Laser Cats and Lionel Richie: Our Exclusive Interview with Hungry Castle

Some time ago, I was browsing Kickstarter for interesting projects when I saw this strange project by the name of ‘Lionel Richie’s Head | Bestival 2013’. It was a public art project by two artists who were trying to get a giant inflatable sculpture of Lionel Richie’s head to appear at Bestival 2013 on the Isle of White.

Their idea was to somehow ‘exhibit’ this giant head so that people could get inside and pick up a ringing phone to hear the singer’s voice. “Hello, yes it is me you are looking for”. People who backed the project received printed t-shirts, hats or masks with Lionel’s head printed on the garment of choice. Although it could have been described as a bizarre idea, the project succeeded in reaching its funding target and Lionel Ritchie’s head was at Bestival, much to the satisfaction of the thousands of visitors to the festival.

While living in Barcelona, I heard about the duo several times more and decided to contact them and try to get together for a chat about their projects, inspirations and ideas. So, enough from me, I would like to introduce you to Printsome’s interview with Danger Dave and Killa from Manilla. Or Hungry Castle, as they are collectively known.

Rosen:Dave, you are from Australia and Kill, you are from Ireland, now you both live in Barcelona. How on earth did you guys meet and decide to form an art duo in the first place?

Dave:I founded Hungry Castle 3 years ago. After several years of working in Australian ad agencies I decided to move to Spain to begin a new adventure in art. I met Kill at a creative seminar in Barcelona and although we’re both from opposite ends of the planet, we rock the same brand of zaniness. We started working together at Hungry Castle with the joint-goal of making Cool Shit happen everywhere.

Rosen: What is Internet Pop? Where does it come from and why does it matter to you?

Kill: We value pop culture and refer to it a lot in our work with a sense of irreverence and freedom. The Internet is our muse and we love silly memes about Laser Cats, Lionel Richie etc. so our sculptures are often about the materialisation of these immaterial things.

Rosen: What pieces of artwork (or other cultural ‘shit’) inspire you and your art?

Dave: We’re inspired by the odd, the retro and youth nostalgia. The work of street artists like Shepard Fairey and neo-pop artists like Jeff Koons are also a big Hungry Castle inspiration.

Rosen: You like to interact with your audience. How do you reach out to people – social media, posters, word of mouth, or something else?

Kill: We bring the noise. Cool Shit is always playful, public and pop. We use design thinking in way that actually engages people and allows them to react/respond either in the physical space, the virtual space, or both!

Rosen: You say you are into fashion. What attracts you to fashion – is it the public side, the art side, both?

Dave: The public, pervasive and persuasive nature of fashion is attractive. The idea that people wear one of our artworks on their head and help share the story behind that particular artwork.

Rosen: You do create some cool screen printing on clothing for most of your projects. Does this in any way shape your ideas of making public art or help you spread such art around?

Dave: Our art inspires the fashion but it’s the fashion that funds our art and keeps it free for the public. People can help finance a Cool Shit project by buying a Cool Shit tee shirt.

Rosen: Do you actually like when your art is re-produced or goes viral?

Kill and Dave: Yes!

Rosen: Mash-ups, remixing, memes – is that what’s “hot on the streets of design”?

Kill: We’ve never really been interested in what’s deemed “hot or not” on design street, we just do our thing and focus on making Cool Shit. Saying that we are influenced by Hip Hop and the Hip Hop aesthetic of cannibalising bits and pieces of old material and restructuring and re-contextualising them into something new.

Rosen: I must say, when I saw your Lionel Richie’s Head fund-raiser campaign on KickStarter, I thought to myself “This is too crazy to get any funds”. And, yet, you got double your original goal. Why did you go on Kickstarter in the first place?

Dave: Kickstarter had just launched in the UK and the idea was to bring Lionel Richie’s Head to the UK music festival Bestival. Kickstarter offered a simple platform for people to get onboard, back the project, follow it, share it and finally see it realised.

Rosen: Are you still hoping that Lionel Richie would go inside his head?

Dave: Hello, Yes!!! It would complete the beautiful irony of it all.

Rosen: In Laser Cat you gather your content (that you plan on projecting to the moon) from random people on the Web – do you consider this artwork a “collective one”?

Kill: Definitely! Apart from the fact we’re collaborating with sculptors, programmers and technicians to build this interactive installation, we’re also collaborating with people from around the world who are submitting their personal art. Laser Cat breaks down the wall between content producer and viewer and makes the viewer the content producer pew pew!

Rosen: And why a cat, and not a dog or a hamster?

Kill: I guess you need to know your Internet memes. Right now, it’s the cat that’s top of the animal laser-chain.

Rosen: How the hell are you going to project art on the moon from a statue of a cat?

Dave: Laser Cat needs to eat one million pieces of art for his projectors to be strong enough.

Rosen: Why public art – is it more fun or you guys are just bored of the World as it is?

Kill: We want to create interactive projects that take us outside the studio walls and make art more accessible to the public. Who knows, maybe these creative interventions inspire the public to make their own Cool Shit. And yes, it is more fun.

Rosen: As said, with Laser Cat you gather everybody’s art. When is your next T-shirt printing session and what are you screen printing – random people’s art?

Dave: The future of T-shirt printing is Laser Cat and he’s already got the Laser Cat look.

Rosen: Can you give us one meme/mash-up that you would really like to see on a T-shirt?

Dave: A hand + a-ha = a-hand

 

Printsome would like to thank Kill and Dave for taking the time to answer our questions and wish them the best with the Laser Cat and all the other ‘cool shit’ they get up to.

 

Printsome is an online t-shirt printing UK agency who enjoy keeping an eye on the crazy antics of Hungry Castle whilst providing screen printing, DTG and custom polo shirts services to other creative across the UK, from Chichester to Ely.

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