Faile, the Brooklyn-based artists, are taking over a disused LES storefront with their close collaborater Bast and turning it into The Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. The functional arcade has retrofitted machines programmed with games using Faile and Bast imagery, with sound produced by Les Savy Fav. The arcade opens tomorrow night at 158 Allen Street, and will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 3-11pm until May 27th. We asked them a few questions about the project and their last ten years as artists.
Hello! Looking back through our archives, I see it's been a year since we last mentioned you guys on the site- that was about the Prayer Wheel that you made that was stolen and then returned on North 6th in Williamsburg. What have you been up to since? Hello! 2009 was actually a very busy year but it was more about working on new projects within the studio. The Lost In Glimmering Shadows show in Nov. 2008 was so monumental that we really wanted to let that simmer a bit. Exploring that work and set of images through printing and other means, while beginning to create new works that melded the more classic Faile images and those that were newer.
We also each had babies in the Spring of 09’ (3 weeks apart), this was a natural time to take things more internal. A lot of time was spent developing new works with the Wooden Paintings last year. These are some of the paintings we’ve been exploring lately and plan to show in NYC with Perry Rubenstein Gallery this Fall.
And yes, we caught the guy in the act of stealing the second street PW. He was gracious enough to walk it back to the studio and help us develop a new strategy for more permanent install. It was like consulting with a criminal to do your security.
This week you're mounting your Bast Deluxx Fluxx Arcade 2010 show- a celebration of the ten years of your work. Looking back on the past decade, what were the highlights for you? What were the lowest moments? What have you learned? Well it’s not actually a celebration of 10 years or work per say. Yes it’s been a decade of Faile. We are excited to be releasing a book of Prints and Originals this Fall, highlighting a decade. Deluxx Fluxx actually came together very organically in Bast’s studio. We were discussing a collaborative show and from talking about doing some crazy assemblage we landed on an arcade. This became Deluxx Fluxx. First shown in London, this Spring we decided to do the show here ourselves.
A decade. Yes, it’s substantial. First, I would say how fortunate and grateful we’ve been to be able to pursue this passion. It’s been a wild 10 years at that and a lot of late nights. When we started we never set out with a goal necessarily, it was just the fun of printing, getting radical and getting up. There have been a few times that are more challenging than others but I wouldn’t call them low. We’ve learned that as long as you stay honest and keep pushing forward everything else sorts itself out.
Speaking of Bast, does he actually, really, truly exist, as a person? Or is he you guys? Your work has been appearing together for so long! Would you swear on your children's lives that you're not the same people? Yes, he actually, really, truly exists, as a person. A private one at that but one of the finest.
There are so many recurring visual images to your work- the dog, the bunny girl, the Challenger plane, Michael Jackson- do you see some underlying connection between all of them? Is there an overarching theme to these last 10 years? It’s an interesting dialogue within the work. I think it’s very akin, as much of the work is, to the visual tapestry of New York City. There are bits and pieces that you associate with, relate too and come to love on a variety of levels. All these little elements help define your relationship to the city. In a way, this is how the Faile images have become to us and others I believe. It’s something that has a time and a place in our work. It’s like a character in a story that is slowly unfolding. You don’t quite realize it’s place until you start to see it’s relationships with others.
There are times where we create images that are looser. More punk like and there are times that we really dig into a series like Lost in Glimmering Shadows or the War Profiteers. At the moment we are having fun getting loose and just making. I believe though at our core we are always playing with duality. Love v. Hate. Peace v. War. The soft and the hardcore.
You are a collective, and team work seems to have defined so much of your work. How do you split up tasks? Do you still work on every piece together? How did the team dynamic change when Aiko left to pursue a solo career? I believe it’s more of a collaboration than a collective. As we’ve grown there are things that have changed. We have our strengths and we’ve learned to work with that to create the kinds of shows and work we do. We don’t work on every piece together physically. But there is a conversation about every piece. We go back and forth in the way we “find” a piece, no matter who is working on it.
Things didn’t really change that much when Aiko left. It was a pretty long process of her distancing herself and not contributing or participating. By the time she left in 2006 it all seemed natural and was the best thing for everyone to move forward.
At the Outsiders show in New York a couple of years ago, Patrick told us that Faile was no longer doing much street-work. Do you feel like your work has lost anything since you've made that transition to gallery work? Do you ever miss working primarily on the streets? That may have been a misunderstanding. We’ve never really stopped doing work on the street. We just slowed down and took a break from it. There was an evolution that occurred. We began putting work up with great ambition to cover a city. To have the work everywhere. I think that evolved slowly into finding fewer spots and giving them more attention and care. Spending more time to really create a moment that was beautiful. There became a point with the work where the time between us creating a piece on the street and it being taken was almost nil. This was defeating and I think made us want to take a different approach with the street.
The other side of this is that we were never just street artists. It was a only a part of what we were doing. All along we were making paintings and mono-prints in the studio. Working on the street taught us a lot about process and inspired many things in the studio but the other side of that was true too. That incubation time and just the idea of taking time is very important as well in the creation of work.
Doing a show like Deluxx Fluxx in NYC to us is an extension of doing work on the street, as were the Prayer Wheels. It’s a show we put together, it is there in a random place and then it’s gone. For those who see it, it’s an experience. There is nothing more required. It’s simply about seeing the work and interacting with it on a visceral level. This is the same as work on the street, only in a found space we can control more of those variables.
What artists are most influencing your work this year? Have you met any younger street-artists or fine artists you think are worthy of some attention? Not really sure that there are singular influences this year. We’ve been trying to take a lot of different things in. Get loose with the imagery and experiment a bit. In these times we are looking forward and looking back.
There are always amazing projects and work being done but we’ve been pretty focused and busy this year so getting out to shows has been limited. Though one recent standout is the work of Bruce High Quality Foundation.
Some of your work makes an appearance in the Banksy movie "Exit Through The Gift Shop." Have you had a chance to see the movie? What do you think about it, or about Mr. Brainwash, the artist the movie is about? Banksy once painted the wall outside your studio in Williamsburg- are you guys planning any work when he's in New York for the movie this month? These are all friends really. It’s a movie after all, there are exaggerations and tricks to let you fill in the blanks and project on it what you will. Haven’t seen it yet but look forward to it.
What's next after this New York show? What are you working on now? We are working on a large public sculptural project to be shown this summer in Lisbon. We will also be showing new paintings this Fall with Perry Rubenstein Gallery in West Chelsea.