Our next Papercut Series Artist, Joe Rogers of Colourbox, designed an awesome wallet for us that we know you will appreciate. Along with eye catching graphics of what seems to be innocent scenes taken from Rogers past, we found out through our interview with him that his designs are much more intellectual and powerful than we could’ve ever imagined. Take a look inside Joe Roger’s world…
Can you tell us about the theme of your wallet design?
The one with the children flying kites (back), was initially made for an album sleeve design a couple of years back, Julian Sanza’s ‘Communication’. The image was inspired by the children in Palestine, who fly kites to communicate their protest about their peoples plight. It seemed to be a powerful and simple act of communication and a powerful message of defiance. Children fly big colourful kites, some with the colours of the Palestinian national flag, while other kites have slogans such as: The Children of Palestine Have a Right to Life, a Right to Play, We Refuse Occupation, We want to live like other children in the world, No to the Israeli Occupation. The soldiers would often fly into a rage, storm the camps, seeking their target: Children with kites. The children could determine the location of the raid when all the kites from a particular location would fall from the sky in unison.
The second piece (front) was a personal project it is called, ‘We Used To Dry Our Socks Outside In the Summer’. I made this in the summer of 2008, the driving idea behind the work was really a comment on modern family life. I was looking back to childhood activities and how many of those simple everyday activities, such as helping put the washing out, can bring children closer to their parents. I don’t believe that type of important bonding really exists to quite the same extent it should anymore, maybe due to changes in technology or changing social trends. That’s a whole separate topic!
In your “People Badge Pack”, specifically the C@%T series are these people you have personally encountered in the past? If so, do they suspect anything?
The people badges are not of anyone I know at all! All the faces come from a piece of work I did a few years back called ‘Meet New People’ It was one of the first ever purely digital works I did so was a bit of an experiment really, I still like the contrast of the intentional wobbly amateurishness of the writing, done with a mouse, to the crisp vectors of the faces. A while back I fancied making some badge packs and I suppose those faces kind of just found their way into them. I wish I did know some of those people though, I think if you got them all in one room it would make for a fun night!
The C@%T badges are a different story. It may just have been a bit of mischief on my part! I think it has always fascinated me though, out of all the swear words why people have such a strong reaction to this one in particular? I don’t see any reason why C%!T should be any more or less offensive than any other swear word, surely it should all be about the context in which the word is used? It’s a very visceral word I suppose. I don’t really have a problem with it. It seemed at the time to be the right word to use given the visceral power to those images. I put them onto badges because it just childishly tickles me to see some peoples faces when they are wading through a mountain of badges, come across one of those and look at it in horror. It’s only a word, get over it!
Album of choice when working in the studio?
I like to sit and listen to all sorts of genres together. I generally just stick iTunes on random, or put a bit of vinyl on the turntable, and go with the flow. I tend to cherry pick singles to buy instead. Here are the last 10 songs I’ve downloaded!
Jocko Homo – Devo
Dislocation – Ultravox
Hot On The Heels Of Love – Throbbing Gristle
I’m Your Money (12” Extended Version) – Heaven 17
Leave Me Be – Spectrals
Reflections Are Protection – La Roux
Colorado – Grizzly Bear
Got 2 Let U – The Knife
Pigmy Pig – Moondog
Apple Bobbing – Joe Goddard
How did the inception of Colourbox come about?
Colourbox is basically just a pseudonym for me to work under. I’ve always produced work or promoted myself under one pseudonym or another, the reason for this was generally as a result of an unease about being around my own work when people know that I’ve made it. Using a pseudonym allows me some distance, some breathing space and anonymity. It’s easier to be in a room with your own work and know that no one knows you made it. You feel like people are free to give their real opinions, positive or negative.
A little nerdy fact, not many people know this, I actually got the name Colourbox from a random sample in a song, within a mix by the DJs, Chicken Lips. It also fits me quite nicely because a lot of my work contains quite bright colours, I am also colour blind so it has a nice ironic twist to it too!
You seem to play around with many different mediums than just paper–is there any medium you aren’t comfortable working with?
I look to the execution of the idea and what media would best suit it. I don’t really have too many problems at giving any type of media a go, if I think it would benefit the idea. I like experimenting and pushing the limits of my abilities to see what I can come up with, some things work, some don’t. I would say that I’ve never really worked out how to use oil paints effectively and am always really quietly impressed with artists who get the best out of that medium.
I love your signature: j^±^. Mine just looks like this: -j. Any recommendations for jazzing it up?
Thanks! Its quite hard to jazz up a “J” isn’t it! I think you have done well though, turning the “J” into a smiley mouth is a nice little touch! I think you should keep it like that, after all I suppose you have now made that signature your own!
A lot of your work features the hybridization of man and animal. What is the overarching relationship between the two? What do they sound like?
I suppose I see animals as just another form to get the ideas out. People are forever anthropomorphising animals, we do it all the time with our pets. You can give animals human characteristics– maybe make them say or do things that you may not want a human character to say. It also changes the context. If you could hear any of them speak they would definitely speak with thick Northern British accents. Who wouldn’t want to hear a Panda speak like a Geordie, or a Bull speaking like a Lancashire Coal Miner?
What is your favorite vice?
I don’t know if any of my vices would actually constitute vices? I had to look up the definition to see if my vices are actually vices!
In the severest definition of a vice I can’t say I have any immoral, depraved and/or degrading vices! I like a drink on occasion, I like food…thats about it. Sounds all very dull doesn’t it!
What is the worst advice you’ve ever received?
The advice I give always seems to be completely terrible so I can’t point too many fingers! My general rule is to view with some suspicion advice from people who don’t really know that much about the subject they are advising on. I sometimes think advice is only as good as the person who receives it. A lot of people only ask advice because they want their own opinions to be confirmed. The person who gave bad advice then can’t really be blamed, only your own decision to acting on that advice!
Last exhibition you’ve seen that blew you away?
I am ashamed to say that I don’t really get out to see many exhibitions. There aren’t many great exhibitions put on where I live. I went to the Tate Modern, probably for the first time since I was in college! It was lovely to sit in there and reacquaint myself with some great works that I hadn’t seen for a while. I may be moving down to London later this year, I could see myself whiling away quite a few hours sitting in there!**