FROM GALLERY TO CREATIVE LABORATORY, DIRECTOR CHARLIE HOOD TAKES US THROUGH THE EVOLUTION OF BEACH LONDON

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Beach London is referred to as a ‘creative laboratory’, already an intriguing concept just in name! How did you get to this point, tell us the Beach story.

Well, we had the gallery for a few years, on Cheshire Street in Shoreditch; before we moved out, we got more and more experimental with the shows - we tried to make them as experiential and fun as possible: we had a show of artist-designed Ouija boards at Halloween, where we hosted a number of séances on each one; we held 'Artcade' - an exhibition of vintage arcade machines (such as PacMan) with artwork inspired by them - the top scorer at the end of the show got to keep the artwork, and a whole bunch of others. We started looking at ways we could apply these unsual experiences to brands and companies we liked, and the agency grew from there. 
 


 

Until earlier this year you ran Beach Gallery in Shoreditch also, what made you decide to make the shift to focusing on your agency and projects?

Well, we had a five year lease - that finished and, Shoreditch being Shoreditch, the rent shot up massively. It was already pretty high, so it was time to move on. We've had a year or so concentrating on establishing the agency and the webshop (with a new website making both feel a little more streamlined going live very soon), and maybe we'll look into more events in 2017; we have a few pencilled in already so keep your eyes peeled! 

 

The agency itself it a really cool concept, you work in partnership with some fabulous artists to create some really special pieces - tell us about the ethos behind the agency and some of your favourite projects you’ve worked on?

Cheers! Well, again, having had the gallery, we saw how great it was to have shows withdifferent artists, to bring together a community of people, have fun with it, and the postive effect that can have. It's great to ally brands with great artists and creatives, much in the same way lots of brands want to ally themselves with musicians, sportspeople etc. Nowadays, with social media I think people who draw and make and do interesting things hold as much intrigue as those people. 

Well, we were recently nominated for an award for a show we did with Lazy Oaf, for their fifteenth Birthday - it was always gonna be easy to do something fun with them, because they already have a stack of great content - but to do something a bit different, we held a formal(ish) art show, inspired by Donald Judd, Carl Andre, all those minimalist artists... but with Oaf's inimitable look and feel.

I also really love working with Camden Town Brewery - all the projects we've done with them have been super fun and it's been exciting to work with them with a variety of interesting and exciting illustrators.

 

The process from initial contact to finish article must be quite complex, talk us through how you navigate creating with so many aspects and inputs to it?

Well, we've always done exhibitions at the gallery, and they change month-to-month - so there was always a million things going on at once, things that needed to be done for a show a few months ahead, whilst painting the walls for a show that opens the next day. And I've always enjoyed putting on shows - we had a big house full of art students at uni and we used to throw shows in the basement, and put gigs on. But of course it's always difficult and can be stressful, but those ones are the most rewarding when a good job comes off well in the end.

 

You also do a series called ‘Beach Meets’s, tell us more about that?

I always love going to artists studios and seeing little things that inspire them - a little old matchbook or something, a scrap from a newspaper, an old book, or a toy - those sort of things that when you see you're like AH that's what inspired that project. So it was a bit of intrigue in that: Rob Flowers' studio is amazing, full of a MASSIVE toy collections; Pete Fowler's been in his studio for a long time, and has a LOT of amazing old work there; Ryan Chapman's is in the old KGB HQ in Estonia. It's interesting to see how these spaces effect people's work.

 

What Beach works should we be looking out for in the next few months? Have you any special projects lined up for the new year?

Well, we're doing a line of merchandise and a mini-exhibition at Camden Town Brewery's newly refurbished brewery with Ryan Chapman soon, which is looking really cool; as I said, our new site goes live soon which'll be nice, and we have a few other bits lined up which I'm really excited about but won't jinx ;)

 

FIND OUT MORE AT beach.london 

INTERVIEW by HANNAH SMITH

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