Q+A With East London Artists Fantich & Young

By Sarah Stallmann
In Style

East London-based artists Mariana Fantich and Dominic Young work as distinct personalities on a parallel plane—like “Jekyll and Hyde,” as Young puts it. Their conceptual creations play on the juxtaposition of symbolic materials (nature versus the supernatural), twisting perceptions to subvert conventional meanings.

The result? A primeval yet contemporary collection of works that feature razor blades, teeth, hair and various metal apparatuses. The artists are two of the buzziest in the ever-shifting art world and will make their US debut on Nov. 6 at projects+gallery as part of Saint Louis Fashion Week. The space will be adapted to their show, “Apex Predator/Darwinian Voodoo,” which employs mixed media, multimedia sculpture and photographic prints in the presentation.

Photo courtesy of projects+gallery

Photo courtesy of projects+gallery

ALIVE: What is the concept of your show with projects+gallery?
Dominic Young: The installation simulates a pop-up, pedigree lifestyle brand showroom, and will be complemented by its own digital flagship store and a promotional advertising campaign.

ALIVE: Going back to the beginning, how did you two meet?
Mariana Fantich: We met in the East End of London in 2005, where we were sharing a studio space in an area called Hackney Wick. We initially started working together because we saw more creative possibilities opening up to us than were available individually.

ALIVE: How has working together served your work?
DY: When you work as a team, you can bounce off each other; you get less precious with your ideas and you feel able to solve theoretical and practical problems much easier. The secret of a successful collaboration is to gang up on the problem, rather than on each other.

ALIVE: How do you feel each of your individual aesthetics complement the other?
MF: Like Bonnie and Clyde?
DY: Like Jekyll and Hyde?

ALIVE: Can you tell us a bit about the “Apex Predator/Darwinian Voodoo” series and your inspiration behind it?
MF: The “Apex Predator” is a collection that features male and female ceremonial attire that is customized with human hair, bones and eyes and accompanied with footwear, perfume and accessories that are laden with thousands of teeth for the discerning client with a taste for power and exclusivity.
DY: “Apex Predator/Darwinian Voodoo” was inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection and the belief system of supernatural ceremonial ritual.

ALIVE: What’s your creative process like?
MF: Creativity is a like a magic trick: Once you know how it’s done, it’s no longer fun.

View Fantich & Young’s US debut, Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo during Saint Louis Fashion Week on Friday, November 6 from 6-8pm at projects+gallery. RSVP here!

This article was featured in the November 2015 issue.

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