Just like a true linguistic idiom, the two brothers, Hugo and Sholto, make an artistic duo creating work that transcends the literal pictorial meaning and always carries an engaging message. They are Id-iom and their graffiti art is a delightful combination of their two respective styles, expressive, unpretentiously potent and witty.
They grew up in a creative family that encouraged their artistic endeavor, as Hugo and Sholto today are developing their styles individually and together as well. Originally from Brixton, Id-iom’s artistic career progressed rapidly after their move to London. Today, they are known for their recognizable eclectic pictorial identity, and their stunning diversity when it comes to preference in media, technique or ideas. Their creative spirit is not limited to visual arts alone, as they both have been active DJs for years, and still enjoy making mix-tapes and connecting them to their art as a sonic background.
In an exclusive interview Hugo has given to Widewalls, he talks about his working relationship with his brother, their compatibility and occasional problems, the demolition of their basement studio and their inspirations, aspirations and plans.
Widewalls: You come from a very creative family background. How has that influenced, benefited and supported you?
Id-iom: It has always been handy to get a fresh perspective on things. For instance when we have been working on a piece for ages and all our ideas are old ones in new guises its very handy to fire off an email to my mother or brother seeing what they think to hopefully jump start ourselves. It’s either that of an impromptu id-iom business meeting in the pub to get the juices flowing
W: Does working with your brother make it easier or harder?
I: Definitely for the better in my opinion. Just yesterday I put this post on Facebook which I think sums it up. “Got stuck, so passed the buck!! The joys of having two people in id-iom.” At times it can be frustrating though but that’s never due to artistic differences I think that’s just because we’re brothers and work with each other every day. Due to that pieces like this get made:
W: How come you guys are so diverse in your styles? Most artists stick to one.
I: Boredom is probably the biggest reason. If we do too much of any one thing whether that be painting, sculpting, spraying, stenciling I just end up getting extremely bored and it feels more and more like a job than having fun and creating artwork. That said we constantly struggle with the idea that maybe we should just pick one thing and stop being a jack of all trades and become a master of one. I think eventually though it will all work out for the best or at least I hope it will. We also like to try our hands at other areas not just art. We both like to DJ, one of us is writing a book, we’re not half bad with a limerick or two either…
W: Do you each have your unique talents for one of the various techniques?
I: We do but we find its never best to rely on the other’s skills. So we both try to be able to do it all. That said it usually works along the vein of if you want something neat and detailed we use the skills of Sholto and if you want an absolute mess with all loose line then I’m your man.
W: Can you tell us about your DJ-ing? Do you take inspiration from it for your visual art?
I: Most definitely. I listen to music nearly all day, everyday when I’m painting and it seems that both influence the other. When you paint you can get in to a certain mindset and you then change the music to fit it.
W: What else do you draw inspiration from?
I: The usual of books, films, newspapers, music but I find temping, travelling on any kind of public transport and the pub just as good a place for inspiration. It really can just pop out of no where though.
W: Do other artists influence you?
I: With the advent of the internet and all the social media sites you’re constantly seeing other peoples work whether they be friends or not and that definitely influences a person. That said I am always out looking at other artists work whether that be on the internet or out at a gallery show but like our style the people who I draw influence from change constantly.
W: Which dead or alive artist would you like to work with?
I: Hmmmm now this is a tricky one. Once I give one name I know I’ll just keep coming up with more. I think the person I’d like to work with would have to push not just me but themselves as well. A big wall, collaboration wall would be fun with just about anyone.
W: Can you tell us about your Studio?
I: Sadly at the minute we don’t have a studio. Our last one got knocked down but before it was we had the privilege of painting the whole building from basement to attic in order to give her a good send off. I currently work from a room in my house whilst Sholto works in a shed in his garden. I suppose we should pull our fingers out soon though my house is starting to look like a tip with all the stuff we’ve picked up off the streets for use in art projects.
W: If you could save three works from a fire at your studio, which would they be?
I: My first thought was let them burn as it would be incredibly cathartic but that seems a little facetious. I would probably take the 3 newest pieces, stuff I’m still working on because everything else would of probably been photographed.
W: Do you collect art?
I: Yes absolutely. I can remember once my father asked what we thought of the art on the walls at home, we said we appreciated it but it wasn’t really to our tastes. So he said we should buy bits we did like, that was when we all got in to buying comic art. From then on we’ve constantly been buying what we like.
A few years after this, my mother started buying an artist’s work on the internet that she liked. At the start she was buying them for pennies and ended up being one of the biggest collectors of this artist’s early work. At the time the artist worked under the name Nancyboy but has since changed to his real name of Stuart Semple.
W: What are your plans for 2014?
I: Well we have a few collaborations in the pipeline that we are hopefully going to get on to this summer on some nice big walls around London. We have a few art festivals that we are taking part of as well and I’d like to make a few videos this summer, although from past experience it’s not going to be easy.