ASVP STUDIO VISIT
ASVP are two gentlemen who wish to remain anonymous for the time being, as a large part of their work takes root in the streets and is legally questionable. ASVP have been pursuing their craft together for the better part of 6 years and while maintaining a healthy presence in the street via wheatpastings, murals and stickers – they are allowing these themes to evolve naturally in gallery spaces as well.
1. Can you talk a bit about what brought the two of you together to form ASVP?
We initially met as part of a creative team in an ad agency. Over the course of four years, we worked on several projects together, eventually decided that we wanted to refocus our efforts on something more personal. We slowly cut the blood supply to our commercial projects and eventually started the studio.
2. How did this mutual background influence your initial mind set?
We both learned similar things in the agency environment. Creatively it trained us to be collaborative, open to collectively shaping ideas and designs which often made the work better. Operationally, we worked as members of a large-scale, professional creative practice, this taught us to be accountable in respect to creating work with high production value, meeting deadlines, etc. These experiences provided the underpinnings that we based the studio on.
3. Before forming ASVP had you had mentioned working with Faile, how did that play a part in getting things kick started?
I went to college with Pat McNeil, he was a friend before he and Miller formally started Faile, so that’s where the initial connection came from. In the late ‘90s through the early ‘00s, Faile initiated a series of themed, handmade books that were compilations, contributed to by roster of artists that they selected. I contributed pieces to three of four books in the series. The work I created for the books was more fulfilling than the agency work I had done and opened my eyes to what who else was going on out there. During the agency days, these projects always sat in the back my mind as something I’d rather be doing. Eventually, I found a talented friend with a similar vision and we went that way.
4. In a day in age where everyone wants access to everything, street artists have become celebrities in their own rights (i.e. RETNA and Shepard Fairey, etc.) For the most part you have kept your personal identities anonymous. What has it been like remaining unseen amidst the popular scene?
It’s annoying. We originally concealed our identities because of the legal grey area surrounding how we were publicly sharing some of our work. With the proliferation of the movement over the last 10 years or so, the medium has gained wider acceptance, been more widely encouraged and its perception as a, “serious crime” seems to be softening. You still have to keep your eyes open, but let’s face it, the last 10 years have brought far more significant priorities to law enforcement in major cities across the world. Eventually we’ll lift the veil.
5. I first became familiar with your work via your Balaclava poster that was pasted around New York. What is the messaging behind a menacing looking figure with a ski mask covered in hearts and a halo above his head?
The piece touched on how fickle popular opinion has become, from loving and worshiping something one day to vilifying and dismembering it the next. How quickly we judge, like and dislike things seems like it’s heading toward a disturbingly insensitive place. It’s creepy to think that the pace with which we judge things, people etc., is becoming a less and less thoughtful, a more automatic operation.
6. What are some of the reoccurring ideologies that make their way into your work?
The concepts of luck, chance and the fantasy of succeeding through randomness have occurred in several of our pieces in the last few years. Late last year we created several pieces as part of a series titled, Make Your Own Luck. The pieces were given a sterile, unadulterated look and featured a number of, “Special Objects” which have engendered creative thinking, and been responsible for stimulating millions of people’s imaginations, usually in the earlier stages of life.
7. How did your recent Make Your Own Luck series come about?
The MYOL series stemmed from a previous series featuring, paper raffle tickets with our images embedded inside of them, that read, “KEEP THIS COUPON.” Originally, it was basically a wise crack about the how much, “Street Art” was being packaged, pushed-out and purchased by everyone, everywhere. We still like the image a lot, there’s something ridiculous but truthful in the idea that the ticket itself can transform into the prize that is ultimately sought after.
8. Tell us about your mural project in Chicago. You’ve participated in a few mural projects — What is it like working on something large scale as opposed to a wheat pasting campaign?
We were asked to create the mural in Chicago through Vertical Gallery and Columbia College for the Wabash Art Corridor. We were humbled and honored to have been among the world-class group of artists that have created pieces there. We painted a large scale version of our Triple Crown image on Sugarlift Gallery in Brooklyn recently as well. Working large scale is hard work but the result is always rewarding. Size definitely matters and having large scale versions of the work out there for people to see and experience is something that we will always embrace.
9. Beyond the street – how do you see your practice evolving?
We’re currently developing 12 pieces that are larger in scale than we've previously made with the hope of showing them as our first, large-scale, indoor installation. We’re super excited about it and think the new work could see us hit an entirely new gear. We’ll keep you posted.