We caught up with the newly formed Bristol based creative outfit 'Cretin Collective' on a particularly cold day in early February. They were busy painting a wall on Bristol's North Street opposite Upfest gallery, who recently hosted their first collaborative show 'Cretin Invasion' (see two posts below for photos and details). Here's what they had to say for themselves! We arrived slightly later than planned, so sorry the photos don't show the progression of the piece too well.
A: First of all, who/what is the Cretin Collective?
SP76: After a busy year of completing collaborative projects together SPZero76, Loch Ness and Squirl have decided to form their own crew, which already features their combined art styles but creates a banner for them all to feature under. As with their work over 2011 they will continue to work alongside loads of amazing artists, crews, businesses, projects and galleries, just under the guise of Cretin. It’s time for the Cretin Invasion!
A: Any reason behind the name?
SQ: Cretin as a word used to have quite harsh connotations, but we are not using it to be controversial or unkind. It is a title that makes sense for three artists whose characters, and comic book inspired artworks never seem to grow up! In our own ways we all forgot to move forward and start taking ourselves very seriously (like artists are supposed to).
A: So what are you doing down here today freezing your collective nads off?
LN: We’re trying to have fun painting a mural in the cold; and promoting our exhibition which is currently running at the Upfest Gallery in Bristol.
SQ: We are working without a plan over the work of Cheo which to be honest is a bit painful. I'm a big fan of his work, so covering him up with our cretinous doodles feels bad. The cans are freezing, its hard to spray with gloves on and SPZero76 is getting very angry with his character today! hopefully it will turn out alright!
SP76: My painting wasnt going well, so I was getting angry with the art, not anyone else! Ha!
A: How did you all meet in the first place and how did CC come to be?
LN: I actually met SPzero76 at a group exhibition at Weapon of Choice in 2010. We spoke about the possibility of working together in 2011 and it basically went from there. 2011 went reasonable well for both of us, we started building up work and creating more murals around Bristol. We were both part of Collaboration Nation and were asked to create a Secret Wars Team for Upfest 2011, that’s when I first met Squirl.
SQ: SPzero76 got in contact with me after seeing a design i had done for a mambo competition, and asked me to get involved in collaberation nation which he runs. It's a great project and has introduced me to loads of really talented illustrators and artists including Loch Ness. We got together as a three to take part in 'secret wars' at Upfest 2011 where we somehow managed to win. From this point we have worked together quite a bit, and that is why cretin collective was formed.
SP76: When I was organising Collaberation Nation 2 I chased some of the best artists who entered the Mambo Surf Deluxe tee comp on Facebook and stole them for the Collab! Squirl was one of those!
A: Loved the recent show at Upfest gallery, have you got any other shows planned for 2012?
SP76: We dont have anything planned, but we are all gonna paint like crazy and create something even more amazing for the next show plus we will be looking to get involved in more group shows!
LN: Not sure at the minute to be honest, we’ll just see what 2012 brings. It’s always great to exhibit your work to the public and I’m sure Cretin collective will be showing more of what we can do over the next year.
A: Your styles are all different but compliment each other nicely. How do you go about creating a collaborative canvas or wall? Does one person do the background, two concentrate on the foreground or what?
SQ: To be honest it's always a little bit organic, one of us starts a piece, and the other two add to it. The end product is based on a combined understanding of composition, characters, colour, and what we want from a piece. The quality of the end product Is generally a matter of luck really!
A: What are your favourite mediums to work in and favourite places to paint?
LN: I usually use pen and paper but do expand into the digital realm at times. I love experimental with paints and Spray cans especially when creating murals and pieces for exhibitions.
SP76: I love drawing the most, but I'm starting to love painting in acrylic and emulsion on canvas! I still feel that I need to practice a lot with spray paint, and I really wanna play with watercolours more too over the next year.
SQ: I'm most comfortable with a pencil, paper and an ink pen really, as that is what i have used since i was little. Nowadays I do quite a bit of work using the computer and the wacom, but when I'm making paintings it's generally with spray paint. i still have a lot of learning to do, and try to get in as much practice as I can, so that when I put work in front of people it isn't too embarrassing!
A: Favourite artists?
SQ: I've always admired Leonardo da Vinci for the way he was always forward thinking, and tried his hand at just about everything from sculpture, to engineering to unbelievably good drawing. Since making the decision to be a self employed artist I'm constantly looking around at other people who are working now, and being inspired. I'm lucky enough to have worked with some brilliant artists already, and I always get something from the collaborative process. I reckon we are right in the middle of a period in time where there are a massive number of talented artists, illustrators and designers, and it's really hard to stand out from the crowd.
LN: That’s a hard question, there’s too many great artist’s out there! When I was growing up I got hooked on DC & Marvel graphic novels, especially the work of Stan Lee. I then got into Tank Girl and the works of Jamie Hewlett. However, there’s so many great artists in Bristol which I admire the work of and always inspire me. Bristol has a great scene and it’s always great to see graffiti by Bristol’s best everyday as you walk down the street.
SP76: Yeah I agree with Loch Ness! Too many great artists, I couldnt possibly narrow it down to just a few!
A: Do you have any major goals you'd like to achieve as a collective?
SQ: Cretin has a lot of potential to move forward in all kinds of directions. At the moment we are just strolling along and seeing where it takes us, but to me it makes a lot of sense to be working with these two, as we get on! And nobody thinks they are above anybody else. we are coming from a similar place, and that can only be good for the future.
A: Anything else coming up you'd like to tell us about?
SQ: We are going to be doing a lot of stuff with 'Cretin and Special guests' where we will be collaborating with chosen artists from all over the world. People we all appreciate, and who can bring something different to add to our pieces. Simon Mitchell was in on the Upfest exhibition as our first special guest, and did some great stuff with Loch Ness. Keep your eyes peeled for more of these collaborations. Im really excited about some of the people we have lined up! Other projects, exhibitions and things will definitely be popping up too.
Also make sure you 'like' the Cretin Collective Facebook Page to keep up to date with what we're getting up to!
A: Any shout outs?
SP76: Thanks to Upfest for the show and many other oppurtunities, and to Antidote!
Thanks to Cheba and Sam at Weapon of Choice for helping me get my art out to a wider audience in the first place and helping me get back on this scene. And a big thanks to Squirl and Loch Ness for being great guys and good friends, and making my art look better! and a final Thanks to Cheo for not hitting us when he was watching us ruin his piece!
LN: Thanks to Upfest Gallery for allowing us to exhibit our work, it was a great pleasure. And thanks to Antidote for the interview.
Thanks to everyone who’s taken an interest in our work, and these guys for always pushing me to take my work to the next level.
SQ: Shout outs to SPZero76 for introducing me to all of this, and drawing me out of my hermits cave in a distant land. Loch Ness for wanting to work with me! And for his amazing ability to bring collaborative pieces together. Upfest gallery for putting on our first joint show. All of the artists i have had the pleasure to work with so far, and all those i will be working with in the future.