The Project Twins are Cork based design and art duo Michael and James Fitzpatrick. Their style of art and design creates playful graphic work across a broad spectrum of mediums. Their new show Sticky Thoughts is a collection of prints and paintings depicting their usual brand of humour, irony and wit and explores ideas of absurdity, identity and curiosity. Their use of minimal forms and bold shapes, rooted in the visual language of graphic design and semiotics, result in work that appears to directly communicate while also retaining a sense of ambiguity.
The Project Twins work together through a process of dialogue and sketching, continually reducing forms to basic elements. The work presents various dualities between the serious and the ridiculous, the melancholic and the joyful.
We caught up with the design duo for a chat about their work and the new show.
Can you describe the type of work that you do?
We work across a broad range of disciplines including illustration, design, print-making, painting and three-dimensional work. We try and split our time 50/50 between our commercial illustration and our own artwork. Most of our commissions tend to be editorial illustration for various magazines globally. We have worked for the likes of The Guardian, Wired, Nature Journal, Adweek and Variety magazine. The quick turnaround really appeals to us. We have also worked on various ad campaigns which can be much bigger projects working with a lot of people.
Apart from the commercial work we are always trying to develop our own art practice which can range from printmaking up to large installation work. All our work is bold, simple and graphic and we are really interested in taking the visual language of design and seeing how it can develop within a fine art context. We have exhibited in galleries and events such as the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA); Lewis Glucksman, Cork; VISUAL Carlow and TULCA, Galway.
What was the initial thought process with the new work?
We would like to think there is a strong concept behind all our work. This might be a lot more evident in our illustrations as our artwork tends to be a bit more ambiguous. We started working on a range of screen prints last year and when the opportunity for the exhibition came up we felt the space would work well for a print based show. The work for this show uses humour, irony and wit to explore ideas of absurdity, identity and curiosity, presenting various dualities between the serious and the ridiculous, the melancholic and the joyful.
Are you artists first or designers?
When you work across various disciplines this tends to come up a lot with other people but in our day to day practice its not really a concern. We enjoy that space between art and design and we are always trying to blur the lines even further. We don’t see ourselves as purely one or the other as all the work comes from the same place. The visual language of all our work is very much rooted in graphic design so even though the content or context may change our thinking process usually remains the same.
You worked with OFFSET and Toejam last year on the Transform Your City project. Do you enjoy collaborative work?
Yes, essentially our work is always collaborative as we work on everything together. Obviously just us working together runs a bit smoother but when we can collaborate with the right people this can bring a lot of new ideas and ways of seeing things into a project. It can be really enjoyable and sometimes throw up ideas and solutions that you may not come to alone. Working with you guys and Toejam was great. It also started us working on large mural projects which is now an important part of our practice. It’s always really interesting when collaboration can work this way and even push you in a new direction.
Here’s a second chance to see the mural The Project Twins had outside The Bernard Shaw last year for Transform Your City.
The exhibition starts with a preview on Thursday 11th June 5.30pm – 7.30pm in Sternview Gallery at Nash19, 26 Marlboro Street, Cork, and is opened to the public from 11th June – 4th July.