To celebrate 10 years of stocking Folk here at Peggs & son, we’ve teamed up with some of our favourite artists to create a capsule collection of artist tees. The three designs, from Mark Vessey, ILOVEDUST and Ryan Gillett, will be launched to coincide with our party at MEATliquor on March 20th (which you can RSVP by clicking here) and all profits will be given to local charity Amaze.
First up is fine art photographer Mark Vessey, a man whose artwork is inspired and dominated by collections of everyday objects. Whilst his imagery is full of magazines, books and records, all showcasing the passion of collectors, his imagery speaks about the emotional connection people have with their possessions.
We’ve been a big fan of Vessey’s work for a while now and there is something undeniably satisfying about seeing a complete collection arranged in an aesthetically pleasing manner. To find out more about his method, we sat down to discuss hoarding, influences and the idea behind DISCO, the print he has chosen for his Folk X Peggs Tee.
P&s: You are perhaps best known for your Collections series. What was it that lead you to focus on the idea of collecting?
MV: I guess it all started with my own collection of Attitude Magazine. I started to buy it at a time when I was discovering myself and my own identify. I lived in Chingford, a dull suburban of London on the boarders of Essex, and Attitude Magazine was an insight into a world I wanted to belong in. I religiously collected each issue. I loved the spines and how they became to represent a timeline of that period of my life. Photographing them captured the emotional connection that they represented.
What is it about searching, acquiring and arranging objects that holds a fascination for you?
I get enjoyment from searching for objects that I believe will work well as a collection. An example would be collecting all of the British Vogues with Kate Moss on the front cover which was a bit like put together a jigsaw puzzle. I had to research each issue Kate Moss featured on the cover and then I had to eBay them or hunt for them. Once I had them all the work naturally comes from arranging the collection and how the magazines work together. I wanted it be a celebration of her career.
Can you talk about the process of acquiring and shooting these works? Are they all your collections?
After I had exhibited my first pieces such as Attitude, friends began to tell me about their collections and asked if I wanted to photograph them. My dad’s friend said he had a huge collection of Playboy Magazine. So dad brought these over from New York for me to photograph. They were stunning, so much colour with the iconic Playboy logo. As with all of work, I photograph them in my studio using a medium format camera inside a tent. I arrange them together and square them up to face the camera.
Are there any collections you want to shoot but can’t as they aren’t complete?
I’m still working on the Royal Ballet brochures, I have a fair few but still need to collect certain ones. I have approached the Opera House to visit their archives so that’s really exciting. This may lead the piece I have in mind in a whole new direction. It just takes patience sometimes with certain projects.
Aside from the aesthetically pleasing sight of a completed collection, your work speaks about the emotional attachment that people have with inanimate objects. What objects have had an important influence on your life?
I would say that along with Attitude Magazine, which I had a strong emotional connection to, I would choose DISCO. I was able to photograph Seamus Haji’s vinyl collection and chose to focus on the DISCO element of his vast collection as I had an emotional connection to music. It can naturally to pick out and edit titles such Cheryl Lynn too Stevie Wonder that meant so much to me. It is this image that I have chosen for my Folk X Peggs Artist Series Tee.
Themes of repetition are strong in your work and this leads to a strong emphasis on formal elements such as shape, tone and colour. How much time is spent contemplating composition?
I spend a fair amount of time just sitting with the objects before photographing them. To be able to focus on the subtleties between the objects. With Vogue the colours bled through from in between the spines. How they worked together within the composition is really important.
There are references in your work to pop artists such as Andy Warhol as well as movements like New Objectivity and its followers such as Gursky and the Bechers. What artists do you respect and admire?
Pop Artists such as Andy Warhol and Keith Haring I love. Discovering their stories and work I found fascinating. How their work transcended into galleries, magazines and culture I also found so inspiring. I would visit the Tate Modern and view Gursky’s work along with Andy Warhol, Nan Goldin, the Bechers and Wolfgang Tillmans. Photography has the ability for us to stop and take in the world we live in. Later I was also lucky to work closely and assist Polly Borland who I not only learnt so much from but respect the huge body of work she has created over her career.
Would you call yourself a hoarder?
I wouldn’t call myself a hoarder – the opposite actually. I really think that it is healthy to live minimally and uncluttered as possible. I move collections on after I have photographed them and have only kept my Attitude Magazines.
A huge thanks to Mark Vessey for taking the time to answer our questions. You can take a look at more of his artwork by clicking here. His Folk X Peggs Artists Series Tee will be available at our party at MEATliquor as well as on our site.