Joys and Peeta, "My Good Old Habits" Duo Show at Wunderkammern Gallery Milan

Last Wednesday, May 10th, Joys and Peeta opened their show at Wunderkammern Gallery titled, “My Good Old Habits”. Although, both have contrasting styles of painting, they’ve worked well in bringing a coherent and impressive body of work. Through the years, Joys and Peeta devoted relatively large chunks of time perfecting their art of writing, they’ve successfully developed their own distinctive style. And, this devotion led them to what seemed to be the show’s basic idea of a ‘good old habit’.

In this show, one piece that caught my attention was titled, “Candy Box”. Where one can see Joys’s rigid and cross-sectional lines piercing through Peeta’s (what would be) intrepid three-dimensional wildstyle letterforms that appears to lubricate one’s eyes to smoothly move in the entire piece. It is quite the eye-candy, indeed.

Here’s a short interview I had with Joys and Peeta where they’ve explained some parts of their show. Read on.

Interview by Mark Changco.
Art by Joys and Peeta.
Feature Photo by Alberto Blassetti.

Candy Box

I’m just curious about the title of your show, ‘My good old habits”. Mentioned in the show statement that it, “is centered on the vices and customs which, becoming daily routine, we repeat in an automatic, predictable way, until they turn into tradition.” It doesn’t sound like a good habit to me. Shouldn’t the title be ‘My bad old habits’ instead?

Peeta: Well, I’ve never considered them bad, they have always had a pivotal role in my life. With “they” I mean graffiti of course as that is what we are talking about. I’ve made a tradition out of my hobby and then a lifestyle out of this tradition. My good old habits are now my passion, my job, my hobby and my distinguishing feature at the same time. I considered making graffiti a good habit from the beginning, even when it was more difficult to talk about them and to devote my time to them. That said I’m not totally stuck to tradition and automatization of what I do. Graffiti is the starting point which continuously evolves though. For example I’ve totally overturned my painting habits this time abandoning sprays, airbrush and acrylic painting and starting experimenting a whole new series made with oil painting and brushes.

Joys: I actually think that some of ours bad habits are good ones! For me this is the case when I paint on trains… If you like to do something then that habit is a good one even if it becomes automatic and traditional.

How does your art play a role in breaking a society’s good or bad habit?

Peeta: Trivially, I think that my art has contributed in breaking old social habits related to how a public space should be lived, how graffiti should be seen and how public art could be renewed. I’ve worked hard in order to improve my painting skills earning the possibility to work on spots that were not traditionally devoted to works like mine and are nowadays opened, instead, to street art and graffiti art, being part of a wider urban renovation.

Joys: I think in our society it is not totally accepted to paint on walls, therefore just painting walls means breaking a society “habit”. What with do is a result of our time, where the individual disappears and becomes one of many, so he feels the need to leave a sign of their name and identity. This is also connected to the importance of advertising in our society, it is an answer to that.

Step Stone
Crane Mania
Not All Of Them Float

I love the combination of your work together. Peeta’s gentle lines plus Joys’ seemingly rigid lines. Can you tell me about your process of working together for this show? Will there be a collaborative piece that you’re working on?

Peeta: Yes, there will be several collaborative pieces. We have traditionally painted some canvases together and have realized other pieces mixing oil on canvas and spray painted glass. The size of most of the works didn’t allow us to work on the same piece at the same time so we have generally traced the work together and then worked on it in two different moments, eventually inspecting and editing it together when finished.

Joys: For this show we have done 6 combo artworks together, 3 oil and spray paint on canvas and 3 oil on canvas and spray paint on glass. The techniques are different, I use spray paint and Peeta used oil, and these techniques have also different timing requirements. Therefore, we proceed like this: one starts with the design and project, then the other works on it, and finally the artwork passes again to the first person. I started the project for the oil on canvases while for the pieces with glass I followed Peeta’s forms and perspectives.

What piece excited you the most? Why?

Peeta: I still have to finish some of them, I can’t say now!

Joys: I think Cream caramel, because there is my entire name on it. And this is part of my good habits: starting from my name and studying the letters to develop the lines and forms. 

My Good Old Habits” opened Wednesday, May 10, 2017 and will continue to run until June 10, 2017.

Wunderkammern Gallery
Via Ausonio, 1, 20123 Milano, Italy
+39 02 8407 8959

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