Britain’s Snik is couple Nick and Laura. Nick began working as Snik in 2005, later pairing up with Laura at the end of 2011. Working in stencil and spray paint, the duo is constantly pushing the boundaries of their medium. Snik will hand cut up to nine layers of stencils at a time, creating the depth and realism for which their work is known, with several overlays and applications of paint and varnish. The level of detail in their work is impressive, and the painterly approach of their technique is unique in its texture and dimensionality. By combining the precision of the graphic stencil cuts with the more chaotic and free application of paint, their works balance chaos with control. The same aesthetic applies to their work on canvas, where they offset the accidental aspects of studio work with drips, bleeds and smudges, with the precision of graphic stenciling.
Thinkspace Gallery in collaboration with Berlin’s Urban Nation, is pleased to present DUO, a group exhibition featuring works by internationally acclaimed contemporary art duos. The following is an exclusive Sour Harvest interview with Snik.
How did you two first meet and decide to collaborate together?
Nik originally started teasing out Snik back in 2003 after being immersed in the street art scene from visiting prolific cities across the world. We actually started speaking in 2010, both living in a small town it wasn’t long before we realised we were one of the few people that not only painted but adored finding out about new pieces painted across the globe. Late night studio sessions, ideas and bottles of wine were shared so in a short time 2011 summer came around and we both collaborated with Ben Slow on a wall in Bristol. I guess from there we realised our ideas bounced off each other well. Watching Nik work on the 2011 solo show was a great time for me to step back and really think what I could bring. Officially a duo from the Stencil Bastards show in Zurich in 2012 to our most recent show in LA with Thinkspace we’ve had a great time trying new ideas and concreting Snik being a duo.
What inspires you or where do you find inspiration?
I guess it all starts with a conversation. Whether it’s over music, films or exploring every single art form that really speaks to us. We took a lot of inspiration at the end of 2015 in Paris. The louvre always stands out to us in a big way, the colours and depths of the 16th-century paintings. But then again we can have what seems to be the best idea going but when it comes to putting spray paint and paper to canvas it can fall apart. Sometimes a late night studio session can bring about an idea that is so much fun to roll with.
How do you two work through conflict when creating a cohesive vision?
Haha, I think we are lucky that “constructive criticism” only really comes up when we paint a wall. We are both bursting with enthusiasm about ideas that we wanna do but both realise we need to take a step back to chat. Our ideas always combine well. When painting in masks its impossible to talk, so we’ve learned to trust the process and each other. Allowing each other do what we need to do and know it’s going to work…..hopefully.
What is your process for collaborating, does one artist do XYZ and the other ABC? Please elaborate.
The best way to describe it is we can admit each other’s strong points. I love messing around with colour scales and the contrast it can bring. Being clean and precise. Nik is great at being messy, to be ballsy and drag something pure and clean back to an unstructured piece. We both cut, paint and plan to produce something we can both be proud of.
Do you remember your first wall? Or have a good story to share of when you were doing a mural together…
As mentioned before it was Bristol, Summer 2011. BSU Crew (shout to cosmo, ben slow and DON). An amazing day of beers and sunshine working a wall with Ben Slow. I think if anything, it was Nik seeing I could work his stencils as well as my own and that we could have fun really bringing something to life. That something was Snik. Knowing with 2 people our walls can be bigger and bolder. One of the best feelings ever is standing back from a finished wall together.
If you could live in a movie for a day, what would it be? Would you be yourself or a specific character?
Hands down for me it’s True Romance. Alabama’s style, the crazy love story warped in pimps, murder and a classic soundtrack. I’m sure Nik would pick something completely different, maybe Lord of the Rings? Just for the scenery.
Anything else you would like to share? Next big project?
2016 is all about the walls. There’s been a lot of cutting going on, we’re ready to hit walls all over the place. Keep your eyes peeled!
View new works from the duo Snik during our opening reception for “DUO” Saturday, February 27th from 6 -9 pm. For additional information on the exhibit please visit Thinkspace Gallery’s website; if you’d like to receive a preview of the show make sure to sign up for the Thinkspace Gallery mailing list.