❤ bamboo bisous from France ❤
Pinar Demirdag and Viola Renate, are an independent graphic design duo which creates hyper detailed surfaces by ‘scanning’ the contemporary visual culture, and ‘printing’ ecstatic surfaces in return. Their work invites the viewer to experience a kind of visual ecstasy in front of our two-dimensional surfaces.
That’s why they started using the term ‘Ecstatic Surface Design’ to frame our graphic design practice. Ever since 2009, one year after they met at the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, they have been sharing this vision of what their graphic design should be about. As Pinar&Viola, they initiated a new modus operandi in the cosmos of graphic design which is an experiment on the fulfillment of surfaces. Every year, they’ll be launching an autonomous Ecstatic Surface Collection which tends to be recognized as the ‘haute couture’ of our practice.
Could you tell us someting about Pinar&Viola?
From the streets of the internet. Totalitarian and decadent. In love since 3 years. Allergic to nostalgia and to people who depict luxury with white on black.
How would you two describe your work?
The description is written by Erika Spray, commissioned by Etapes Magazine: “Pinar&Viola, formed by Pinar Demirdag and Viola Renate, is an independent graphic design duo which creates hyper detailed surfaces by ‘scanning’ the contemporary visual culture, and ‘printing’ ecstatic surfaces in return. Colossal visual gestures, hyper intricate detail and excessive embellishment fill their collaged designs to the brim. The highly artificial character of Pinar&Viola’s work testifies thе ‘flat’ media sphere made up of solely recycled material. By transposing, fusing and altering its elements, they aim to subvert conventional compositions. These notions all collapse into one single surface of visual insatiability and informational intensity.”
Can you tell us something about some of the work you have done in the past?
Every time we have a new ecstatic surface design commissioned, it’s always dramatically different. We so far made commissioned artworks for Stedelijk & Cobra Museum, made patterns for fashion designers, a cover and video for Diplo, a porn site, company video for a technological company which makes eyes for cyborgs, stained glass windows for a synagogue.. Which sometimes creates a daily oximoron in our outfit choices for meetings with clients. Few times, we had a meeting planned in the same day with a rabbi and the porn site client. Next to our commissioned practice, every year we launch an autonomous graphic design collection that are called Ecstatic Surface Collections. So far we launched The Credit card Collection 2011 and Diva Opaque: Anonymous Guardians of Intimacy 2012. We see these collection as the haute couture garments of our design practice, where we reflect on the contemporary, while imagining fictive scenarios for the future.
What is your work process like?
We both separately make a research around the theme, later on come together and start composing text files which seek for one notion / idea / image which will tingle our minds and will make us fantasize. We continue searching until we both find an idea which makes our hear beat stop for a second. We create separately for a little while, and come back together in order to start the ping-pong game. The file is transferred between our screens until it’s hand crafted a la haute couture. In that stage if we both like the result, that means that something is majorly wrong. We both need to be disturbed by the image somehow. It should be sexy yet monstrous in the same time. Sometimes, even if all the ingredients are in there, the image is still not convincing. We call the unnamed missing element the ‘the x-effect’. Our surfaces are composed of so many layers that if one thing is extra or missing, it would easily look ‘off’ or misunderstood.
Do you think your work has any drawbacks?
From hours of digital craftsmanship, we both have RSI, repetitive stress injury, also known as the mouse sickness among folk. I guess we weren’t clever when we decided to restore the dignity of ornament and decoration without the crippling weight of nostalgia.
What do you love most about your work?
Everything! From scanning the digital, contemporary, folk, cultures, to print special edition, custom-made fanatical, overloaded, sedusive yet confronting surfaces. From updating our blog where we display our fascinations and fantasies, to hours of despair when we are looking for an idea. But I guess where we have the most fun is when we have a tight deadline and we wish a day is 50 hours, not 24. There, we go to our summer house in Amsterdam, and stay there for couple of days / a week where we feed ourselves with peanut butter, chocolate and energy drink and play ping-pong with digital files. And the thing which is less heart-lifting is the opening or the launch of a new project. We are the only ones bored in the room, thinking “What is next?”.
You have a rather unique style of art that you create. Tell us about it, and how you developed it.
We consider style a nostalgic visual reference, used in a situation where the context is over imposed to its content. Beyond style, each surface of ours embrace a different message that we keen on delivering. Even though a general over-loaded, flamboyant, disorienting and ecstatic etiquette might be placed, throughout its content, elements outshining the surface differs. It was right before we started our practice, at Sandberg Instituut, that we decided to create ecstatic surfaces as a rejection of the standardization and democratization of design and it’s software, making the ‘hand-crafted’ originality vanish. More politically speaking, our surfaces are a commentary on the dominant rigid Western modernistic ‘outfit’ and suggested return to decorative traditions a statement about the relationship between Western and non-Western cultures.
What was your first contact with art?
Pinar: It was the beginning of my teenagehood, mum was holding a Pirelli Calendar. She replied “It’s Art” when I asked her why she was staring at naked women. After seeing my eyes devoid of content, she later added that it will take time for me to understand the difference between Art and naked women. As impatient as a kid on energy drink, in my path to understand Art, I did everything to fast forward the time with the pre-googleian research tools of 90s. Viola: The first art in my live was my mother’s art and her craftsmanship skills. Thanks to her multi-talents I was surrounded with sculptures, paintings, early computer drawings, embroideries and woodworkings starting from day one. Obviously my first cudly toy was made by her.
What is the driving force behind your inspiration?
Strategies, notions, ideologies, subcultures, technology, behaviors, etc which reflects the year where we live in. From creative hair etchings to self-made internet ghetto gold vedettes; from celebrities attacking paparazzis to luxurious orthodox religious accessories; from low in luxury usb pendants to high in decadence, diamonds engraved in credit cards; from electronic cigarettes to food art; from Steve Job’s monotone clothing style to Ghaddafi’s decadent dictator wardrobe, etc. Basically, we take our inspiration from contemporary conflicts, paradoxes, oxymorons, ironies, optimizations, fanatics, disorders, powers, esoterics, counter glamour and the heat of the info glut. We also prefer to be transparent about our inspiring sparks and muses. We have a blog, www.pinar-viola.com/blog, where we upload our found treasures. They are all results of our online and offline (in real life) trips, while traveling with our ‘ecstatic radar’ switched on.
Has there been a particular project or client you found to be the highlight of your career so far?
Yes, it’s the fist ecstatic video we did. In beginning December, we were negotiating with Mad Decent boys, for a possible music video, based on the cover artwork we did for Diplo. The thing is, we preferred not to communicate that we haven’t put a static image in motion so far. Meanwhile, we got an assignment to make an ‘artistic’ promotion video for a spanish technology company making chips for cyborgs’ eyes. Yes, we’re kind of an glam-odd-magnet when it comes to assignments. No one believed that we could pull off a hyper filled 3min video in less than a month, not mentioning that we never made a video before, and that Pinar had RSI (repetitive stress injury) during the entire month. This assignment, Vera Focus, made us realize that we’d love to be drawn in the endless ocean wide world of video making, the next best thing in our practice.
Do you believe in a secret to success?
We don’t think it’s any secret. Be stubborn, obsessed, driven, in love with what you do, dedicate all your time, remix your privileges, not take no as an answer, take action in a moment when nobody expects, work harder than any urban-myth-hard-working-youngster story you heard, and have at least one person in the world who aggress with you.
Is there something you’d like to achieve?
As everything else, when it comes to our aims, they are also over-loaded. We aim to blur the line between art and design, to put spotlights on graphic design among its sister creative practices, to put back the dignity of ornamentation, to be able to have an intellectual discussion around the end 20th-and-beginning-21st-century forbidden-art-critic-word ‘beauty’, and to be 75 years old and still working together.
What’s next in your career? Any big projects coming up?
We are currently extending our practice to Istanbul. Now busy preparing our Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013, which will be launched in Istanbul in May 2012 in Murat Pilevneli’s new project space.
We decided to give away a Pinar&Viola secret, artist impressions.
We’re both freakin precise when it comes to an exhibition set-up. First we reconstruct the entire exhibition in the online digital realm, then apply it on the offline physical space. First 2 images are from our Ecstatic Surface Collection 2011, The Credit Card Collection. The 3rd and the 4th belong to our second collection, Diva Opaque, Anonymous Guardians of Intimacy and the last 2 are from Open Portraiture.
Currently we’re bust reconstructing the space at Pilevneli Project, where our Ecstatic Surface Collection 2013 will be launched in September 2012. We’ll reveal more secrets sometime soon.
We have a surprise gift! A pattern for you to use as a background for the Photo Booth. Super easy! Open Photo Booth, go at the end of the effects. Drag/drop the pattern in an empty background and start making pics immersed in an ecstatic surface. We look forward to see you immersed in our pattern!
Post yourself in our Facebook timeline or tweet it to us. Love, Pinar&Viola
James Kuhn: “I am an artist, retired drag queen, whiteface clown, former nudist, born again Christian, average 46 year old guy… Well maybe not exactly average! I love to paint on anything, including most recently, flesh!”
Click here for a related former blog post about face painter Hilary Leigh.
Woouuuu! We launched The panda Show yesterday and it took off to himalayas. Download The Panda Webcam App and Incarnate in a panda too!!! We’d love to see more pandas ♡ There can never be enough pandas!
Send us your panda via Twitter and Facebook.
♡ NEW Panda Webcam App ♡
The Panda Show is a webcam application which enables you to make pictures of yourself with a panda mask. We custom-tailored this playful application for Nicolas Formichetti, to make his Panda Family grow.
Yes! We can never have enough pandas!
Download The Panda Show, make a pic of yourself and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
The technology of this app is developed by Hilal Koyuncu.
Before you use this app make sure you have good lighting otherwise ghost bunnies will freak you out. Make sure you turn of any software that uses the camera on your computer (photo booth, Skype, etc.) Unfortunately PC version is not available yet. All of your photos will be saved in the data folder.
We collected this real tech pandas while we were busy with a new work: The Panda Show (coming soon!). Get high by the graphical attraction of these photogenetic cheap-tech panda gadgets:
This post is made possible thanks to Jugglu