Please describe us what Pinar & Viola is about.
P&V: We aim our work to be hyper detailed scans of contemporary culture. While being powered by the heat of glam chaos, we digitally craft surfaces that explore visual culture around us. It is our attempt to express the immense complexity of the now by creating loud visible manifestations.
What brought you to work together as a team?
P&V: We met at the Sandberg Instituut, the masters of Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam. We recognized a visual sensibility in each others work. We were both craving to encapsulate the beauty and the horror of the contemporary on a surface. On the other hand, we were separately looking for a critical reason for our visually extravagant surfaces to have a deluxe difference in the total abundance of the 21st century visual creativity.
In summer 2010, we collaborated on a project and its outcome was dramatically different than our individual work.
Usually, how is your work process?
P&V: We sit together and discuss our thoughts about the subject. Then we dive into the research. We read, collect, write, talk, and scan the subject from top to bottom. The process makes us come up with certain signs and visual codes that we can use to tell our story. Then we start to craft the image, both on our own computers. After enough hours of work, we meet again and discuss each others outcome. Here, what we call ‘the ping-pong’ starts, we exchange files and elements and continue the creative process. This continues until we reached a certain level of visual outcome. At that point we sit together behind one screen to refine and finish. That last stage is when Pinar&Viola become one to make sure we push ourselves further and further in order to achieve an ‘uncomfortable’ yet magnetic outcome.
How would you describe your graphic ‘style’?
P&V: We don’t like to use the word style. Style sounds like a repetitive crust that covers subjects. The ‘style’ of a certain image is depending on it’s content, actually it is one. For us there is no opposition of form and content, of surface and depth. Sure, while crafting our surfaces our digital pen has a certain signature. It’s interconnected with our obsessions, fascinations and aesthetic passions. Our specific artistic sensibilities derive from our attention and time dedication to hyper detailed digital craftsmanship. We make use of conceptual ornamentation, to tell our fantasy. Often decoration is seen as superfluous, however we see it as a method to create links between the exterior and the interior of a work. Decoration is our means to reveal qualities of a subject.
How has this ‘style’ developed over time?
P&V: Let’s answer this question that since recently we’re aware that we can also make audio visual design. That’s something new for us. But it’s not about style, it’s about tools and skills.
Why ‘Ecstatic Surface Design’?
P&V: Our conditions of existence and the complexities of todays world are the main drive in our practice. We aim to expose the immense complexity of the contemporary order, while turning paradoxes, ironies, resistances, appropriations, skiomorphs, simulacra and all other 21st century fractal performances into conceptually decorated radical surfaces. Thus, our work takes an ecstatic shape, while becoming an overload of information transfer.
From where do you draw inspiration for your creations?
P&V: We’re fascinated by the seductive nature of surfaces. Together with designed amateur expressions around us, endless flat visuals on the internet are sometimes direct input in our work. We are interested in behaviors, creations, ideologies, technologies, post-technologies, enhancements, etc which reflects the times 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 clothing to Ghaddafi’s dictator wardrobe; etc. We also prefer to be transparent about our inspiring sparks. 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.
Is there any first rule in your designs?
P&V: Yes, it should be ‘haute’ and custom-tailored for each project. What we mean is that we aim our work to be dramatically different minute-made-designer in the post-democratization of creative softwares. The overloaded nature of our work is also a commentary to the efficiency obsessed society where graphic designers can be purchased at the lowest possible price.
Creation of digital garments in their optimum looks, hyper detailed digital craftsmanship and the extreme refine finishing is very important to us. We consider the computer as the extension of our expressive hand, we shall never be it’s slave and make use of monotone software styles.
What was the most exciting project you ever worked on and why?
P&V: Every year we launch an Ecstatic Surface Collection, holding the visual key to the upcoming year. As we try to reinvent ourselves every year, while we work on these collection, the adrenaline flows like a waterfall and the tension is electric in the studio. We so far launched”
Collection 2011: The Credit Card Collection 2011 http://pinar-viola.com/collection.php
Collection 2012: Diva Opaque: Anonymous Guardians of Intimacy http://pinar-viola.com/diva-opaque.php
Collection 2013 will be launched on September 6th, at Pilevneli Project in Istanbul.
Thursday, June 21st, the Gallery Guns&Butter in Amsterdam will host the launch of 4eva, our Capsule Collection 2013, which is an online love message service http://www.lovemessageservice.com
Companies needs and designers will always depend on each other, but in your opinion, how as this relationship changed today?
P&V: Designers embody the changing link between production and consumption because we consume and create the same commodities. That is significant for the changing and blurring boundaries of production and consumption in general. With the democratization of the designers’ tools, everyone can design, including the consumers and producers. Or a producer has a nephew that can do the design almost for free.
Within our practice we strive to achieve a new ‘raison d’être’ for conceptual and qualified craftsman designs. In our work we try to draw the attention back to human interaction in the production process, with the delight of digital craftsmanship.
The actual ‘contemporary’ graphic design comes with a thousand different facets to it, mostly caused by the viral internet culture. Do you think that this culture changed the meaning of ‘contemporary’ for better or for worse?
How do you imagine graphic design within five years?
P&V: We see it becoming more digital and a complete experience that touches upon all our senses. When paper turns into screens, why not adding motion, sound, and vibrations?
Which creative do you most admire?
P&V: The amateur criative.
What are you currently working on?
P&V: Currently we’re working on a project with Nike for the Olympics.
Plans for the future?
P&V: Motion, which applies for our surfaces and our studio in Amsterdam.
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Interview by Nuno Patricio,
O Fluxo, June 2012.
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