Triple O.G. is the brainchild of John Harris and Jake Kent. It’s a not-for-profit shop and gallery holed up on the first floor of Backlit Gallery in Nottingham. Any money made is poured back into the project to support the realisation of new publications and artworks made by their ever growing roster of international contributors. Their new show opened on November 21st and runs until December 6th and features new prints from Jonny Negron and Kyle Platts.
What would you say is your favourite print, publication or zine you guys have commissioned?
Well we’ve only commissioned one publication and one print and they’re both great (James E Smith’s Stephanie and Kyle Platts’ Contra Internet print). We seem to work more on projects commissioned to us by others, our favourite is a tossup between Make it easy on yourself which was commissioned by Nottingham Castle for the Hayward touring show Jeremy Deller: All That’s Solid Melts Into Air and a screen-printed poster/ guest list for I DUNNO SHIT curated by Cactus Gallery at Rogue Projects in Manchester.
For Make it easy on yourself we commissioned two pieces of new writing from Jennifer Reid and Rosza Farkas, presented alongside new illustrations from Kyle Platts and Tara Hill and a pull-out A3 risoprint from Scott King. This was distributed as a free twenty page traditional lithograph A5 zine.
I DUNNO SHITwas funny because Jake cycled to Manchester with the posters and the exhibition was basically just a big party.
How do you pick and select new stock? Are there any themes that often emerge? Jonny Negron and Kyle Platts both draw sexualised and grotesque figures which reminded me of a modern day Viz, but your publications for sale covered a whole range of topics and didn’t seem so easy to categorise.
Never really made a connection between Jonny and Kyle’s work and Viz Magazine, perhaps that’s due to myself and Jake not growing up on Viz, or just an application of an abstract or nostalgic cultural reference?
In terms of the stock, we just choose stuff that we like and stock products from publishers and artists we know. We owe a lot to Matt and Jess at Good Press and Charlie at Beach for helping us out and supplying us with such great stuff (Thanks!). A few other publishers and artists we really like are: Patrick Kyle, Little Brown Mushroom, Arcadia Missa, Bronze Age and Elvis Press. We also get requests from artists and publishers and are always happy to stock new stuff. We like having varied products.
What are the successes and what are the difficulties in using the sort of model you guys have built, balancing the shop and sales, exhibitions, publications and commissioning the type of work you feel is important and needs to be seen?
When we started out we had a 3m x 3m room in One Thoresby Street (another Nottingham gallery). This was a really good place to “learn on the job”. So we learnt by making mistakes and just doing it, all the products and artwork were in close proximity to each other which was important because we didn’t want it to be an art gallery or a shop. Making a good combo was a challenge which we overcame by changing and rearranging the shop fittings each exhibition. We do this for fun, that’s probably the most important for us. We show work we enjoy and hope that everyone else enjoys it too. Triple O.G. is not funded and by being not funded gives us freedom to do whatever we want, everything is funded out of our own pocket money.
Can you tell us a bit about your relationship with Backlit Gallery and the re-launch in their new space?
Well I work there (John works as Assistant Curator), so there was a bigger space available than our previous space, also we thought it would make a nice opening for the newly refurbished space at Backlit.
You work with international and globally recognised illustrators and writers but you both live and work in Nottingham. Why is Nottingham important to you? Why should others take notice?
People should only take notice if they’re interested. Nottingham is cool because it’s a small provincial city but has a big art scene. It’s relatively easy to start a project like this here because of a large support group consisting of places like Nottingham Trent University, Primary, One Thoresby Street, TG gallery, Nottingham Castle and Backlit of course. These things make it a really good city to live in and were happy to be contributing to that.
Interview with David John Scarborough.
Visit Triple O.G. at Backlit Gallery, Alfred House, Ashley Street, Nottingham.
Open Thurs – Sun, 12-5pm