The London Police started when two English geezers moved from London to Amsterdam in 1998 to rejuvenate the visually disappointing streets of the drug capital of the world. Famous for their lovable & iconic ‘Lads’ characters which have been seen on streets all over the world. The ‘TLP’ members have come and gone, but now, after 10 years the two founding members have rejoined to bring together their unique styles in a strong collaboration.
While one artist’s, Chaz, skill at drawing a circle ‘freehand’ is staggering, no compasses, guides or masks are used. While the other, Bob, since his departure in 2004, has developed his own imagery, an architectural style of line drawing. In these playful fantasy cityscapes ‘the lads’ are constructed and move around freely, in turn helping to build further elements of the city. They wanted to create a place full of interaction between their circle drawing and line drawing.
Hi Chaz, hi Bob. Today you have chosen to present on Music On Walls five of your artworks inspired by music. Can you tell MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music? And the reason why you chose these singers/musicians for your artworks?
John Lennon , Jim Morrison, Amy Winehouse, David Bowie of course are all amazing musicians that inspired me and Bob (all sadly dead). And that is why we wanted to honor them in the paintings. And we’ve been listening a lot to their music in the time we’ve made our artworks. Music and art are going along so well. So we picked great, iconic, legendary people who are also nice to see in paintings. It is kind of saying that The London Police draws people because we like what they do and love what they stood for.
“13 years” (artwork below) pictures the band The Dandy Warhols because they were friends of ours and they came to a show to sing with us. It was a particular show where we performed music and we imported them in the painting as part of the story.
Do you have a favorite piece between the ones presented today? And if so, why ?
I like the “13 years” piece because it’s so big (4,5 meters long by 2meters high) and it’s an epic piece. It has so much details, it tells a lot of different stories. I really like the other paintings because I like the artists even though they’re not as big and vast and full as the “13 years” piece.
My personal favorite of the five ones is the Amy Winehouse portait “Amy at Sea”. Recently I was on a plane and I had a couple of hours to spare so I watch the documentary on Amy Winehouse (AMY). And I knew a little bit about her music and her story but I thought the documentary about her life was so sad. When we spoke about the London show and who to paint, I just felt that it was already fitting as the portait we made for the show is also quite sad looking. She is kind of alone in a sea. I felt it worked really well. As Chaz said before , we only choose to paint the people we really respect.
Anytime we paint in studio a portrait, we always have their music on and we take a lot of pleasure in that. It’s just my personal favorite, I think it turned out really well and I think the lightness is very good on that particular piece. With those lights we really captured Amy Winehouse in that piece.
Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?
For me, music and artworks are performed by the same kind of people… by artists. I think all artists can relate to each other and that is why, traditionally, music and art go together so well. Great albums with amazing front covers, photography... The way musicians are always expected to dress up and look theatrical and good. And that is why music is so important for me and Bob. As Bob said before, we’re in the studio for several hours a day when we’re making work and good music really helps!
There is rarely a time where there is not music playing in the studio and I think that is probably quite true for a lot of artists. The energy in the music can really fill your day in a sense. Like you have your food, you have your coffee, but you need your music to get you through the day. One of us will be dj-ing the whole day, playing a selection of music that kind of suits the mood. And for us it is a huge variety of music.
Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?
We don’t really have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music but what we can say is that by using icons of music in your work there is a familiarity for the person looking at it that they can connect with; and because what we do normally is very abstract/fantasy work, we draw things that generally don’t really exist. By having something that is recognizable may be beneficial to the artwork or the images, style or attitude you’re trying to portray. By portraying AW or JM, DB, we are obviously the kind of guys that like a bit of rock&roll, we like thing to be a bit edgy. We’ll certainly continue to consider to do things like that. However it’s not absolutely vital to our work to use these kind of icons or images. We are always open and flexible to new ideas so it might happen, it might not. We’ll decide as we progress in our artworks
So yes music has always been part of our lifes and I am sure it’ll continue to be and we’re always thinking about the next project. We want to animate our characters and music will play a huge part in that too. So yes, it is something really close to our art and I will continue to accompany our artworks in all our future project really
Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?
Because we are a duo, there is a lot of communication from the moment we start, from the moment we create the initial idea of what we’ll do. And this continues throughout the piece, we stay flexible so we can keep changing the piece as we go. We both have some methods that we both use. We mix my strong bold characters in a world of Bob’s architecture and portraits. And there is certain artistic techniques that we certainly use, we use pens, acrylic and spray paint on the colored work and on the black and white works we just use ink pen on canvas. And when we work on mural it’s a different kind of process, sometimes it’s bigger and we use paint.
And Bob draws the portraits of the music icons so perhaps he can explain his methods or techniques for that?
I think what is really important with drawing portraits of people is that you get the eyes, nose and mouth in the right place. What I will often do is use as reference a very good photo to make sure everything is at the right place. For example if you look at the recent work we’re presenting today on MoW, we use the horizontal lines from left to right, almost like a secret shading. It becomes such a natural process now that I think that once the eyes, nose and mouth are in the right place pretty much with a hand and a ruler and a little bit of attention to the original photo, pretty soon you can get a good likeness. Like I said earlier, I really enjoy painting or drawing people that I have respect for and that I appreciate .
Well, technique is really simple, it’s black pen on a white canvas. I guess it looked quite like a traditional technique, it’s been done many hundreds of years, this line drawing
What is the kind of music you would listen to when you are working ?
To name of few genres, we love electro music, ambient, techno. We love rock&roll classics. We love really cheesy music as well, like Barry Manilow (laughs), Wham… some really horrible music but that also has its place I think. Well I won’t call Barry Manilow horrible, horribly cheesy I think, constantly cheesy. Music I would expect my mother to listen to. But when you listen hours and hours of music in the studio, you go far beyond the levels where you’re confortable. You gonna start discovering new music and at some point you find yourself listening to “Ultimate Manilow” by Barry Manilow.
What is the song you liked the most lately?
We both think of Fujiya & Miyagi - 'Serotonin Rushes'
What albums ?
Albums on our playlist right now are:
Are you guys musician?
We’ve both been in bands since we were younger. We both I think had aspirations to be musicians, rockstars probably more in that way. We still write music, we still have little performances that we do. Well right now it’s more theatrical, there are songs about dogs...
We were, yes! (laughs) I played in a band called Moss in Holland. About 5 years ago we released several albums in Holland and that was kind of my creative outlet and the last since I rejoined The London Police, me and Chaz have been singing the dog songs.
THANK YOU SO MUCH BOB AND CHAZ FROM THE LONDON POLICE!!!