We are proud to introduce you to our December Gass Resident - Patrick Savile. A graphic designer, artist, and musician living and working in Hackney. Mamiko caught up with Patrick to chat about seasons, design and new years resolutions.
GASS: Hello Patrick,
Thank you for dressing our GASS website for the final edition of 2017. Do you have a favourite season or month? I used to really dislike winter but I find myself loving it most in the last few years, how about you?
Spring is probs the best, it has all the pagan festivals of Mayday and suchlike and it’s when my birthday is.
Though winter gives you time to really get stuck into things, if it’s hot outside, I literally can’t work, I just want to sit outside and do nothing. So in a way, winter is better, as you get more done. Summer is for doing nothing.
GASS: You are British, have you spent all your life living in London?
Patrick Savile: No I grew up in the west country, and split a lot of my time between there and my Mum’s in London. I moved up here 12 years ago, and haven’t been brave enough to think about going anywhere else.
GASS: What do you think about overall situation in the UK right now? The Art scene, music?
Apart from a lot of sh*t going down in politics what do you make of the culture in the UK?
Patrick Savile: Whoa, big question! I think the music scene is very healthy, and I feel it has become a lot more globalised in the last few years, which is really exciting, there is much less of a focus of ‘oh they’re from london’— lots of cross border pollination — people moving all over the world.
In terms of whats going on here, I dunno as I haven’t really got a point of reference, but there is definitely a proliferation of labels, and people publishing their own music, I think the scene is very healthy.
In terms of visual art, I’m not really the person to ask, I think again everything has been globalised a lot in recent years, not in any small part by Instagram — I feel that’s a real boon to the artistic community, letting people get through their tastes, connecting over the seas. It’s exciting that many European cities are starting to become proper hubs for amazing art — Vilnius, Talinn, Athens, etc are recalling coming out with some amazing stuff.
I’m sorry I didn’t really answer your question.
GASS: How did you get into design?
Patrick Savile: I would make graphic art at school all the time, using photoshop, doing pretty much exactly what I’m doing now, and then went and studied it at university. Pretty straightforward story. I’ve always been making flyers, and fake album covers though from day one, so where I am now is pretty much where I saw myself when I was 15… I looked at some of my early stuff the other day, from school; not far off what I’m doing 15 years later.
GASS: Your work is quite surreal and has that “he’s definitely done acid” feel to it. Recently , you had an opening exhibiting tarot cards. What’s that all about… ?
Patrick Savile: I have been into the design of playing cards for a while, and while looking into the norther italian Tarocchi cards, I got into Tarot, which has always interested me — I love how it’s essentially lots of different archetypes from all over the world, usually drawn beautifully.
I had a previous exhibition of paintings which were based on a collected global creation myth, taking cosmogenic stories from all over the world, and I felt that Tarot was kind of a continuation on that theme — a set of universal images that don’t really come from a Judao-Christian, or overtly Hindu background — I liked that they are vague and mean many different things, and the more you read into them, the more you see links to other things, cultures. And then there’s the occult side of them; it’s a very artistic underground scene — resonating people like Kenneth Anger, Niki St De Phalle, Jodorowsky, Genesis P.Orridge, Valli Myers who I’ve been into for a long time, and realised that Tarot linked them all.
I wanted to create a deck which was even more broadly archetypal and removed the human element from them to see if people responded to the imagery in the same way… I’m still waiting on responses from people who have bought decks.
GASS: How do you fit your style in with the commercial clients. You’ve done some work for big brands but somehow they still look very edgy. Can you talk more about your taboos and project cut off’s.
Patrick Savile: I have done work for big clients in the past, and often the work ends up being very unlike my own style, which is fine, but recently I have managed to keep my more commercial work more ‘me’, which is the real trick… With music people mainly want my own take on things, but when it’s for bigger clients, that sometimes gets diluted due to commercial needs and more people being involved in the process. I prefer to work with less people—one musician, one art director, one label boss…
GASS: What are ur current biggest inspirations and influences?
Patrick Savile: Currently I’m looking at early computer animation, especially the stuff done by Ken Knowlton and Lillian Schwartz — I love how it feels ‘real’, and alive, I think it’s the equivalent to when something is litho printed, it has a texture, a feel, a that you can only get from it being produced on a CRT screen and then filmed onto 16mm. I hate that I'm mainly focused on things in the past — from airbrush artists, 70s socialist poster art etc. I wish I spent more time looking at the bleeding edge of culture. Saying that, I do try not to be too throwback-ey, and create something new...
I’m also reading about Magick/ the occult a lot at the moment, but sporadically — 2017 doesn’t seem to be the year for me reading wise — I’ve started about 2017 books and finished none. 2018 I’ll let you know what i’ve learnt.
GASS: I know for a fact that music is one of them. In fact the way we met was actually through music. Are u still in the band?
How do these platforms merge in your life?
Patrick Savile: They are very similar, I think about the creation of music in the same terms as making visuals — layers, composition, the way they bond together and meld — texture etc. I’m not in Dana Kunze anymore, we disbanded last year, but plans are on the horizon to make some more stuff soon with one of the members, make some pop music...
As i’ve said, much of my work is either directly or indirectly for musicians — and it’s the world I love. I’ve been doing a lot of stuff for the label Bokeh Versions this year, and they’ve got some sick stuff coming out next year which I’m stoked to be working on… The Jay Glass Dubs x Guerrilla Toss release earlier this year really felt to me a direct response to the music; I listened to it on repeat and out came this imagery, which has kind of informed the direction i’ve been going since…
So yeah they’re very intertwined. I think the dream though would be one day to make some visual art that resonates with people in the same way that music does. It’s something that really fascinates me, how music affects us so much.
GASS: What are your plans for 2018? What are your goals and what are your dreams?
Patrick Savile: Read more books. Get a book published with my cover on it. Read that book.
GASS: And lastly, because it’s December and last month of the year. Do you have anything to share, say or wish for humanity today?
Patrick Savile: Dear Santa, I’ve been a good boy this year, and I hope you can bring me a Nintendo Switch and Zelda for Christmas this year. xxx