has a lot of attraction for people in the market for something approachable. I have gotten mixed responses about the Everyman Series simply because it strikes people as “weird” or “more edgy” than some of the traditional imagery themes we’ve been working on.
Marriage is hard work. It’s all about communication and teamwork. You and your wife are not only married, but business AND creative partners. How does it help with your work, and what are some of the challenges you guys face with working so closely together?
Well, to tell you the truth. We are not married YET. Jennie and I have only been engaged since December of 2011 and then we found out in January that she was pregnant! A wonderful surprise for both of us. So at the moment we are focusing on getting some space ready for the little one (not sure if its a boy or girl as of yet), and just mentally preparing for the huge change in our lives. We are super excited about being parents and we look forward to our creative journeyÂ through the eyes of parenthood.
Medium is just as important as imagery. It adds depth and dimension, therefore taking the image to a whole new level. You two have developed your own niche with such a calculated and unusual combination of materials for your work. Tell me about that discovery process. How did you arrive at using those specific materials and what were some of the challenges you had to overcome to make it work the way you needed it to?
I like to think that the medium is a work in progress still. We use a blend of screening and ink transfer techniques directly onto a wooden surface then topped with a counter top lacquer similar to what you might find on a bar top.
We were really impressed with how the gloss really helped the color pop off the wall while giving it a very refined and elegant feel. The gloss is both a blessing and a curse to some degree as it is terribly messy to work with, and it took us a while to really get the feel for the medium. I have thrown away many-a-piece of art because the mixture was done incorrectly and the gloss never dried. This resulted in a pretty box which was like untouchable, and as sticky as tree sap. I had a few sitting outside my old house which eventually became covered with insects and fly’s. Although an interesting thing in itself, probably not something that would be gallery worthy or even appealing to fans of Urban Attic. Currently I have plans to move forward with more traditional painting sans the glossy finish but rest assured there will be plenty of glossy pieces to go around.
Urban Attic Atl is all about getting artwork out without breaking anyone’s pockets to enjoy it… ALWAYS a plus. Check out all of their work, especially Meat Matters, as well as their latest showings on their website