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Oddly Head | Artist Interview | Hang-Ten
Editorial / Artists

Oddly Head | Artist Interview | Hang-Ten

5 Jun 2018

We are just over two weeks away from what will be arguably Hang-Up's most exciting event of the year. Our penultimate interview is from the artist to watch; Oddly Head.

Hang-Up Our first memory of you was celebrating the summer Dog Days exhibition together, in 2015, when your ‘Licked’ print went down a treat! What's your first memory of Hang-Up?

Oddly Head Wait, that’s your first memory of me? I’d been coming in for years before that!! I thought we were friends?! Truthfully, I’d been in a couple of times but once I’d made a small portfolio of work, Hang-Up was my first choice among galleries to approach. Brave soldier that I am, I got my wife to phone Ben to tell him about my work. My wife’s way more charming than me and secured a meeting for me with Carla. The rest is HU-story. Sorry.

Above: Throwing it back to the start. Oddly Head's artwork on display on the opening night of Dog Days in 2015
HU Can you remember the first piece of artwork you made that solidified your path as an artist? What was it?
OH That would probably be making ‘Autumn Intrusion’ with Thomas Heatherwick in 1997. Commissioned by Mary Portas, this was a huge sculpture that had the appearance of weaving in and out of the windows along the facade of Harvey Nichols department store. We worked out of an old buoy-making factory on the Isle of Dogs for six months. It was a deeply formative time, the beginning of my creative career.

Above: Sneak peek alert! Oddly Head plays with his awesome new original, The Future Leaks Out, for Hang-Ten Exhibition.

HU You'll be creating some new and unseen works for Hang-Ten to which we're very excited about. Can you give us a sneaky insight into what you're working on for the show?
OH Well, the main piece – the biggest I’ve made as Oddly Head – is a continuation of the text-based pieces I’ve been making. I’ve been looking at the cut-up technique (the method of cutting up a finished text and re-arranging the words into a new piece of writing) that was developed by the Dadaists and later popularised by William Burroughs. Burroughs suggested cut-ups may be effective as a form of divination saying, "When you cut into the present the future leaks out." The title of the piece is The Future Leaks Out. I can tell you that it’s a fully interactive, 3-dimensional piece of work, a sort of analogue inspiration machine or slogan generator.

Above: The Connor Brothers Mike Snelle and Hang-Up crew hit Oddly Head's studio. Mike Snelle has even commissioned a couple for his own personal collection.

The process behind The Future Leaks Out...

When we visited his studio, Oddly head showed us the delicate process behind his hand-painted masterpiece...

HU You're a super smart guy, who’s always proposing fresh and new ideas which get us really excited for the future – which are some of the best things about working with you. What’s the best thing about working with Hang-Up?

OH That you appeal to my vanity by describing me as a super smart guy… I’ve been making art for 4 years and HU have been there from the beginning, providing encouragement but most importantly, a critical eye. Carla has proven herself to be on the money when it comes to knowing which my strongest pieces of work are and that’s been essential for my growth and development as an artist. The rest of the team are super professional and just so goddamn lovely. Their enthusiasm and positivity is a tonic even on the shittiest of grey London days.

Above: Hang-Up team X Oddly Head at the opening night of Repeat After Me

HU There are ten artists displaying in Hang-Ten - all very different in techniques and concepts. If you could collaborate with one artist in the show, who would it be and why?
OH For their wit and way with words, The Connor Brothers.
HU The last ten years of Hang-Up have been filled with plenty of peaks (and a few troughs that we can now laugh at...!) What's the last ten years been like for you? Can you name a few key moments?
OH Firstly, I’d like to know what those troughs that you can now laugh at were!
It’s been ten years since I stopped working for the Man. I’ve done all sorts since. Working with Push Print in Bermondsey, I published three volumes of art portfolio 50 by 70. We worked with the estate of pop art superstar nun Sister Corita Kent on Volume II, reproducing her beautiful screen prints. On Volume III, we worked with The Beatles Apple Corps and created the first ever set of screen prints of Heinz Edelmann’s amazing artwork from the film Yellow Submarine.
My friend Giles Hammond and I created an app called Sir Benfro’s Brilliant Balloon which was included in the App Store’s best 50 apps of 2012.
I travelled to Japan where I studied under an assortment of Sensei to fully perfect my Rising Dragon Fist and Hurricane Kick.
I made a picture book with Josh Weinstein, showrunner and lead writer during the golden age of The Simpsons.
With age, I learned that by not always telling the truth, one can achieve great power…
HU Can you describe a specific work, series, exhibition and/or collaboration you have been most proud of?
OH Well, sales from the ME series raised a few grand for Medecins sans Frontieres so probably that.

Oddly Head ME's on display at Hang-Up for his Repeat After Me Exhibition

HU Without a doubt, a favourite time with you was your inaugural solo show 'Repeat After Me', last year, which was a huge success. Can you name your favourite Hang-Up moment?
OH Yep, that was a big moment for me, selling all those ME’s. That show was a turning point, giving me the confidence to go deeper with my work. HU got game in throwing a cracking party too! Aside from that, I also very much enjoyed taking Ben and Carla down to AB Foundry in Limehouse to watch the bronze 99 Problems being poured and cracked out of their moulds.
HU We know this question can sometimes be a cringe for artists, but we're putting together a Hang-Ten playlist and would like your input. What three songs would you like to add?
OH Moodymann – I Can’t Kick This Feelin When It Hits
Jackie Wilson – The Who Who Song
Reflection Eternal feat. De La Soul – Soul Rebels
HU We certainly have a few goals for the next few years - one includes world domination. What's the goal for the next 10 years?
OH What, with my forthcoming collaborations with Kanye, Kendrick and Koons, my life goals have all been achieved before I’m 46, which is a right result. After that, it’ll be time to kick back and let the robots take the strain.

Don't forget to check out Oddly Head's full catalogue. Watch this space for his Instagram Take Over this Thurs 7 June @Hangupgallery
Ever wanted to ask Oddly Head a question? We are opening up the floor to a Q + A, so email us and your query and it might make it to the next interview.
Thanks for reading,

Hang-Up Team

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