Get the kettle on. Its Lunartik!
Yes please, 2 sugars and a splash of milk, I hardly can say no to an offer like that!
You know what, as you mention it, I have been known to have a rather unusual relationship with tea, I never know if tea loves me, just as much as I love tea….
Where did it all begin for Lunartik?
After leaving university in 1999, and gaining a 2.1 Degree in Product Design, I was approached by a small design consultancy who offered me the position of concept designer working within a team of creative individuals. In 2003, time had come where I felt the need to set up on my own,
I was not sure about the direction it would take me in, but the appeal of becoming a freelancer and working for a multitude of different companies sounded all good to me.
Thus, ‘Lunartik’ was formed, following many meetings with other freelance creatives around me.
My intentions with Lunartik were simple; the aim was to combine product + graphic design, utilising standard design principles such as: when, why, who and how. This was my personal framework. I needed to have something that could be built on as my design career grew.
I must admit I’ve had my fair share of late nights, stress and cups of tea in the past 4 years.
However, I am still determined to keep up the momentum as long as I can.
What can you tell us about your recent projects?
This reminds me of the first question, Tea!
‘Lunartik in a cup of tea’;
The design has been inspired by many years of tea drinking, and is the dominating theme of my project, ‘Lunartik’ (Lunartik is the little cutesy character with the oversized head)
I have been drawing ‘Lunartik’ for so long and I have many sketchbooks devoted to him. I was thinking about how to put my ideas into practice and finally produce a toy that would be original and somehow English. (I always associated the cup of tea with ‘Englishness’)
So, combining the two elements together and subsequently “Lunartik in a cup of tea” emerged as the result! Admittedly, “Lunartik in a cup of tea” is an unusual name for a toy. Nevertheless, I believe this is the fitting name to describe the product. The Toy comes in its own customised box, accompanied by English tea and a silver spoon. Therefore, Lunartik is not only an art piece but also an exocentric tea set. This was one of my intentions of mixing toys with every day products.
At present, I’m producing multiples of ‘Lunartik in a cup of tea’ by hand.
They take between 2 – 6 weeks to complete each piece depending on the complexity of the design required. They are cast resin toys, hand painted, customized, signed and shipped out from my studio in beautifully designed gift boxes.
I know for fact that I will not be making more than 100 pieces.
Images of the toys can be seen at: www.lunartik.com/lunartikinacupoftea.html
Left: ‘Lunartik in a cup of tea’ for Amy Scanlon, a present from her sister.
Right: A crazy custom ‘Lunartik in a cup of tea’ for Woolloomooloo
Center: Lunartik in a cup of tea, exhibited in ‘Me and my character’ www.Platform21.com
Other work this year includes my annual practicum in the Royal Leamington Spa “Peace Festival”; which is always a lot of fun, this year being no exception. I had a great time drawing on people, and exhibiting my wears. Lots of good feedback from the hippies (only kidding!!!)
See more of the peace festival
I put a lot of time and dedication into each and every project. It’s fair to say, that the art field is hardly a good a bill payer, but in addition I have a constant stream of web work and design commissions on the go full time.
In March 2006 I went out to Italy to support ‘The Nokia L’Amour ‘ campaign, launching their new range of Mobile phones with the Nonpermanet concept.
Myself an ‘YT’ (www.cutterskink.com) spent 5 crazy weekends running around Italy,
drawing on glass, canvas, walls and a whole host of other interesting spaces in high end fashion boutiques. We worked tirelessly up and down the country, it was all very exciting, good experience, and we did have lots of fun.
Besides everything else I’m always kept super busy by lending an ear and an eye to motivated individuals who need sound advice, here’s a quick sample of projects I’ve been involved with.
You describe the Non-Permanent events as an “evolving concept”. How did the idea for live action art come about?
Before addressing the question of “evolution “I should use this opportunity to define the concept in the first place. ‘Non Permanent’ is a reflection of the momentary nature of art. This is not about the possession of art but is about the very moment that your imaginations lead to conceptualisation and creation. The Non Permanent celebrates the very moment that art is formed; we celebrate the fact that people can express their thoughts, feelings and impressions of themselves, culture or the world through art. In light of that, in Non Permanent events everything that is created in the framework of the project will be erased, the memories of the participant’s experiences being all that remain.
I drew up the idea on a piece of paper; I had this plan for an outside event that I initially named as White Board. The idea was simple; it was not about knowing, but about doing. The concept was about placing white boards around the city of London in the hope that people would use them to express their artistic talents in one way or another. The final product of the project was to photo document the artwork that is created by the public. It was a curious project about creating a space for temporary artwork in a public environment.
I am afraid my initial thoughts never materialised. Two years down the line, I still had the original piece of paper tucked away in my sketchbook. I pulled out the concept, after I came across an artist called YT (www.cutterskink.com), and as he showed interest in the project, I shared my plans with him and his passion for the project was evident. We founded and refined the concept over the period of 3 months. It evolved quite a lot in that time, with endless meetings, and planning sessions, which involved numerous debates over tea and scones!!
Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances the first Non Permanent event was postponed.
It was quite ironic that the first nonpermanent event was so non permanent. However, we are very optimistic about the possibility of re-launching the project in December 2006.
Dates and event details will be publicised in due course on www.nonpermanent.com, we are looking forward to making this a real Christmas treat.
How do events go and do you plan for any more?
As it was mentioned above in relation to the NP project we are currently doing our very best to hold the first NP event again!
How did you discover the weird and wonderful world of toys?
Admittedly, I have been a massive fan of toys all my life. I was into ‘The Transformers’ as a child. (Growing up in the 80’s certainly did me the world of good!) Phil Corbett, introduced me to Pete Fowlers work, and I was hooked.
I have to say, I’m still collecting the odd toy here and there, nevertheless, I’m not the biggest collector in the world. I recently reached a conclusion that, the more toys I have the more dusting I have to do, so I keep it down to a minimum. Currently, I just have a few (hundred) scattered around my home and studio, with my new ‘Tokidoki’ pieces arriving this week.
You always push the boundaries with your customs and have an innovative
way of using the shape of the toy – where do you find inspiration and what has been your favorite custom to date?
When I design, I think in 3D space, I look at what is typical about the design of the canvas and then work away from that. In my toy designers eyes, lets look at the ‘Knuckle Bear’ for instance, when you first glance at him, what do you see, a bear? Now look again, but use your imagination. I see them round ears as wings, or balloons, and the arms are flying fish diving into a river of dreams, (Billy Joel influenced).
In response to the second part of the question, I have to say that my favorite custom is
‘Hop Hop’. The curry-loving frog from Birmingham.
It would have been great to see that in production. Lucky ‘Matt P’ that is all I can say,
I hope he’s still looking after him well, and still taking him out for the odd curry or two.
Are there any toys you would love to give the Lunartik treatment?
With due respect, I mainly would like to work on my own stuff. Nonetheless, if I had to work on someone else’s toy, I would be delighted to “lunartikify” Pete Fowler ‘Big Snorse’ and turn into some kind of random frog-like eating creature with no head!
At 6’5″ you quite a tall chap, give us 1 good thing and 1 bad thing about your height advantage?
Frankly, as far as I can think there is no bad thing about being tall. There are lots of advantages of a man of my size. For example, I am very happy to inform you that, the county council recently approached me and I was offered the position as lamp bulb replacement engineer. This was due to the sudden shortage of cranes in the local area! (Nevertheless, let it be known, I am still considering other opportunities!)
What does a day in the life of Matt Jones consist of?
I wake with the rest of the world at 9.33 AM; I have a cup of tea to get myself going.
Normally after turning on the pc I look around my studio and check the “TO DO” list,
and then I see what excitement the email brings me. Normally there too many Viagra adverts,
I hope they don’t expect me to reply to all of them?
I then get into the day, make a few important phone calls, talk to friends and clients alike, do some “work” until 7.36.
If you could be equipped with one Inspector Gadget like inner- gadget, what
would that gadget be?
Go Go Gadget Dish Washing Hands!…That would be amazingly handy don’t you think!
What artists do you admire?
It’s often quite hard for me to name people, as there are so many great artists.
If I had to name just a few individuals, my list would go like this: Salvador Dali, Pete fowler, Phil Corbett, Joe Ledbetter, Tokidoki and Mr. MadL
That’s now my top 6, Others include the usual suspects, Mr burgerman, Mr and Mrs Tado and the rest of the lovely folk on this forum. Apart from Dali who’s been less than chatty.
And me not wanting to name anyone, well that went right out the window.
Beside your doodles and artwork, what else keeps you busy?
It’s fair to say you’ve worked for a varied range of clients, with equally as varied services. How would you describe yourself as a designer?
It is often very productive and rather eclectic to bring all mediums of design together. It is very enriching to work with different clients with different projects. However, I really don’t know how to categories myself, but as a ‘Designer’. (This term pretty much covers everything I do)
You produced a website for perplex city. What the hell is perplex city all about?
I cannot say too much about it. However, Perplex City it is an online adventure game.
I was commissioned to create an online ice cream parlor with hidden secrets inside.
I would recommend it if you happen to be a curious person, to go and explore the website for yourself! www.whipsmartice.com / www.perplexcity.com
Is there “no truth to the rumour that you recently spent the night in the cells after you was caught with a spray can during a random ‘art project” in London?
Yes and No. I only will discuss this further after further consultations with my lawyer!
With toys getting ever more popular, where do you think the world of vinyl toys is heading?
I’m constantly surprised by what people are producing, the increasing complexity of the toys, and the ever growing amount of artists that are coming onboard. It is possible we as a collective are producing too many toys and subsequently we are diluting our own niche market.
Perhaps the problem is that we are focusing on quantity rather than quality and what I want to achieve with Lunartik and Toy making is that level of quality, customised toys and collectables.
I think in terms of the toy industry it’s all about the artist and their dedication to products.
You have headed up several street sticker campaigns, why did you choose stickers
as a way of promote yourself?
Stickers are great, they are inexpensive to produce, flexible to move around and above all noticeable. I like the mystery and the chance meetings regarding stickers, I met Mr. D-face while on a naughty stickering session in old London town
Some of these stickers were spotted on the London underground, were you surprised when they asked you to take part in the Art Below project?
Let me just clarify the fact that the ‘Art Below’ project has been designed to promote artists in the Tube Networks in the London underground, turning advertisement space into art space.
-yes, I was surprised!
My piece ‘Lunartik Attack’ was displayed for a month at ‘Borough’ tube Station
(I even went down and signed it) I’ve got myself a copy. It’s huge!.
Are there any toys/artists that are really standing out for you at the moment?
Mr. Joe Ledbetter, he has a great style, recognisable and fantastically detailed!
I really appreciate his choice of colours and his new toys are fantastic, and very attractive.
I hope he sends me one!
Who in the art world would you like to collaborate with?
Someone with original thoughts and a substantial amount of motivation.
(I’m sorry I can’t be more specific)
What would we have to do to get you to drink coffee?
I like the smell of coffee, as I like the smell of petrol, but you will not catch me drinking either!