Nerd City Interview: ITEM

March 4, 2009


Edmonton, Alberta, Canada’s Adriean Koleric is Item, one of Nerd City’s favorite artists and greatest allies.  Item was kind enough to answer a few questions about his artistic philosophies, inspirations, and his upcoming HERD show.

I see a really cool range of homages in your work from nerd pop culture to modern architecture to fashion to music. Stylistically, what influences propel Item?

I think you pretty well summed it up in your question! Ya, i’m a Nerd through and through. I love Industrial Design, Architecture, etc. …but my first love is pop culture, especially early to mid-80′s era. Stuff like comic books, toys, vinyl, cartoons, etc. That shit just gets me going and really helps fuel the creative fire. By the way I have to say, the trailer for the new GI Joe movie looks absolutely sick! I was a little worried with the all leather promo posters, but this really settled things down for me. I’ve been waiting for this flick since 1983, so it’s kind of a big deal to me!

What specifically is the HERD show and how did the idea come about for it?

HERD is my first solo show that’s based on the original Star Wars AT-AT design. The show will center around a dozen refurbished AT-AT’s (aptly renamed to AK-AT’s ) and will also feature some wall graphics, lighting elements and my first official toy based on my AK-AT driver mashup. I basically had 2 objectives for the show. One was to put focus on the actual design of the AT-AT’s and make people realize that someone actually sat down and spent time on this piece which in my opinion is one of the most iconic pieces of art ever made.

The funny thing is we don’t know the name of the Artist behind it like we would with a VanGogh or Warhol piece. According to Wikipedia, the AT-AT Designers name is Joe Johnston who funny enough is supposed to be the Director for the upcoming Captian America movie. Nice little tidbit eh? As for the second objective, I also wanted to show how some of us are heavily influenced by Western Pop Culture and that items such as the AT-AT’s are essentially ‘Art’ to us which then filters into our work today. These are the creations we look fondly back onto and inspire us to do what we do in a creative realm. Essentially what i’m saying is that we’re the HERD that are being lead by this movement called Pop Culture.

You have commissioned some really cool pieces from Suckadelic as part of the show. How did that collabo come about and what was the process like?

It was such an easy process. I have to say The Sucklord is a machine and an absolute professional at what he does. I basically dropped him an e-mail with a sketch of my ‘AK-AT Driver’ to see if he’d take it on as a job, which he graciously did. From there he rattled off a dozen kit-bashed resin figures that were spot on to what I was hoping to get. I felt like a kid again when those bad boys showed up in the mail. The quality is downright criminal. I cannot wait to include them in HERD!

You share the music that you’re enjoying fairly regularly on your blog. What have you been listening to while working on the pieces for the HERD show?

My Nano was on serious shuffle mode through the HERD process. The tunes were all over the place, but if I had to pick something specific i’d say I really got into The Rakes. ‘Strasbourg’ is a bloody masterpiece! Absolute brilliance! I’m also one of those guys to have a ‘background’ movie playing while I work. You know, the flicks that just sound great? Life Aquatic, Snatch, Lock Stock, The Darjeeling Limited and definitely Afro Samurai! RZA rocked the shit with that soundtrack. I wish my theme song sounded as bad ass as that one.

What is your process for custom painting the AT-AT’s.

Well the first challenge was actually getting my hands on them. Thank goodness for E-bay! Otherwise i’d be hooped. Once they arrived, then came disassembly and then a major cleaning as you would not believe the state that some came in. One was actually lit on fire from the inside! Of course no mention of that in the auction description. So after all components were ‘brought back to life’, out came the spray paint and the rest is history.

What else is on the horizon for you, artistically?

I’ve got a couple of shows in the pipeline. One based on Cobra Commander which will be another solo gig and then a group show I’m putting together that will be an all ‘Droid’ program. The mediums will vary for both, but the common is that I’ll still be incorporating some of my Design background to each one. Stuff like this just evolves as the process goes, so it’s always hard for me to know exactly how things will turn out at the end.

Thanks so much for what you’re doing with your art. Your combination of uber modern style and geek culture reverence is exactly what Nerd City loves!

…and I love you Nerd City !

HERD will officially be happening Spring 2009 (April 17-May16) in Edmonton at Latitude53.

Please check out Item’s web site here and blog here for more info.

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