If you’re into social media of one form or another you can’t help but notice Adrian+Shane, the dynamic arty duo who march along to their own tune and create amazing art along the way. They produce t-shirts, prints, you name it, and they have a hand in it!
This cute and hirsute duo have such talent and an amazing understanding of social media and the way to get your message and artwork out there. They are pan-european in the truest sense, and are forever hopping across the channel to show work, view work or simply march….
Below is an interview I was lucky enough to do with this lovely couple:
So, tell me about the Adrian+Shane brand:
Q: How did you two meet? When and where?
Shane: We grew up in the same town and went to the same schools. So we knew each others faces but we never actually met until mutual friends introduced us at a club in December 1997.
Q: How did you first get to work together?
Adrian: When we met Shane was a student at the Glasgow School of Art and I was still living in Ireland. I flew to Glasgow to visit him for a few days in February 1998. One night we got very drunk, on vodka I had bought in Dublin Airport duty free. We sat on the floor in Shane’s student flat and began sketching and painting in a pad. We didn’t speak. It just happened so naturally. We would swap the pad back and forth, taking turns of adding something. Then when we felt it was finished, we’d flip the page and start a new one. We did 10 pieces over those few days in Glasgow. We still have them. They’ve never been exhibited. Nobody else has ever seen them.
Q: Do you still have samples of your early work?
Shane: Oh yes. Everything we make goes into our archive.
Q: Where do you call home and does it influence your work at all?
Adrian: We live in Drogheda (Ireland’s biggest town). Looking at our work we don’t think it does influence it. We live in a bubble. Influence tends to come from all over the world usually when we are travelling and on holidays.
Q: How do you divide the workload?
Shane: It really depends on what project we’re working on. Once or twice a week we’ll have a meeting in our studio and figure out what needs to be done. We’ll each decide what we want to do, then we’ll go and do it.
Q: Does one of you have more of a business brain than the other?
Adrian: I’d say Shane has more of a business brain.
Q: Where did the marching come from? How did it catch on?
Shane: We were asked by a magazine to do some self portraits to accompany an Adrian+Shane interview. As we were taking the photos Shane just started marching. It wasn’t planned. We loved how it looked. That photo has become our most recognised image. And we use it as our logo.
Q: Your work feels very European? Do you agree?
Adrian: Does it? We never heard it being described as European before. Sounds good though.
Q: Is this your full-time role? Does it support both of you?
Shane: Yes, this is what we do full-time. Things have really started to take off over the last few years. Selling prints and T-shirts online is a constant income. They sell worldwide. We also get commissioned to make artwork/paintings too.
Q: Where did the type t-shirts come from? Where do you get your ideas from?
Adrian: Like a lot of our work they were accidental. One day we stencilled on to a couple of T-shirts to wear out to a club that night. Then photo’s of us wearing the T-shirts were posted online. Suddenly we got a tonne of requests from Facebook and twitter followers wanting to buy the T-shirts. We hadn’t planned on making them for anyone but ourselves. So we decided to give it a go. Back then we were using spray paint and stencilling directly onto the T-shirt. These days we screen print them.
Q: What’s next for you two? What’s the next project?
Shane: We currently have some new paintings on show in a gallery in Berlin (until June). There’s an exhibition featuring a brand new photographic print of ours opening in Brooklyn, New York next week. Right now we’re working on some new pieces that’ll be exhibited in London in September. And there’s a few major top secret projects that we can’t talk about right now.
Q: You use social media very well, how did this come about? It gives your work a very 21st century feel.
Adrian: Social media is an important tool to get your work seen by a large audience in an instant. It’s played a key part in our success over the last few years. We use it as a sort of visual diary, recording what we’re seeing and doing every day. Technology excites us. We love discovering new apps etc.
Q: You offer prints of your work – do you like this option as it gives everyone a chance to own decent artwork?
Shane: Yes, prints are a great way to own a piece of Adrian+Shane if you don’t have the money to buy the original artwork. We plan to offer a larger selection of prints in the coming months.
Q: How did you get into video work? Why use this art form?
Adrian: We love experimenting with different mediums. Our first short film “42 Rotations” was shown at several film festivals and won awards. We’d definitely like to explore film making some more.
Q: There’s an air of Gilbert & George about the brand – not as in a copy, but were they an influence in any way?
Shane: We get compared to Gilbert & George a lot. They’re great artists so it’s flattering. Maybe subconsciously they’ve influenced us.
Q: What and who are your influences?
Adrian: Films (we love documentaries), music, graphic design, fashion, Madonna, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Willy Wonka, The Catholic church, The Wizard Of Oz, Alexander McQueen, My Own Private Idaho.
Q: Does it feel like a brand? My personal feel is that there is a G & G/Warhol/Factory feel about what you do. It’s all about clean, clear, wonderful images and colours.
Shane: Wow. Thank you. They’re all great things.
We both love graphic design and branding. And we’ve just applied that to ourselves and a lot of people have picked up on it. We don’t mind being called a brand.
Links to follow the lovely Adrian+Shane: