CF: What is the concept behind Astro Black and why did you decide to form a collective as a platform for your various art forms?
We got together because of our shared passion for music, art and the cosmos. Being all freelance creatives we spend a lot of time sitting in the studio on our own It seemed like the perfect opportunity to channel our individual styles and experiences into a collaborative work. Not wanting to take ourselves too seriously but to have fun and work together on some big projects.
CF: Who is currently part of the Astro Black family?
Poet: Joe Black
CF: How important is music to your work?
It is everything. From early blues, gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz, disco, boogie, Hip Hop and everything in between. We aim to capture the spirit in all this music and translate it into new forms.
CF: We take it everyone in the collective listens to a healthy amount of Sun Ra?
Absolutely! Speaking on a personal level (although it sounds a bit cheesy), I feel this kind of jazz music has the ability to unlock creativity in your brain so it’s my favorite type of music to listen to while working on something. With Sun Ra it’s not just the music, it’s his story and the aesthetic that comes with everything he and his Arkestra have done.
CF: What are some of your other influences in music?
Within the collective we all have our different specialities. Jazz is something I’m particularly interested in, but it is so huge and I’m relatively new to it. I really love disco and boogie and have been collecting records for many years now. It’s easy to get sudden inspiration from looking through record sleeves and checking out the story behind the musicians. One of my all time favorites is Sylvester, he is another guy who had quite a wardrobe! In this upcoming exhibition I have featured quite a few of the artists that inspired me as well as a lot of the instruments and hardware. I’d even go as far as to say I have taken my colour pallet from Soul Train 🙂
CF: Are there any other visual arts collectives or specific artists you look up to?
We try not to pay too much attention to what other illustration collectives are up to as it’s so easy to get sucked in the particular trend of the moment. We just look directly to the music. This is why we also want as many different creative disciplines to come on board… to create a movement! We have Clge making some great soundscapes for us and Joe Black wrote a poem for our last piece of work. We are always on the lookout for new members to join us, so get in touch.
CF: You were recently involved in the Comms Bureau radio project during Pick Me Up at Somerset House, how did that come about and is radio broadcasting something that you would like to do more of?
We were approached as we were artists who also DJ, but also because we were a pair of girls and it didn’t seem that there were many of us about doing what we do : )
I’ve had a show on NTS with Mamiko Motto and also have set up ASTROBLACK RADIO were Adjowa and myself have been doing shows. Emily has been doing a show with Hector Plimmer from 92 Points called ‘in sleeves we believe’ all about sleeve artwork too; and she’s now involved in a live event called Cover Club which takes the concept a bit further.
Please go check out our mixcloud, we just got started with it but there is plenty to listen to including a special mix from Clge for the exhibition
CF: What can you tell us about your upcoming exhibition at Bootstrap Company in Dalston? What can we expect to see and hear during the launch event on June 5th?
We have teamed up with the Print House Gallery to bring you a show stopper of an exhibition that takes you on a wild ride through the celestial plains!
The group exhibition will feature work from artists Emily Evans, JoMo, Victoria Topping and Amy Rhian. Alongside the work on show, the exhibition will also include a gallery installation and a collaborative mural upstairs at Dalston Roof Park.
The private view on Thursday 5th June will feature live music from ADJOWA, a set by Clge, as well as music by Matt Doggs. We’ll also have planet and mask making workshops and an after party at Dalston Roof Park. And finally, bespoke clothing from the boutique label Real Friends will be on sale at the private view, together with a selection of prints from the artists.
So polish up your jazz boots, put on your helmets and enter the space portal!!