NICO / Ornamental Conifer Interview
Part 1 - beginnings
Intro Para about the jackets at Blitz
Starting with a love of typography and sign painting rather than the trend for graffiti etc at the time Nico graduted from Middlesex Uni where he had been placed to prove himself and avoid a prison sentence. When he graduated he was abke to show the police that his work was actually a viable art-form and avoid prison for painting trains. In uni he didn’t use a computer but made things and took pics of them if he was making a poster or whatever instead of using computers – he loved old school constructivism etc he didn’t tell anyone he did graffiti because it had become a commodity at this time, unless he was trying to pick up a girl
Leaving school he got picked up by some big clients including rebranding for bumble and bumble – these were more interested in his hand-drawn work.
Then he made a sign for his gf which was a catalyst along with blogs and exhibitions. At this time he worked under two names – oc & Nicolai slater – allowed anonymity plus it was a cunning way to sell twice as much work, plus the name oc sounded like an art studio so when he was asking people to collaborate or to work for him
His girlfriend keeps him on the ball with blogs, references and whats going on
Part 2 - bikers
2 years ago he started painting jkts because he wanted to be in a motorbike gang and he workedon jkts for some big names he loved and repected like deathspray customs, he ws about to move on to new objects but then he met John and he loved the idea of working on pieces that are relevant and specific to the person they’re for.
This collection took 1 month to put together
He likes always and forever best because he’d wanted to use the heart as the V in forever for some time.
The jackets identity – its style and shape and look – dictated the artwork – he’d spend ages looking a a jacket and thinking, right who wore this, he’s a big guy in a brown leather bomber... so he mustve been like....
‘guilty party’ – came from the fact john hadn’t taken the security tag off, so he felt guilty painting it like he’d nicked it lol – also the kind of girl who’d wear that jkt would maybe drink too much – almost a slut at a party
Same with ‘hello there’ – this is a jkt for a flirty girl
Loves the idea of a jkt having a 2nd life, maybe the person who used to own it would see it on the street and see it had gone on to a new owner with this new art on it
Part 3 – influences
Straight up influences – punks, rockers and greasers and gangs
70s nyc rap gangs
Stuart, zadig and Voltaire jkts
Bombers in the army with their plane names painted on
Mostly bikers and gangs
Does he listen to music when he works?
Garage, punk, radio 6, 90s uk hiphop
The link between mo wax, ninja tune & future – he loves how future wasn’t using canvases at a time when graf was misappropriated to the art galleries
Will barress, skae and bmx crews, jim Philips – all this generation that are now 30 were making mixtapes and drawing graffiti on the tape and the tracklist and they went on to make big logo t shirts that were anti establishment – it was like hiphop was the new punk, before computers and playstation – ‘the right side of ’84 had the last of the cool stuff’ – tape players, old school computers, no mobiles or facebook, basic technology. The end of the 2nd wave of punk really