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Meet The Artist: Giorgiko

Meet The Artist: Giorgiko

Giorgiko, aka Californian art duo Darren and Trisha Inouye, have been gaining serious traction across the pond for their playful, cool illustrations, which fuse together intricate classical painting with children’s characters. The result is beautifully fantastical pieces, with a street art edge.

And now, for the first time, their work is going on display in the UK across the W1 Curates screens that wrap FLANNELS London flagship on Oxford Street.

To celebrate the launch, we chatted with the couple over Zoom to talk lost boys and wayfaring girls, streetwear and what their hopes are for 2021.

What can you tell us about the pieces in this exhibition? 
Trisha: This body of work covers pieces from all the way from the beginnings of Giorgiko up to more recent pieces. This is an opportunity to show our very first produced animation and there's three new pieces that we made especially for the Christmas season too. There are also a few pieces that will be exhibited at our next solo show this upcoming April.

What do you want people to takeaway from seeing your work on the FLANNELS' screens?
Darren: A lot of our work has to do with finding hope in difficulty and transition. With 2020 being a really crazy year for everybody, hope continues to be the theme that we really want people to takeaway. I find it very interesting that our show is at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, so our desire is that people will be able to, if not feel hope, at least ask the questions that would hopefully lead them in that direction.

What are your thoughts on the W1 Curates and how important do you think it is to make art accessible to everyone? 
Darren: We really like the motto 'Art not Ads', we think it's a really cool idea. We don't feel like we're rock star artists, we very much feel like we're just the average artist that's trying to make it, so to be able to have this platform, in such an awesome space, that's a huge blessing. When it comes to art being accessible to everybody, if you're not looking at art online then it's probably not gonna show up on your feed, because of how the algorithms are, and if you're not standing in a gallery you're probably not gonna see any either. 

What does it mean to have your work displayed on Oxford Street, the hub of British fashion? 
Darren: You guys have a lot more fashion sense than us. I don't know if this is the right assumption but European/London is a little more put together. So, I find it interesting that our work is on Oxford Street, it's an interesting juxtaposition, our work being more low brow with graffiti accents and stuff. So, I'm actually more curious to see what other people think of our work because of it being not where we'd normally put it. But I know with street fashion, everything is kind of mixing up in today's culture, which is really exciting. Everyone's inspired by everyone.

You play with darkness, shadow, shade and the nighttime and daytime. What moods are you trying to convey?
Darren: Lighting is a huge aspect of our work, we like the symbology of it, a passage of time between day and night is like a shorter version of a season, which is a shorter version of whatever thing that somebody may be going through in life. I remember as a kid being afraid of the dark and thinking 'I can't wait until the sun comes up' and so we play with that idea a lot. It's something that everybody can relate to, everybody has probably seen a beautiful sunset or sunrise, and I think of transition as a really beautiful thing and not necessarily always a hard thing.

Trisha: The transition can be towards something that's maybe dreadful or worrisome, but it could also be towards something hopeful. We like that middle ground where it can feel really tense but it's part of a season that can change.

Who are the lost boys and wayfaring girls? Are their clothes a form of self-expression?
Trisha: The lost boys and wayfaring girls are the various characters and universe that we've created for Giorgiko. Some are inspired by real people and others we've created, but what you'll notice is there's diversity in their clothing and attire in terms of time period and culture. They range from streetwear to Victorian era clothing, and we're really interested in the idea that regardless of culture, time and place, that all people throughout history have searched for meaning. We see their clothes as a form of self-expression, even down to accessories or tattoos. A lot of our characters have tattoos even if they're wearing ruffs or other historical clothing. We see it as an expression, but also simply as telling their story, where they are and where they're from.  

How are the cultures of street art and streetwear reflected in your work? 
Darren: That’s mainly something I influence Giorgiko with. In high school I fell in love with graffiti and skating, it was aesthetically something I was drawn to that I resonated with in a lot of ways so with Trisha having like these cutesy characters I think that’s just a part of our process and thinking ‘how do we juxtapose these things?’. Graffiti was the first thing we started to add and then tattoos, then it just started to become its own thing. When I think about hip-hop and the skate scene it’s kind of anti-establishment, it’s trying to point out the things that the more corporate side of the world tries to overlook. That ability to shed light and bring voice to voicelessness, I see that in our work definitely.

What does fashion and style mean to you?
Trisha: My personal style is very black, simple but comfortable. I think being comfortable is really important, I'm kind of low-key, unfussy and when it comes to fashion. For me, it's a means of finding what helps me feel comfortable in my body in terms of how I look and represent myself but also just feeling comfortable in my own skin.

Darren: It's funny when I think about when I was younger, like in high school, I was much more expressive - I don't think I had any clothes that I didn't intentionally paint on to make it my own. As I've gotten older it's become a little more practical. Stylistically, I definitely think people can tell that I'm from LA, the stuff I wear it's a little more street, but comfortable. Also, being artists, or me mainly because I do most of the painting, I get paint on everything so naturally I think my clothes really tell a story that I'm a painter. I love nice clothes but it's gonna be ruined, even if I try my hardest not to. We always have friends say like 'oh man you guys look like artists' and it's not like we're trying to you just can't help it.

Do you remember what your style was like when you first met each other?
: When we first met each other in ArtCentre I was still wearing stuff I had painted. I liked going to thrift stores and finding really old clothes, I liked anything that wasn't normal, like really bright. I remember I had this highlighter yellow jacket that was really big, and I painted a big piece on the back.

Trisha: That's what you were wearing when we met! California weather too, it's very mild, so we get terribly cold in very mild temperatures. A lot of Californians have this weird combination of a jacket on top and sandals on the bottom. I remember he was wearing that bright yellow windbreaker jacket with shorts and sandals and like a trucker hat. For me at that time, which is like the beginning of college, right out of high school, I didn't really have a sense of fashion, it was just purely what was comfortable. I think I was just wearing a hoodie and jeans but normally I would wear my brothers t-shirts and my P.E shorts or like a nice flowery top with P.E shorts.

What are your hopes for 2021? 
Just that it's better than 2020! This year, one of the things that was difficult was seeing a lot of division and disunity. I'm hoping for 2021, I think it might be considered unrealistic, but I just really hope that people realise that we're not all that dissimilar, we have a lot of shared experiences and I think difficulty brings out the best and worst in people, so I'm constantly hoping for the best.

Giorgiko will be on display at W1 Curates at FLANNELS London until 4 January 2021.