The imaginative illustrator takes her love of the kitsch and the tacky as inspirations for her thoughtful artworks
Lois Gabrin is a soon-to-be Cambridge graduate based in Deptford. Although she originally trained as an illustrator, her work spans various areas of art design such as set design, costume, styling, film and photography. Her habits include hoarding, dressing-up, and by her own account generally making a fool of herself. Her love for objects means that she can be found most of the time trawling around junk shops, markets, and car boot sales. The more tacky, kitsch, and colourful the better. Her work indicates an obsession with the simple changes to an environment that can dramatically change the perception of space.
Dazed Digital: What is your art all about?
Lois Gabrin: The low-tech spectacular.
DD: Who are your main influences, contemporary and classical?
Lois Gabrin: Alejandro Jodorowsky remains a key figure within my practice, specially “The Holy Mountain”, a film that embodies the aspects of my work. Classically Dali underlines my passion for the surreal.
DD: Can you tell us about your technique and the different media you employ?
Lois Gabrin: Think Blue Peter, think low-tech, think easily procured materials. Glue-Gun is my weapon of choice. Working mostly in costume and set design I look for the quickest ends to a means, its not the materials that matter it’s the outcome. Being aware of the space is extremely important, and being able to exploit it.
DD: What are the main themes in your work, how do you explore them?
Lois Gabrin: The interaction between space and object, anthropology, music, pop culture and the supernatural. When I am working on a subject, I like to submerge myself within it, consuming from all angles. Half the time I don’t notice how this focus can effect my perception of certain music, fashion, colours, moods etc. Because a lot of the time I end up being prop maker, costume designer, director and editor to my work, it takes a lot of organizing. So I usually end up writing copious amounts of lists, my lists give me my focus. I believe being organized and believing in what you do is key.
What is the one piece of work everyone should see before they die?
Lois Gabrin: The Holy Mountain.
DD: Why did you choose to do a series based upon The Wasp Factory? What does that book mean to you?
Lois Gabrin: The visuals are so rich, I have never read a book that has inspired me artistically as much as The Wasp Factory. For me, the book emphasizes time, horror and fate.
DD: what are you essentially trying to communicate in The Wasp Factory series?
Lois Gabrin: I wanted to portray time, particularly the physicality of time, both short and long term. The imagery in the book is so dark and dramatic I really wanted to get that across in my illustrations.
DD: What are your hopes for the future?
Lois Gabrin: To keep on working creatively and never be boring!
DD: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Lois Gabrin: A Glue-Gun will stick anything.
DD: If any of your works were a musician, who would they be?
Lois Gabrin: I made costumes and directed a performance based on the Oliver Sacks short The Man who Mistook his Wife for his Hat last November. When I was in the making process of those pieces I was listening to a lot of Fever Ray and some of the ‘witch house’ bands like Salem and oOoOO. The eerie distorted sounds fitted so well with the geometric shapes of the costumes and the blurred movement of the figures in the performance.
DD: What are you working on now?
Lois Gabrin: I am just at the end of completing an installation experience based on Mexican cults. I have been building a shrine to house a video of a performance piece I was working on.
DD: What is the meaning of life?
Lois Gabrin: Impatience is a virtue.