The Block

Interviews — 3 months ago

Visibility with Baadnews

Not content to fit easily into just one world, Baadnews is a multi-disciplinary artist who operates at the intersection between design and music.

 

The NTS regular has lent his talents to projects as varied as visuals, flyers and Nike’s ‘Brothers of The World’ showcase. His ongoing series of T-shirts with Expert Horror was what really caught our eye though; stocked at Dover Street Market and cult boutique Machine-A, they’re as subversive (one includes the Al Jazeera logo reworked) as they are stylish.

 

Ahead of our 50/50 project, we hit up Baadnews to talk about the relationship between design and music, visibility, and his creative process. 

 

Shop Baadnews’ 50/50 tee design now. Each purchase raises crucial funds for Justice4Grenfell as they work tirelessly on behalf of the victims of the Grenfell disaster.

Words
Everpress team
Share
baadnews
Photography by @emmaichai

Music and design; you’ve blurred the lines in the best possible way. Can you explain this dynamic to us in the context of Baadnews?

Right now I’m trying to find new ground in elevating the idea of what the relationship between music and design really is. I’m very into the experience of it, which is pretty much the reason that I DJ or just generally love playing music. In the context of Baadnews, I think the music I’m into is a representation of my design and vice versa.

Baadnews photographed by Joshua Gordon
Baadnews photographed by @emmaichai

You’ve collaborated before with Expert Horror on some tees. How did that come about? And what was the idea behind it? 

Originally they were looking to work with someone who could create an animation to help promote a new drop. I kind of completely freestyled the actual design process and just made something off the cuff, which was essentially my visual interpretation of EH in two 6 second clips. After that, it seemed we had a mutual understanding of each other and had found an interesting grey area where we could say something in a way we might not have been able to without putting our collective ideas on the table. I’m not sure there was ever a singular idea behind it all, there’s some social commentary in there, like flipping the Al Jazeera logo, but mostly each T-shirt we’ve done is actually quite blatant in its messaging or whatever it represents.

Baad News x Expert Horror photographed by Dennis McInnes
Baadnews x Expert Horror

I think the music I’m into is a representation of my design and vice versa

Baad News x Expert Horror photographed by Dennis McInnes
Baadnews x Expert Horror

What does it mean to you to be working to the same brief alongside 50 other artists for a cause like 50/50?

It’s quite cool to create something that a number of people are also contributing to at the same time, doing a ‘group’ project but only seeing the end outcome is interesting. It’s great that London’s young community of artists gets to express ideas and opinions in this format, for something that for sure still needs to be talked about.

Baadnews photographed by
Baadnews photographed by @emmaichai

What does the idea of ‘Visibility’ mean to you? Why do you think it’s important?

It means being seen and heard in a way that you feel is indicative of who you are, as well as the recognition that we individually and collectively matter. I always think about how we don’t really own things any more, but in reality a large percentage of what we do own is data, and if you want to keep that data, you have to pay for it. I think more than ever we’ve become less visible to corporations who are selling us back things we already ‘have’.

Baadnews photographed by Joshua Gordon
Baadnews photographed by Joshua Gordon

How did you explore this in your T-shirt design?

I just found the story really prevalent. The disconnect between society historically is usually due to two things, race or wealth. Depending on which side you’re on, you are either seen, disregarded or vilified, the Atlanta Race Riots were one example of that.

Baadnews 50/50 T-shirt design
Baadnews 50/50 T-shirt design

How do you approach designing for physical mediums like T-shirts as opposed to your other work?

T-shirts, and their design, give me an opportunity to connect. To create a conversation, physically, that usually helps someone find out about something new. And even if they do know about it, it works the same way and you’ve probably made a friend 🙂

Baad News x Expert Horror photographed by Dennis McInnes
Baadnews x Expert Horror

Visibility is the recognition that we individually and collectively matter

What’s your criteria for choosing projects to work on?

As I mentioned earlier I’m really enjoying experiences, things that feel 360, and moving forward that’s the type of work that would best express what I do. Other than that I keep an open mind, as long as I believe in the idea at its core I’d probably be up for bringing it to life.

Baadnews PSG x Jordan collaboration preview
Baadnews PSG x Jordan collaboration preview

What do you see as being the biggest challenge facing young artists in 2019 and beyond?

Social media.

Can you give us two tips for any young creatives struggling to find their way, be it in music, design, or both?

Write down whatever made you decide to do what you do and keep that energy with you. And second: take risks. They always pay off even if you initially fuck up, because you learn something.

Shop Baadnews’ 50/50 tee design now. Each purchase raises crucial funds for Justice4Grenfell as they work tirelessly on behalf of the victims of the Grenfell disaster.