The London Police: An Exclusive Interview with A.I.M.O.
I have to tell you, I laughed so much throughout this entire interview. The London Police are true artists as well as entertainers. Great personalities with great humor in everything they do. TLP founding member Chaz is cited below (Bob is also a founding member).
When did you first start painting?
We had been painting together since we were 21 and 18 respectively. Mostly drawing and also doing photography. Bob and I were from the same town, hanging out in the same group of friends and creatively, we just clicked. That was back in 1997. We originally thought to start an open group of artists, yet Bob and I simply worked well together as a team. So we officially started The London Police in 1998 as Bob had University to finish and I worked painting in the street on my own in Amsterdam until he moved out there one year later.
How did you get your name being that you are located in Amsterdam?
Yes, this has been a source of much confusion. We used to go on trips to London from Essex, buy a 6 pack of beer and walk around discussing different ideas we shared. We had early ideas to put big B/W posters of our photography up in London, a bit like JR, but we never really started getting up in the streets until we moved to Holland. However we had already come up with a name and it stuck. We started to show our photography in coffee shops and bars under the name The London Police. By ages 24/21 respectively we had moved from photography to concentrating on the LAD characters and drawing them all around Amsterdam.
Please tell me more about your lovely, charming, warm and fuzzy feeling characters.
We were decent and enthusiastic photographers, yet a friend of ours encouraged us to persevere with our characters citing their unique nature. There were plenty of great photographers out there yet our characters were new and of our own concept. The characters were influenced by British childhood cartoons like BOD and also heavily inspired by Roger Hargreaves who created The Mr. Men and Little Miss series. I especially liked Mr. Silly and Mr. Noisy as they had big shoes. This probably influenced the LADS larger feet as did observing ducks and geese in good old mother nature. Another influence was Doze Green's character drawings of the Rock Steady Crew where he also depicted b-boys with skinny legs and larger feet in sneakers.
Your color palette is unique to The London Police. When anyone sees a piece of yours, they know who created it.
We have three styles:
2. B/W with one colour
3. Full Colour with main characters usually remaining in B/W. In 2009, Bob decided that we remain doing Black and White for 2- 3 years before adding more colourful backgrounds.
It was very much about exploring what was possible with self imposed limited parameters in keeping with our style before opening up to using colour. After those years, we brought in more colours. The mediums we use are paint pens, acrylics and spray. The more colourful backgrounds were influenced by the layers of graffiti I often saw on heavily tagged doors especially in New York, Berlin and Barcelona. On the full colour canvases we try to keep the background colours lighter so not to tussle with the black outlines.
How often do you collaborate with Corporate clients such as you did with The Quin Hotel?
We do what feels ethically right to our own morals and standards. We had been friends with their curator, DK Johnson, for years. The project seemed like a correct fit, so we went along with it. We were in New York for twelve days so were able to do other pieces around New York as well. The main aim of TLP is to mix art and traveling to have the best time in life possible so it's a balancing act between working in the studio to pay the bills and living in the fast lane. We just spoke to the people at Don Julio at an event we attended and will talk further in hopes to collaborate with them. If it is something we believe in, we will work with corporate clients. Commissioned work is preferable as it is a guaranteed sale. We are lucky enough to live off of our paintings so have the luxury to pick and choose who we collaborate with although it wasn't always like that. However any projects had to make sense to us personally for us to participate.
What is next for The London Police?
We both appreciate the mixing of art with travel but I have the opportunity to travel a little more as Bob has kids. He is happy to stay home sometimes and keep up momentum in the studio. Chinny Bond, our trusted team member, does both. He keeps the studio in order but often accompanies me on trips. There are always several commissioned works lined up and various invites to festivals and projects to consider. Last years highlights were Dubai, Berlin, New York and Miami but all traveling produces interesting opportunities and experiences. Of course certain places stand out to each of us individually for different reasons but overall we love the fact that we can do what we love and get to travel to different parts of the world.
Where do you feel most comfortable painting?
Miami is like being with extended family. Artists generally like to hang out with other artists and we often meet old friends and new on all of these travels and projects. Social Media, especially Instagram, allows us to see the lives and productivity of many amazing artists and it is always great to meet them in person in Miami during Art Basel, Wynwood Walls or any other place in the world. In the same way, Social Media has allowed our audience to get to know us better and see part of our daily lives through Instastories. We love to see friends, family, other artists, musicians, entertainers, favorite athletes, etc. on their daily feeds as we feel as if we are right there experiencing their moment in time.
If our readers want to learn more about what you do, where can they find you?
Instagram is the best place as it is updated a lot and our stories are meant to make you smile and not take it all too seriously. Our instagram is @thelondonpolice.