Obsessed with fairy tales, moving images and availableism, creative duo Mike and Claire open up about their latest story Grimms and their role in redefining the modern day classics.
Inspiration - Grimms
Claire: Over Thanksgiving break Mike found this beautiful calendar for the 2014 year of Grimm's illustrations. We really liked them and kind of wanted to make a project that was our interpretations of these illustrations. It started out us wanting to stay in the realm of those illustrations that we found but by the time we got around to actually shooting them we realized that we were kind of essentially just really inspired by the illustrations in making up our own stories. Instead of like Cinderella or Little Mermaid or anything like that it became more like we wanted to address like gender and politics through this idea of a fairytale and it sort of feels like the project isn't finished yet, feels like just the beginning and we were really inspired by primary colors and keeping it sort of in this realm.
Mike: A lot of our work is always talking about issues that are really important to us but doing it in a playful way because we feel like if you’re too aggressive about something or if you approach it in a way that is really serious people don't want to be involved in it, or they like get too wrapped up in it to so that they don't really cause a change.
C: Its just like seriously, un-serious or maybe un-seriously serious
Reinventing the Classics
M: I feel like these fairy tales or these morals need to be reinvented for a new generation because everything seems like its a little too far behind, you know? The idea of needing a prince charming is something that is becoming obsolete to people now, which feels really good. Then there is just the perspective of us making work as two queer people and wanting to have stuff like that available to other people. Basically were just trying to make work that starts new conversations.
C: I think with the idea of the fairy tale its been so watered down and saturated by things like Disney for example, like the Little Mermaid. The Disney movie has a happy ending, and I mean the real tale is fucked up and she gets her tongue cut off and she dies and like that is fucked up and there are numerous tales like that. Its basically like you are sugar coating a really scary thought to put in a child's mind to teach them a lesson and that has been really interesting to us because I feel like through our own work were still like growing as people too and in some ways its like lessons to ourselves that we learn that we try and put back into the work, maybe.
"The fairy tale its been so watered down and saturated by things like Disney..."
Modern Day Fairy Tale
M: We heard this story today about this person who's lover forgot their suitcase and they were like, “can you bring my suitcase on the plane” and they were like, “sure” so they flew over and then the police went into their suitcase and found a bunch of heroin.
C: He had never met the girl before, so he brought over this suitcase that had a bunch of heroin in it and they spent the rest of their life in jail together. It sounds like a modern day Grimm's fairytale. Its just that brutal and its kind of exciting. Its kind of a Pandora's box situation, not really, but its like you don't open the suitcase what the hell?
M: Its the same thing its just modern fairy tale.
C: Yeah, its just like we are making things to fit what we want to see. It is funny because I feel like one of my all time favorite movies is Edward Scissor Hands and i love that movie so much because its taking Beauty and the Beast and redoing it in a really like beautiful modern way. I don’t know, for some reason that movie just like always sticks with me and I really, really love how he did that film. It is just that idea of taking such a basic idea and placing it in the modern world. It always feels like new or something.
M: The idea of like a cellphone being something magic is kind of disregarded as something trivial or kind of stupid or like things that take place in modern day world aren't magical anymore and thats kind of a strange thing to me because basically all fairy tales take place in like ancient times but its cool reinventing stories or just reinventing things that have elements of today in it.
Creating As a Duo
M: We’re definitely not exactly the same but we are the same in the way that we recognize each other's differences when we are working and my style of work really compliments Claire's style of work and Claire's style of work really compliments my style of work.
C: It is funny because we had a guest critique in our class a while ago and he kind of told us like you guys are from the same pole, but Mike was like were from the opposite poles and we meet in the middle. I feel like Mike is like really slick and I’m like kind of a country bumpkin and I don’t know how to explain that more but thats for me kind of where it like meets in the middle. I guess if you look at what we used to do separately Mike is really slick and I used to do a lot of like digital mash up shit and I think we have sort of found a way to mash that together which is cool, but idea wise I feel like were very much on the same page do you feel like that?
M: yeah definitely
"Mike is like really slick and I’m like kind of a country bumpkin."
M: We have always been really interested in the idea of availableism, which is making work with what you have available and it even applies to making food or it can be anything just using what you have available around you. So, if you have you know 500 slinkies that we found on the street then were going to make a project that uses slinkies.
M: Everything DIY
Interview by - Karin Bar