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Beach Meets : Supermundane

Beach Meets : Supermundane We’re very excited to have Rob Lowe, also known as Supermundane showing with us here at Beach in August with ‘Stupid Nature’. He is an artist, graphic designer, typographer, illustrator and writer. With ‘Stupid Nature’, Rob continues his interest in pure line, optical effects and colour. Hard, controlled lines have given way to more immediate mark-making. He allows the lines to be more free, letting the ink drip. We headed over to his amazing live/work studio to see his work for ‘Stupid Nature’ in full swing. With freshly painted posters hanging on the wall, surrounded by guitars, books and typewriters, there was certainly lots to see in this little haven of a studio. Scroll to the bottom of the page to see the available work from Stupid Nature

Hi Rob! Hows things?

Good thank you!

You’ve also gone by the name of Supermundane, what made you choose this? 

I came across the word in a dictionary I used to read at a kettle factory I worked at in the Midlands when I left collage. It means ‘above earthy things’. I like the fact that it sounds like it means really boring but actually means the opposite, a bit like extraordinary.

Why the change to Rob Lowe?

I still do use Supermundane but somethings I do feel like they would make more sense under my real name. I had a show at Kemistry a couple of years ago and that was the first time I exhibited as Rob Lowe. The work was all purely abstract, using line and colour, and this exhibition feels like it is in a similar vein.

How did you get into Design and illustration?

I was only really good at art at school but I had no idea about how to make money out of it. I did work experience at a printers and found out about things like typography and I really loved it. I managed to get on a design course and, once I left, worked as full time graphic designer for a few years and then art directing various independent magazines like Anorak and Fire & Knives. The illustration/graphic art side was something that came about much more gradually, from things I worked on in my spare time. Slowly the two worlds came together until I got to where I am now.

If you can, give us a project you’ve been most proud of? 

I do lots of different things so it’s difficult to pick one piece that I’m most proud of. I was part of a group show at Frankfurt’s Museum of Modern art in Germany. It was aimed at children and I did two huge murals on a free standing wall that took me about 70 hours over 5 days. I was very proud of that. All I have is a small 30cm section of the piece sent to me by the curator when the show was taken down.

If you could design a typeface for Beach, what would it look like? 

That’s a tricky one! Most of my typefaces are simple and bold and generally come about through need. I’d have to spend a few days thinking and drawing to have any idea what a typeface for Beach would look like.

What’s been your most unusual commission?

I was asked to do designs for an aerial drone. It was for an exhibition at the New York Museum of Moving Image curated by Rajeev Basu. The design was wrapped onto 3D renderings of a drone and then super imposed into google maps at destinations of my choosing. That was quite weird.

Any emerging artists you’ve discovered recently that we should know about? 

I’m not that much up on emerging artists at the moment (for the first time in 10 years I’m not art directing any magazines so I’m not commissioning)  the people I like are mainly ones with names I can not pronounce like Jordy Van Den Niewwendijk and Edward Carvalho Monaghan.

Tell us a bit about your upcoming show, ‘Stupid Nature’.

It’s a bit of a departure for me, at least in approach to line. I’m interested in the pieces I produce having a physical and mental effect on the viewer. Normally my work is quite controlled and has the appearance of being planned (although that is not normally the case) with these drawings I’m allowing the lines to be more free and the ink to drip; they are much more like paintings. The name Stupid Nature comes from something I thought I heard said by a scientist on the radio, but I can’t find any reference to it on the internet. I think of it as referencing instinct, which, in a world obsessed with proof, is something I’m interested in.

Apart from getting ready for ‘Stupid Nature’ at Beach, what else are you working on? 

I’ve got another solo show, as Supermundane, starting at the end of August at No Walls in Brighton, which I’m working on at the moment. I’m also off to Morocco, just after this show opens, for an artists’ residency which is part of the Asilah art festival. I’m going to be doing etching for the first time so I’m really looking forward to that.

Rob Lowe will be opening ‘Stupid Nature’ here at Beach on August 7th. For a catalogue of available artwork for Rob’s show please E-mail