Rotten Core - Turning Pre-Loved Items Into New To Love Art

We had a chat with one of the amazing local artists we stock at our NHC shop, sitting within the confines of The Ice Box Arts And Music Centre about the work they do, the art the create, and what the future may hold for them. Check out the chat below then be sure to visit their Facebook page and website, as they have some amazing, and unique works of art to share with you!

Can you tell us a bit about what made you choose your specific style of artwork? Especially the use of old cd's and records as a medium?

I was always the arty kid growing up but it was through music that I really discovered the world I wanted to be a part of. Typical emo kid, spending all my Saturday-job money on cds and band t-shirts, it didn’t take me long to discover Alex Pardee, Dan Mumford, Shepard Fairey; incredible artists whose work in no way reflected the things I was being taught in my art education. Their work was fresh, bold, uninhibited and plastered all over the album covers of my favourite bands. They were exactly what I’d been looking for; where tutors told me ‘no you can’t’ their work screamed ‘do it!’ I’m not sure if I have a solid style yet but those guys definitely gave me the assurance I needed to work in my own way.

Using unwanted, unusable CDs and records as a medium came about quite unintentionally but actually seems to be the perfect fit for combining my love of art and music. Like a lot of creatives, I’m a terrible hoarder and becoming more conscious about my impact on the planet and wanting to reduce waste has only made me more obsessed with holding onto things ‘that’ll be useful one day’. Years ago, I came across 1000’s of unwanted vinyl records being sold off cheaply and knew I needed to save them before they ended up in landfill. (Don’t worry, I don’t paint over anything special!) Creatively I’m happiest when I’ve got a scalpel in one hand and a spray can in the other but I’d never really brought those skills into my commercial work. I was holding onto all these puzzle pieces for years and not putting them together then last year my Broken Records just happened. They’re my favourite thing to work on and having to work quickly and spontaneously painting them is a great release after hours of meticulous, controlled design work.

What would you say to other artists wanting to throw themselves into their work, any words of encouragement, or words of warning, you would share with your younger self if you could?

Oh man, so many cliché quotes spring to mind! If it’s something you love, you really will make it happen. If someone tells you you can’t, they’re just another hurdle to pass on your journey. Don’t let anyone stand in your way- they will try.

Early-on I pushed myself to discover lots of artists, not just the few they teach you about in school and I think it’s one of the things that’s helped me most. You can learn a lot about art and about yourself by studying the work of others and at the same time, you get to look at really beautiful art!

Also think about the sort of community you want to create and be part of. I spent years being taught that everyone else was my competition and I had to be better than them, it wasn’t good advice. The creative world becomes a lot more beautiful when we come together, collaborate, share; I wish I’d known that sooner.

Being enthusiastic is great but making a living as an artist is definitely hard work and anyone thinking of taking the leap should do their research first. I’ve had a lot of struggles since launching Rotten Core but even on my darkest days there’s nothing I would change about the journey I’ve had so far. Every lousy thing that happens really does make you stronger. Oh, and always get everything in writing, that advice will save you one day!

What is next for Rotten Core then as a brand? Do you ever see yourself opening up a shop, or a dedicated art space / studio?

How long have you got? I have a new business plan every other day! I think I’m a long way off having my own shop but it’s definitely on the list. As a brand, I would love Rotten Core to be doing more to inspire and impassion people to get outside, discover how incredibly magical the natural world is and do more to live kindly. I’d like to involve more screen printing in my work and I’d love my product range to all have eco/ethical credentials by the end of the year. I have a lot of grand plans involving t-shirts which I hope will come to fruition soon. My motto is ‘make pretty things and change the world’. I’ve made some pretty things so I guess it’s time to start on the changing the world part.