13 Feb StolenSpace’s EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CYRCLE.
“People frequently ask me who the new upstarts are in street art… I’d say CYRCLE., but that would be underselling the diversity of their talents and the depth of their conceptual process. CYRCLE. work in many mediums and techniques, utilizing whatever approach most powerfully delivers the concept and aesthetic. CYRCLE. are surprisingly focused and rigorous for some young punks.”
‘Boundaries’ is one word that is kept out of CYRCLE.’s extensive vocabulary. Featured in StolenSpace’s upcoming show ‘Write & Repeat,’ a group show about text and patterns, CYRCLE. refuses to define themselves by the constraint of labels. This collective of street artists, graphic designers and traditional fine artists has been developing their own language for the past three years. In that brief time, CYRCLE. has made a massive impact on the street and gallery scene, quickly gaining the respect of the international art community. Working across a variety of media, CYRCLE. does it all. From investigating form and function to encouraging participation, CYRCLE. challenges and embraces the full spectrum of what art can be.…Enjoy!
SS: We have had the pleasure of seeing some of your street art around town, but StolenSpace is very excited to show your fine art in London for the first time! How did you feel about London the last time you were here? What kind of impact does living Los Angeles have on your work?
CYRCLE.: Our trip to London was welcomed by many amazing characters and memorable moments. Obviously the juxtaposition of the architecture from the past and the present is the first thing you notice. We would have loved to paint a large scale mural during our visit however we did not have the time or resources to do so. We did however slap stickers and paste ups all around SOHO and Shoreditch. While getting up around town we met all sorts of cool people, from local artists David Shillinglaw and Ben Slow, social media and creative agencies like theAudience and Mother, production houses like RSA/Black Dog Films, musicians like James Lavelle, and fashion designers like Simon “Barnzley” Armitage from Child of Jago who told us about his friend, artist Benedict Radcliffe who built a secret bowl in his repurposed brick factory/art studio which we eventually found and skated for hours. Now that we got the longest run-on shout-outs out of the way, we can now continue with the interview. Sorry if you feel used, but we even collaged the smoking patio at the prestigious Quo Vadis in exchange for some pounds, flat whites, eddies specials, and a dinner to remember! Overall the people and culture were warm and inviting. Art is expected across-the-pond… it is as old as its history. Art is ingrained in the culture and therefore welcomed and respected. London embraces the arts and lets the artists be artists. It is not the same in Los Angeles… it is an uphill battle. Art is not necessarily seen as purposeful as it should be. It’s impact on culture is maybe more confusing than understood. I feel like the mentality about art in Los Angeles and America for that matter is that “if it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” In some ways I suppose that is a challenge in itself. The biggest impact LA has on our work is our work ethic. LA inspired our Manifesto which is the cornerstone of our beings…
WE LEFT OUR FAMILIES
WE ABANDONED OUR HOMES
WE WORKED FOR NOTHING
WE SLEPT ON FLOORS
WE PARTIED HARD
WE LOST OUR MINDS
WE DANCED WITH THE DEVIL
WE FACED OUR FEARS
WE SWALLOWED OUR PRIDE
WE GAVE OUR HEARTS
WE TRIED AND FAILED
WE FOLLOWED OUR DREAMS
WE ARE LOS ANGELES
WE NEVER DIE!
SS: As a collective you work under the name ‘CYRCLE.’ Would you mind telling us why you’ve chosen that name and more specifically, that punctuation? Typography, words and punctuation seem to be a major consideration in your work . Can you explain a little about how texts create or enhance your art?
CYRCLE.: Originally CYRCLE. had three members… Davey, Rabi & Devin… now it is just Davey & Rabi. We had been friends and fellow artists for years and one day realized our purpose to form a unity and create something new and powerful collectively… October 10th, 2010 CYRCLE. was born. We choose the name first and foremost because we had tried working together in the past to no avail, try fail, and now we had come full circle hence the name CYRCLE. with a “Y” instead of an “I” because there is now “I” in CYRCLE. it is a “we” thing. The all caps represent power and the period suggests finality… CYRCLE. is here to stay. 🙂 The deeper meaning of CYRCLE. is rooted in Alchemic mythology, more specifically the inspiration came for the Ouroboros, a self-sustaining creature of perfect balance.
Typography is an essential form of communication especially in advertisement. We chose to use type/words to effectively communicate to the public through street campaings. Generally words of inspiration that help motivate the public or evoke thought or simply reinstate what we already know but need to be reminded, like “WE NEVER DIE!” or “TRY, FAIL, TRYUMPH!” All in all, most humans can read therefore it is the most effective form of communication. We aspire to reach the masses with our art and utilizing type helps to ensure it reaches beyond those who appreciate art for arts sake.
SS: You guys have really made it big on the LA street scene since you got together in 2010. How does it feel to have gained so much respect and praise in the art community from figures like Shepard Fairey and JR in the past three years?
CYRCLE.: Obviously CYRCLE. was started only three years ago, however we have been artists, struggling to make a difference for years. It is an honor to finally establish a platform to be able to get our art out more effectively. We appreciate the praise because it helps validate us to keep producing work for the public to enjoy and engage with. We strive for perfection and integrity with our work and relationships. We respect any hard working artist (or person in general), for the simple fact that we understand the challenges they face. Therefore we are humbled when anyone respects our craft, from Shepard Fairey to the clerk at our neighborhood 7-11.
SS: Your last show, ‘Organized Chaos,’ used symbols and patterns to represent how structure and randomness combine to form meaning and existence in society. Can we expect similar ideas to carry over into the work you have created for ‘Write and Repeat’?
CYRCLE.: Well I suppose most art uses symbols or patterns or strokes or lines or type to simply or complexly represent how structure and randomness combine to form meaning and existence in society. Life is about dualities and art imitates life as they say… We are working on a new body of work which will debut at Write and Repeat. We have evolved since “ORGANIZED CHAOS!” and are inspired to create something new with our ingredients. The concept revolves around the RISE & FALL duality and the domestication of all things. The most significant change is the color pallet.
SS: You tend to work with duality as a theme; such as order and chaos, failure and success, and life and death… Would you say that examining dichotomies in order to find harmony and balance motivates your artwork?
CYRCLE.: Death is equal to Life… they are both happening simultaneously. What all humans strive for is balance… we find inspiration by examining everything but balance. We study the black and white in hopes to shed light on the gray. Our work is a moment captured of that struggle between dualities.
SS: I can imagine that contrasts and juxtapositions also just arise from working as a collective, especially since you guys come from a range of different backgrounds, be it graphic design, street art and fine art. Do you think that the contributions and clashes of ideas and opinions with one another allows your work to be more multifaceted and versatile?
CYRCLE.: Working collectively can be challenging especially to the ego. The best part about it is that you work for a cause greater than yourself. Life becomes a “we” thing as I stated earlier. We make art for the people. We butt heads, which ultimately broadens our perspective and expands our theories, ideas, concepts and execution… Two heads are better than one as they say.
SS: Your most recent solo show seemed to be a great success. Everything from your interactive installations to large scale works were all very exciting and refreshing, do you have any big plans for what comes next?
CYRCLE.: The hardest part about producing art is the hangover, especially after an ambitious exhibition. All the energy and passion and purpose used to produce the work gets drained and depleted. Then you think to yourself how will we top that? Generally you experience the post show depression which will last until a new wave of inspiration crashes over you… Thankfully we are inspired once again and so pumped to start producing this new body of work… We have an incredible year in front of us… from London, to Hong Kong, Lisbon, Montreal, New York, back to Hong Kong and beyond. We are blessed to have these opportunities… Viva La Arts!!
A.K.A. The Dougs
A.A.K.A. Ball & Hair
A.A.A.K.A. Davey & Rabi
Images subject to copyright, courtesy of CYRCLE. and theonepointeight