interview with Mr. Edwards
– Why do you use the name ‘Mr. Edwards’?
The Mr. Edwards came about from martial arts training- we had to address each other as Mr. or Ms. as a sign of respect and equality in the dojo. We used to keep it up even when we were socialising which used to get some odd looks. I think it has an air of authority yet anonymity which I like. Some people get it and embrace it and some don’t. When I left college my first job was designer on a street fashion magazine. We moved offices and in the process we lost a photographer’s portfolio. Rather than accepting some editorial or free publicity she sent two rather large West Indian gentlemen round to collect some compensation in cash. They were both called Mr. Smith. I think that must have left an impression on me too.
- How long have you been making paste-ups / street based work, and what draws you to this style?
I have only started doing street based work this year. I have always kept scrap books and visual diaries since I was at college. They are 2 dimensional and personal, in that I am the only one that sees them. The street is one big 3 dimensional scrap book, so its just an extension of that except it is very public. Its a chance to share my work and see what kind of response it evokes. I like to think it stimulates some thought/internal dialogue with everyone that sees it. Its a bit like a comedian trying out new material at an open mike gig.
- The city or place that an artist lives oftens inspires the kind of work they do – how does your location influence you?
I live near the Anzac bridge and Balmain. I am surrounded by decaying industrial buildings – the power staion, tram sheds, closed pubs, marine salvage yards, warehouses, railway arches, cranes. I am very interested in the local history of the area. Also Sydney is a good town for walking. I pretty much walk everywhere because the public transport system is rubbish. You have time to look at things when you are walking, small details, things tucked away waiting to be discovered. I work on a small scale really. I also have to suffer crappy advertising everywhere I go, I have no control over that, so its my way of striking a bit of a balance- in a very small way at the moment.
- What atracts you to the retro advertising that you collect?
I collect a lot of retro stuff. I suppose originally it goes back to college when I started making little booklets and zines and photocopying them. The stuff that reproduced the best was high contrst black and white images or halftoned screened images which were abundant in old adverts from the 50’s and 60’s. At college they had a cupboard in the library full of Life magazine from the 1930’2 up to the 1960’s I used to spend most of my time just wading through them all photocopying anything useful. Now I have my own cupboard full of life magazines.
- What are your thoughts on Paste Modernism and what kind of work might we see from you for this year’s event?
I am really excited about Paste Modernism, it’s going to be huge. I see it as a big collaborative scrap book. I hope to bring some humour and wit to it, though I am a deadline surfer so nothing is finalised yet.