Pirrip Press: February Artist of the Month February 09 2017
February is the lovely month of luurve. It's filled with the promise of a new year's beginnings, the daylight hours are getting longer combined with thinking about those we care about most... what's not to like?
Being partly in charge of The Turpentine is a bit like being an occasional parent to the 100+ independent artists and designers we work with. I feel a bit like they're our extended family. In this role as parent I'm aware that I'm not supposed to have favourites (but as it's the month of love lets just say that the following fellows are among those would get less chores from me!)
And so, without further ado, we thought we'd take a few minutes out of the print day to chat with Alex, half of the talented power twosome that is Pirrip Press. We talk about how she met George and started their business, the joys of being in Bristol and, of course, the usefulness of cable ties.
Tell us a bit about yourselves. Can you recall how and why you became a maker / makers (I guess how did you meet!)?
We met in Bath, years ago – we were both on the illustration BA there, but in different years. We’ve since lived in Bath, Penzance and then back up the line to Bristol.
We both started off as illustrators, but have branched out and got stuck in to all sorts - graphic design, writing, prop + set building, ceramics, self publishing etc., making stuff basically. I guess we just like to create ‘things’.
We spent forever making stuff when we were little; George and her sister had a lucrative line in Rose Perfume. I used to make endless numbers for friendship bracelets and hair-scrunchies, and my sister, our pals and I ‘ran’ a newspaper for a while!
I guess that encouragement when we were young to be imaginative, and the satisfaction you get from making things with your hands – having something physical to show for your work – is what led us down this path.
What are your main inspirations and influences for the work?
Everything is inspiring! Our general experience of the world, really, is what influences the work; from being out and about, making observations about the things we see and experience, to watching TV, reading books, listening to the news, language, visiting museums, talking to people. Learning new stuff and interpreting it.
There’s a lot of the ‘natural world’ in our work. We are both keen on nature – whether watching documentaries or walking or visiting museums. It’s all the stories in there; different creatures with amusing habits, how they’re formed, how they interact with each other and in their habitat, how plants grow, what the weather does, and all the stories and quirks you learn when you start looking into it.
What is the process?
The process depends on what we’re working on, but in general, we’ll have an idea, make some notes or a sketch and then work it up. We use illustrator to make our images, and then if we’re screen-printing the product (which we do with most of our stuff), prepare stencils for the screens. Then we head into the studio and get printing!
I love printing. There’s something about making lots of things all the same and laying them out neat, which is just lush. And using actual ink and paper, doing it all with your hands and tools; things you can touch and smell. I think the result is distinctive.
Where are you based and how does that affect your work?
We’re based in Bristol. Which is amazing.
In terms of inspiration and conception of ideas, we’re in a brilliant vibrant city with loads going on to pique our interest. The creative community is great – loads of like-minded people, support for the arts, and general good vibes.
We print in a shared studio here in Bristol – Spike Print Studio – within cycling distance from home + the city centre. It’s a great space with professional facilities, and we’re lucky to share it with a great bunch of other printmakers.
What do you enjoy most about being a maker?
It’s great to be fully in charge of how we do things. From what materials we use to how the day is structured and what projects we work on. We are in charge so if we want to make something funny and frivolous we can and if we want to do something serious we can too.
It’s nice to work with our hands. It’s nice to listen to our music / pod-casts while we work. It’s nice to get mucky. There’s variety in our working days – sometimes at our desks, sometimes in our shop, sometimes printing, sometimes skiving off (mainly in the summer) and claiming it as research. It really is though.
Valentines is coming up, what are some of the things/people you luuuurve?
Tomatoes, swimming, each other, walking, going up to the allotment, our sisters, summertime afternoon drinking, summertime, wonders of nature, stories, pictures, learning new stuff, the rest of our families and pals, neat piles of multiples, correctly identifying smells, bread, the idiosyncrasies of the people we love, pizza, making pictures, new words.
Do you have a top tip or what is something that others might think is a little odd but you think is actually brilliant? (mine is a peanut butter and wotsit sandwich)
Hmmm, apple dipped in peanut butter is good too.
Cable ties are infinitely useful.
It’s surprising how many DIY things you can botch with matchsticks and toothpaste.
Ah… I’m out.
You can check out more from Pirrip Press over on their website and Instagram
Professional photos by Jo Hounsome Photography who you can find here