5 Minutes With… Kai and Sunny
The work of Kai and Sunny has been featured here many of times as the multidisciplinary creative duo has been shown internationally at some of the finer progressive gallery spaces. With their latest exhibition ‘Diverse Elements’ now winding down we had a chance to catch up with the two to speak about their 10 year relationship as artist as well as their future.
When did you guys decide to join up as an artist collective. What unique perspectives did you each bring and how has that contributed to your current work?
Sunny and I have been working together for over 10 year. We first met during our art degree course in London. After we graduated Sunny went to work for a fashion brand called Mahrarishi, owned by Hardy Blechman. I went to work at Mo Wax Records owned by James Lavelle, designing record sleeves under Ben Drury.
When we joined up as an artist collective we started a fashion label called ‘Call Of The Wild’. The label went on to do well and was stocked in great stores worldwide, including Liberty – London, Selfridges – London and Colette in Paris. The label brought together what Sunny and I had learned in our previous rolls. Call Of The Wild was an art based label and was all about nature. We would present the label with in-store installations. This is where it all started for the work we do today.
As artist what are your greatest source of inspiration?
In the early days our inspiration came from surf culture, skateboarding and music. This is also true today but nature would be our greatest source of inspiration. We use nature to connect with people. We use it to provoke thoughts, such as a distant memory. We like the idea of showing something you can’t actually see – asking bigger questions.
Your works unique approach to capturing themes in nature shines a refreshing light on beauty that most take for granted everyday. What does nature mean to you?
Thanks! Sunny and I were both brought up in the countryside. Sunny in the North of the UK, in the Lake District and I was brought up in the South West, in Somerset. They are both areas of natural beauty. Nature was the reason Sunny and I connected and our work evolved from that point. People say our work has an intricate, natural but also a sinister style. We are interested in using nature as a metaphor for other feelings.
Are their new topics / subject matters that you guys have sought to explore creatively?
We have just finished a show at Pertwee, Anderson and Gold in Soho, London, called ‘Diverse Elements’ We had a series of works in this show called ‘Caught By The Nest’ These works were inspired by a book about an autistic child and how he copes with his life. A very moving book! The boy would always return to nature for comfort and refer to nature as his friend.
We have just finished a short animation that was part of the show called ‘Just An Illusion’ and we have just completed a 20ft x 26ft mural. These are both new areas for use creatively.
Your work has been seen along side some of the worlds greatest creatives. What was your primary goal as artist in regards to success and longevity?
Time will tell on longevity, however Sunny and I believe very strongly in what we do and hopefully we will continue to be involved in interesting projects. We have good people around us and we have to trust our judgement with the decisions we make. I think keeping things close is important. We have been privileged to show our work along side amazing artists.
What have been your biggest failures as artist and from those failures what insight was gained?
Over the last 10 yrs we have had many disappointments and each time we learn from these difficult situations. Over time trusting people has become easier and that’s a great feeling. The trust Sunny and I have in each other is immensely important and this has strengthened over time.
What is next for you guys?
We have 2 really exciting shows coming up. Firstly we have been asked to do a retrospective show at the Southbank Centre in May through to August. The show will be around a 30 piece show and is called ‘Migration South’. As part of the show we have been asked to give a talk on our work on May 23rd.
Secondly we are having a solo show at Shepard Fairey’s gallery in LA – Subliminal Projects, at the start of September.