Empty Frame presents A legend in the design industry. He is a collector, image maker, award-winning typographer, designer,
art director, lecturer, street artist, scrabble fiend and Mr. Bean look alike. And he lives and work in Sydney, Australia. His name is Mr.Edwards.
He creates Iconic retro images with a Pop Art feel, combining found images and type with his odd sense of humour to make unusual creative and intellectual links that neither he nor his clients understand.
Mr. Edwards is an old-school design ninja dressed as a normal Aussie bloke. I know this because I have seen his style and know some of his moves. But there is more i want to know about Mr Edwards. So I asked him a few questions.
I know that you love to collect great designs, ads and so on, but where do you find it, and where do you keep it all?
I have been collecting printed scraps since I was at college. I wouldn’t say I collect great designs, quite the opposite. I like the obscure, the bizarre, the unsophisticated. At first I was trying to preserve old style design so I went to old shops and bought postcards, toy and confectionery packaging that had been sitting on dusty shelves for years. Whenever I go abroad my first stop is the local supermarket to see if there is any interesting packaging. I come home with my bag full of soap powder boxes, old rcord sleeves, rat glue, bubble gum packets. As these things have became harder to find I visit a lot of junk shops and flea markets.
“My home is a 3 dimensional scrap book which I live in.”
How do you go about putting your artwork together? And What tools do you use?These days I use creative suite to put my images together although I started off with traditional cut and paste methods. My main tool was the photocopier but now it is the scanner. I spend 100’s of hours scanning. I also like to add paint, ink, brush, rubber stamps, stencils and more organic methods to counter the perfection of technology. When I used to use the photocopier mistakes would happen, images would deteriorate a little but now technology is too good so i build in mistakes deliberately. Although I use the computer my thinking is old school cut and paste which makes a difference.
When do you find yourself being most creative?
I am most creative at night, and I am a bit like a writer in that I play with images for a few hours everyday and see if anything sticks. Also I will experiment with formats and sizes and see if that throws up anything. Sometimes I will restrict myself to only one or two colours or give myself a theme. Sometimes I will rework something many times before I am happy with it.
Its not been until recent that you have been showing off your work, why is that?
Good question, I was quite happy just keeping it for my own amusement and one day I woke up with the urge to put it altogether in a book – the Crap book. It was a huge undertaking, scanning and photographing everything I had collected then laying it all out. But things started to happen and I got excited by it all and wanted to start sharing it. I think this also coincided with Other design work I was doing which was getting more corporate and restrictive. It was a form of release.
I have seen that you have started to do lots of postups, How did you get in to that type of streetart? and why?
I looked at having an exhibition but galleries want an up front lump sum plus they want 30% of any sales. So I just started pasting things up in the street and online as a free gallery space.
I had some stickers printed and started from there. As I walk everywhere I tend to see things on a more intimate scale so my pieces have been quite small. But I am gradually doing bigger and bigger pieces. I like to think I bring a smile to people on their way to work.
How is the postup scene is Sydney these days?
There was a big exhibition of Street Art recently on Cockatoo Island in Sydney. There was a huge space dedicated to Paste-up with over 350 artists contributing from all over the world. It was a constantly changing collage, building up layer upon layer.It got a lot of exposure here in the press and on television.
I know everyone has been doing owls the last few years and I have notice that you say you never do owls. What do you got against owls man? what have they done to you?
Owls are trying to take over the world by appearing at craft fairs printed on everything. Also I heard them talking about you and they weren’t very nice.
But when you make an animal, what do you then prefer?
I am a people person although I seem to have a lot of monkeys
Does your art always have some humor in it?
Its not all humorous but then again its not really serious either. I am not a stand up comedian I am a sit down hiding behind a computer screen comedian.
Never any political or serious pieces?
I used to be more political when I was at college, I just need the right motivation.
I know you are a master in editorial design. How has that effected your art pieces?
I have to work hard at breaking the page format sometimes. I naturally want to turn everything into a book or magazine format. When designing magazines there is no time for finessing things so you promise yourself the next issue will be better and that way the design evolves and develops. I have started making 16 page A5 zines as a quick way of experimenting. I was spending too long reworking things and generally fannying about so they help me to be disciplined.
Is it true that you got ninja skills?
You have nothing to fear unless you are selling tea towels or tote bags with owls printed on them.
What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Expect the unexpected
“I am not the one who will not be blamed for nothing”