THREE up and coming artists, and former University of Salford students, have opened a new Mr Freeze exhibition in Islington Mill.
The exhibition, Mr Freeze, is a collection of work that was done in their university time before last summer and the material they have created in their current studio space in the Mill.
We spoke to Matthew Challenger, 27, and Amrit Randhawa, 21, who worked on the exhibition alongside their other partner Tara Collette.
“We’ve had a studio space together for about 6 months now and we’ve made a lot of work since being here I guess.” Said Amrit. “We thought we might as well just start exhibiting it; it made sense to that instead of just hiding the work in our studio.”
Matthew continued: “You have to come to a point where you have to start showing the work and get that dialogue between people looking at it.”
Amrit went on to explain the importance of setting up an exhibition: “It’s good to get people to see it, strangers and people we know, and get feedback from them.
“That’s a really useful thing for our practice, for people to tell us about it or recommend us artists. We’ve always exhibited our work since we’ve started making work. It’s like a natural progression.”
They also talk about their influences and how the work was brought to life.
Matthew said: “For me, the branding in the art work comes from the interaction of said place. For example, the Costcutter pieces were because that’s where I bought my lunch from at university, so that’s where the prints came from.
“I always did my shopping at Lidl, so I became a bit obsessed with that too. It’s a weird obsessive thing I think but I really like that sort of interaction.”
Amrit continued: “Artists tend to get obsessed with things as well and I think that’s a good way to channel it. I think with me, I do it through a class system. For instance, John Lewis is like a middle class thing, but then Iron Bru is a universal thing.
“There’s a thing Andy Warhol said about how Coke is for everybody, you could be rich or really poor, but Coke’s just the same; there’s only one version of it. That’s something I try and do with Iron Bru.”
They also discuss the way their work has evolved and adapted to the studio space since leaving university in summer.
Amrit said: “In our final year we started to realise the people we were looking at weren’t graphic designers as such – they were artists. A lot of famous graphic designers we like, even once based at the mill who teach at the university, don’t really look at graphic design as much as they look at artists.
“Being in a university environment where we were, by a lot of tutors, encouraged to look at artists and go to exhibitions off our own back, it kind of opened a dialogue about art and graphic design.
“Having the mill space then meant that we don’t really know whether we do art or graphic design, it can be different each day we’re in here!”
The exhibition was on for one night only, however the group regularly host exhibitions at the Islington Mill.