Photography / Editorial / Print

LoveJordan is the collaborative work of two artists, Jonny Love and Samuel Jordan. We caught up with them at their studio in Wimbledon, from where they produce a varied body of contemporary work, strongly infuenced by colour, complex visuals, cities and architecture.

Tell us about how you started and forming a team with Samuel?

Jonny: I left school shortly after my GCSE's. I took art as a subject, but failed miserably receiving a 'D'. I was disheartened with how rigidly structured art lessons were and felt my freedom to explore ideas were quashed under pre-approved expectations of what I should be producing. Despite the poor grade, I decided that on top of a retail job, I would draw portraits as a way of earning extra money. The year or so of producing these portraits were invaluable and soon realised portraiture was not for me and I began experiment with different styles and subjects for my own pleasure. Most of these early works have been sadly lost or destroyed and the few remaining are spread amongst family members and friends. During a visit to Southampton I was introduced to Sam through a friend. Sam hadn't considered art as a profession, but talking to each other and exchanging ideas, we seemed to click in a profound way. I continued to produce work for myself but included Sam in the creation process. Our styles seemed to merge perfectly, complimenting each other and above all it felt right.

... and the studio?
I think you need a good group of supporters around you when you are trying to go forward in a fiercely competitive industry. Our biggest supporter who saw our work had huge potential was my father and mother. They gave us the final nudge into making us fully freelance artists by funding a space at Wimbledon Art Studios for a year which gave us a chance to build up a portfolio and presence. Today we are still at Wimbledon Art Studios, but in a much bigger studio without financial help, and we couldn't be happier with the work we are producing.

How does working as a team shape your work and aesthetic, you mentioned you both have individual styles you bring to the table?

We are acutely aware that its not common practise for more than one artist to share the same work but we have managed to merge our ethos perfectly together without any problems. Working on the same piece of work requires us to be harmonious with ideas. Our styles are different but we make sure they are mixed amongst the piece to to create different textures and tones. I often feel we are like oil and water trying to mix but instead of one dominating, we float between each other. 

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Inspiration comes from many sources. Growing up in such a fascinating city such as London would probably be the main inspiration. Seeing the city as a child and being amazed at its vastness and its endless activities was a huge catalyst for the love we feel for it and we hope that shows through in our portraits of it. Questions and numbers also play a role in our thought process - "what does 1 million look like?" for example. 1 million can look like anything; 1 million dots, 1 million ants, 1 million bricks. Each of these millions are vastly different and hard to imagine. We try and ask questions like this and produce pieces with a statistic attached.

You mentioned that the sizes of the pieces have changed over time, do you envisage working on large installations some day?

We always look at blank canvases and paper and immediately want to fill it with our ideas. These blank canvases have grown larger over the years to cater to our thirst for a challenge, so naturally a blank space and an invite to fill that space would be the ultimate goal to satisfy us. At Wimbledon Art Studios November show, we are pleased to announce we will indeed have our first installation which will consist of 15-20,000 individual pieces filling the space. We're going to remain a bit sketchy on the details as we want it to be a complete surprise with no expectations.

What art do you most identify with?

We both enjoy and identify with similar works. Pieces where you can see an intense labour and smart ideas executed in simple ways. Japan seems to be harbouring much of our favourite art and artists including; Yasuaki Onishi's 'Reverse' which involves thousands of wire lengths holding up a vast sheet which then emulates mountains. Also the works of Tokujin Yoshioka, in particular 'The Snow,' which is a giant snow storm created using pure white feathers behind vast glass.

Most of your works are very intricate and time consuming.  What has been the longest project to date?

Our longest project has been 'Chaos', consisting of a single ink line crossing over itself creating an estimated 36,000 segments. Each segment is then outlined thickly in pencil and then the centre is shaded. Not only was this our longest project at just over 180 hours, but our most physically and mentally demanding. With so many segments to fill it often seemed like an impossible and never ending task. 

The city skylines, drawn from photographs from Centrepoint and the 3D paper city sculptures show a love of architecture, what do you find so interesting about buildings?

Where once there was just earth, is now a case of concrete - held down with mighty towers and tied with ribbons of road. We love the complexity of cities. A viral labyrinth and network of roads and paths. Goliath monuments for inhabitants to fester within. Dead buildings evolved and evolving, replaced with new and puzzled together. We try hard to capture the vast scale of cities by demonstrating views which seemingly race on forever. We will always be impressed and marvel at their construction which has taken so many years and is so easily taken for granted by so many.

Is colour important in your work, as evident in the Chaos series?

Colour for us represents noise. Our cityscape's are views, viewed far from the noisy city you are seeing (from the top of Centerpoint for example or looking out of a window) hence why they are simply drawn in black ink. Chaos is not only busy but noisy too. Different colours could also be seen to represent different timbre tones; Blue representing a calm low noise while yellow and red are sharp and loud. By mixing them all together and laying them out as if viewing a vast networking city from above I think we captured the movement and sound of a city. Elaborate, diverse and mesmerising in its entirety.

What superpowers would you love to have and why?

The power of finding. Anything we wanted, we would know where it was. This would come very useful when trying to find the little pieces we use... if only this power could find us more time...

Of the dots series, where you take ordinary images of circles, dots and 'make something extraordinary'  could you tell us about the your thinking behind the pieces?

On pages and amongst words - dots and commas (and other dotoids) are lost and insignificant. Bring them together and they are a crowd of diversity and overwhelming stature. In many ways this piece emulates a vibrant, noisy crowd. Each of us on own would not make much impact, but together and we are a force to be reckoned with. 

What does the future hold for you, what plans for remainder of 2012?

We like exploring different styles and enjoy inventing new pieces which push us to our limits. 2012 is no exception to this and we are slowly ebbing towards a few hugely challenging pieces which includes our first installation involving 15-20,000 butterfly's and a sculpture which consists with over 1,000 suspended objects in a very tight space. As well as this we are also continuing with cityscapes and collages which should all be unveiled at Wimbledon Art Studios November show.
Interview and Portrait: Nardip Singh

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 09



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