Graphic Surgery

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Tell us who’s in Graphic Surgery (GS), why you guys choose this name and
where is GS based?

Graphic Surgery consists of Amsterdam (The Netherlands) based artists Erris Huigens and Gysbert Zijlstra. We used to deconstruct bits and pieces from our photos and reconstruct them intuitively into altered images by use of scanning, digital editing, printing, photocopying and stencil technique. We started referring to this self sufficient process as Graphic Surgery. Especially when we make small errors or tiny adjustments to our work we literally call it graphic surgery.
Do you guys have any architecture/design/art background?
We met at art academy where we studied Art & Design, both having a fascination for photography and similar music. Also, the father of Erris is a landscape architect, and Gysbert’s brother is an architect.
What is the most preferred surfaced that you guys would like to paint on?
Rough (virgin) walls in abandoned industrial complexes.
What’s the secret behind all these straight and parallel lines?
Haha, you mean the secret as in technique, or the secret as in the message?
The funny thing is we used to paint using very expressive abstract brushstrokes, broad heavy gestures combined with lots of dynamic smears and drips. Later on we would screen print dockland type of landscapes on top of these brushstrokes. The contrast between the expressive organic lines and shapes versus the mechanical geometric intrigued us mostly. In the meanwhile we switched studio’s quite often. Till at some point there was no studio, so that’s when we began producing lots of collages, basically because of the mess you would create at home otherwise.
We would even wheatpaste some (leftovers) collages live on the street! From then on we moved to a more black and white approach, and because we continually remixed our own work, we generated our own recognizable style. Then a lot of friends asked us to jams and halls of or for mural projects, from then on we searched for means to translate the graphical copystyle into a search of different ways of painting that. Using stencils at first. But through coincidence we started using masking tape and started using grids for instance. That’s when the cranes and constructions got their straight and parallel lines.
Can you tell us the procedure of how a regular painting is done and how long does it usually takes?
We hardly start with an complete sketch or plan. Improvisation versus restrictions and regulations. For instance not too many colors and angles. Then we start to tape up some basic shapes, with the help of some mathematics to go. Then we switch to using different widths of masking tape, with even very thin lines, sometimes add some stencils or rasters (halftones). Depends if it’s a legal wall, a quickie, or an abandoned place. The best ones mostly are the fastest ones, because it’s hard to determine when a piece is finished. You can continually add and delete stuff sometimes…
What inspire GS to use all these nice colors and geometric stuffs?
The city as a continually evolving entity, constant urban renewal and demolition.
This process is endlessly inspiring somehow.
Plus the fact that for these interventions are always conducted with the friendly help of construction cranes. Cranes and “naked” constructions have intrigued
us mostly because they are purely functional, yet visually very interesting and shifting perspective as you move along them. Very dynamic.
What’s the hardest piece to paint so far?
The ones that have too many colors, or when nightmares like rain occur.
One day when we peeled of the masking tape, we peeled away also the whole background.
Is there any one that you guys would want to work with?
We are lucky to have worked with quite a few already.
What’s coming up in 2011 for GS?
We can name a few things. An exhibition accompanying a dvd release by
Sofarida ( called Beats & Drips in Paris (also featuring Horfe and Alëxone and a selection of musicians). Plans to do a really big mural in
France with Antistatik crew and ViaGrafik. Releasing another limited edition
shirt, and we’ve planned to do a lot more screenprinting. Maybe an artist in
residency in Hong Kong? Time to start traveling again!


One Response to Graphic Surgery

  1. sofarida says:

    Making of last GRAPHIC SURGERY’s exhibition : Beats&Drips Part 1 // Between the lines

    Enjoy it !


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