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Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Interview with Oh Death

An interview by Kendal Morgan

This photo was taken when Oh Death dropped in to our office during the week to sign one of his prints.

Where did the moniker of Oh-Death come from?

I think I saw it on a flyer or a notice? I thought it was a pretty
original name so I kept it. I haven't seen it being used anywhere
since so it became the moniker of my creative output as a side project
and collective aside from normal commercial work.

What inspired it and what is its meaning to you?

As well as sounding quite original, the name also lends itself to
quite a dark area of design, skulls, horror etc. but I've stayed well
away from attaching a goth/emo tag to the name. I like designs and
graphics that make subliminal statements, that are dark in humour and
content and not your everyday tee graphic. To me, Death is fascinating
as its the be all and end all of life and is feared by almost
everyone. This provides scope for designs as well setting a mood for
the moniker as something different.

How do the collective blend illustration, graphics and music?

As a collective we all studied graphic design and went into working
within the fashion graphics industry in one way or another. We each
have an independent design and illustration style so we can all bring
something different to the table when creating graphics. As for music,
two of us have previously Djed together and organised party events and
have aspirations to focus more on producing and remixing music.
Oh-Death brings together everyone's creative interest that we can not
achieve through our normal 9-5 jobs and provides a base where all
talent's can be fused, be it a record sleeve, poster, T-shirt or

Do you think one artistic concept can easily translate across many

I already use my illustrations to print on both T-shirts and Posters.
I like to be able to make the work accessible to everyone. If you
don't want to wear a T-shirt, get the poster and vice versa. I also
believe that all artistic concepts are inspired by each other in one
way or another. Music is a big inspiration on my work just as
illustration complements music in the form of album sleeve artwork.

It seems like many different pop culture icons find their way into the
work. How do you choose the icons you decide to interpret and there
any common aspect they all share?

I find myself heavily influenced by pop culture, what I see and hear
every day. I tend not to fall into the hype of the media, believing
everything I read. I try and look at it from different angles. I like
to make people aware of my view on things, through my work. Its a hard
thing to achieve and I have no doubt that a high percentage of people
who like my work like it for its design rather than its aesthetic
purposes. The Vamp design for example was a response to the media's
portrayal of Amy Winehouse. Every day I read the same story about her
and it bemused me how callous the media can be, just to sell papers.
In the illustration I portrayed Winehouse as a vampire, a creature of
the night, someone who was feared or hated by the public because of
them being different just as Vampire's have been portrayed in films
and stories.

How do you feel about the crossover between street art and fine art?
Are the two genres so vastly different or is there more in common than
we might first think?

I think both are different in their own ways but both are mediums of
which the artist can convey a message or meaning to the viewer. Of
course I am opinionated about art pieces in both areas, some are good,
others are not. I think as long as the piece can engage the viewer
then I believe that both areas are alike. Artists like Banksy are
paving the way for street art to be accepted into museums by what has
been traditionally ignored by the art world.

Is fine art cannibalizing the freshness of graffiti and street artists?

I think admirers and artists alike need to be aware of other art
mediums or platforms. Whether street art makes it into galleries or
not, it should still be respected just the same. Street art is made
with a limited life span as you never know when it'll get sprayed over
or washed off the wall. Preserving it in the form of posters and
t-shirts is, in my opinion just the same as having a gallery pin a
piece on its wall.

What is your ultimate goal for your creations? Is it more important to
have them hanging in the Tate, or on a street corner where all kinds
of people can see them?

I invision Oh-Death bringing together fashion, illustration and music
and being accessible for all. Of course it would be a privilege to get
some work into the Tate but I want to get it out there as much as
possible. T-shirts are a good form of exposure but if you want to just
hang a print in your home that's fine too. Both individually and as a
collective we do what we love doing and try to get it out there into
the public eye.

Oh Death limited edition prints are available to purchase on our site http://www.littleartbook.com/. You can also find out more about him on his blog and on myspace


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