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Interview: Greedy Hen kick ideas over a game of table tennis… and magic happens

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Hi Katherine and Kate! You are the duo behind Greedy Hen. Tell us about Greedy Hen, what you do, your mission?

Greedy Hen is an Art Collective / Studio, housing the collaborative works of Katherine Brickman and Kate Mitchell. We devise projects intent on creating imagery eluding to a playful black humour, unwritten fables, or subtle off-kilter sinister elements lurking amongst a kinder-esq beauty.

We mainly focus on print-based projects like books, magazines, tour posters, record covers, and album covers. But on occasion work across various mediums, creating anything from music film clips, window installations, billboards, paintings, drawings, photography, and short films. We also like working with traditional print media and performance. From time to time we like to have our own exhibitions and participate in group art shows. Our mission is to high five everyone’s eyeballs with our Artwork.

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Greedy Hen– Where does the name come from?

From the treasure trove of our collective minds…We want ALL the eggs.

You two have some crazy collage work. What is the inspiration behind your work?

Our work is tactile, messy, kinder-esq, mixed media, natural, hyper reality like a melted red icy pole dripping down your arm, whilst smelling like chlorine, ants crawling up your legs and feet burning on the concrete.

Our inspiration comes from the sun in your eyes, dirt under your finger nails, lost explorers, peeling wallpaper, faded green velvet, holding your breath under water, sinking ships, icebergs, 60 cents under the couch, dogs who look like their owners….
…we’re quite amused by the quirky nuances found hidden in the everyday.

How do you work collaboratively? Who does what? Is there a system?

We work like a tag team. Katherine operates on American Standard time so she’s awake all night and Kate’s up with the sun and works the day shift Australia time. It’s a pretty good set up. Kate looks after all the life stuff, and is the logistics of a project, does the bulk work and Katherine does all the amazing genius tiny work. A project isn’t finished until Katherine says so.

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That’s cool how you split up your work. How did you meet? How did you start Greedy Hen?

We met at a roller skating rink on the south coast of Australia. Kate moved to Tokyo for a year and when she returned it just happened quite organically, we would start working together kicking ideas around over a game of table tennis and see how far we could push an idea and then see if we could pull it off. Magically we always do!

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You guys have some crazy masks. Some are animal like, some with crazy feathers… all very beautiful and mysterious. What’s up with those masks?

We are really into tribal jungle vibes. A huge inspiration is our collection of old 1920’s-1980’s National Geographics. Kate’s really obsessed with dinosaurs at the moment and Katherine is preoccupied by what’s inside people. We’re into masks, death masks, bones, plants, war paint, ancient Aztec gold, skeletons, maps, body parts, gemstones, kaleidoscopes, animals, insects, patterns… The masks are basically us taking all of that and putting it on our faces. The funniest mask project involved both of us covering our faces and hair in clag glue and sticking an elaborate array of leaves and petals in geometric patterns onto each other, until all you could see were our little eyes peeping out. The resulting prints are pretty epic.

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I love the video you did for Josh Pyke. How did that come about. What was the concept? Any crazy stories, behind the scenes of making that? It looks crazy, spontaneous and at the same time so polished. There has to be some good stories, what was it like making that?

We had a lot of fun making the Josh Pyke ‘Lighthouse Song’ film clip. We collaborated with director Leigh Richards, a total dream team all the way really. Josh and Ivy League Records were really receptive to all of our ideas.

Basically Greedy Hen had this genius idea to make a film clip using a rickety old overhead projector to project hand made acetate puppets and artwork around Josh whilst he performed the song. When we were trying to convince the record label to let us do it, we actually used the words “slick” and “high end” in the same sentence as “overhead projector”, hilarious!

It still blows us away thinking about how much space the record label actually gave us to creatively go nuts. There’s a scene in there where a harpoon comes down and hits a whale, then blood gushes out it’s spout, it’s skin is peeled back to reveal a treasure chest filled with Spanish gold inside the whale’s ribcage…. It’s completely insane! We worked in the Greedy Hen goldmine day and night and in the end we’re really happy with how it pulled together. It’s pretty special.

Sounds amazing, it’s cool when you can do whatever you want and it’s pulled off great. Tell us a bit about your Poketo wallet and the idea behind that piece.

That image is pretty weird. That was just us having fun with textas and pencils, making a photographers face explode off into a psychedelic rainbow.

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Any last words, future projects you are excited about?

We’re super excited about an art show we have coming up in February at Sydney’s China Heights gallery with another Art Collective duo called We Buy Your Kids. They seriously blow our minds! We’re pretty in love with what they do, so the combination of Greedy Hen artwork and WBYK’s art will be like coming together to form an axis of awesome! You can bask in their glory webuyyourkids.com

As usual we’re always working on a whole lot of record covers, but we’re jittering with excitement like hyperactive kids in need of some serious Retilin about the rad artwork Greedy Hen is doing for Australian bands Leader Cheetah and Cloud Control. Their albums come out early 2009, and may very well complete you as a person. We’re not kidding. Also keep your eyes peeled for some Greedy Hen art appearing on the front of t-shirts and dresses.

Final word: Unflappable.

Check out Greedy Hen’s crazy Poketo wallet here!
Visit Greedy Hen at greedyhen.com.

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