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An interview with Catrin Jeans and Sarah Messenger, 0800-GRL-DRMZ

This year at NEoN we have two young female artist, Catrin jeans and Sarah Messenger, who hope to become rising celebrities. At the Hannah Maclure centre they will be exhibiting a video TV show and a stall full of Jeans and Messenger branded goodies. We caught up with them to find out more about their celebrity lives and about their becoming of artist stars.

[NEoN] Can you give us some background about yourself, any training/education you have in this area? And some of your successes.

[Catrin] Sarah and I graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone in 2008. Shortly afterwards we joined the artist group Now Now and started creating events together including; ‘Everyone’s a Winner’ temporary art tombola and‘Apocalypse Now Now’ party.

Sarah is very talented when it comes to video work and she also does a lot of video VJ’ing for club nights. Sarah also runs a film night as she has a passion in moving image. For me, my individual practise has moved more towards running events and performances in which I can take on characters. The two of us share an absolute passion of Brittany Spears and a lot of other trashy pop culture. I think with that it made sense for the two of us to work together.

We came up with this idea about two years ago through discussing how we could bring celebrity culture to the visual art world; similarly like the artists we were interested in, such as Andy Warhol, who embodied the celebrity culture within their work.

Can you give us an overview of what 0800-Girl-Drmz is?

0800-girl-drmz will bring mainstream pop trash and celebrity culture into the Hannah Maclure Centre’s micro-cinema with the showing of our own variety programme and launching of the official 0800-girl-drmz shop, where you can officially acquire 0800-girl-drmz brand merchandise.

0800-girl-drmz is rooted in reality – Sarah and I are Visual Artists developing our aesthetic and our practice through this project. Simultaneously we are exploring the notion of the artist as ‘a brand’ through becoming fictitious characters.

What sort of things can we expect to see in the video?

The video is going to be made up of things that we have previously made together and some new material we have made over the residency. It’s going to vary from music videos to our own projects, along with adverts and some surreal videos. The whole thing is a bit like a variety show or a sketch show. There’s going to be an aerobics work out as well ha ha ha.

Will you be taking on a role for the 0800-girl-drmz?

A lot my of my characters are amplified versions of myself, but for one event recently I took on a role as a host rep and hosted an art crawl within the city. This is going to be a feature advertisement in the video Sarah and I are making. Through the residency we did change our idea a lot. Initially we wanted to have a live performance TV show but then due to some practicalities our idea developed into a video piece, but on the opening night we’ll have a performance within it. We will become characters but a lot of it will be amplified version of ourselves. This will highlight a weird merge between what’s real and what’s not real.

Would you describe your practise as tongue and cheek?

Yeah, I think in all the work I do I aim for a playful effect. For me it’s also about changing the expected language of art, creating a dialogue around visual arts and to change the context of it. I like to put it into a form that is more recognisable and not intimidating.

What do you personally hope to achieve at NEoN 2012?

From my point of view, as an artist, I think what is interesting about this project is developing my brand by raising my profile, making stuff that people can buy and getting my name known. We hope to achieve this specifically in a way that is more connected with celebrity culture. In reality it’s all something we have to do and probably not just within the arts but with any job that you have to represent yourself in. I find that my work is themed as ‘socially interactive’, your personality is just as important as your work.

I do a lot of collaborative projects and I find the aesthetics of these different projects interesting. I think in this project Sarah has created a very strong aesthetic and a very strong visual identity. It’s been really nice for me to see how I can fit in amongst it all.

What have you enjoyed most or you what do you expect to be the highlight moment?

I’m looking forward to the night itself. A really good part of it has been seeing the ideas Sarah and I have had and seeing how they could be realised through Sarah’s knowledge of video editing, photoshop and a lot of digital media. It has actually pushed me to learn very basic video editing.

What are your top three do’s and don’ts for fans?

I would advise our fans to come along on the night. There is a section in our video in which we are going to tell people how to become popular so they can come along on the night and learn about how to be known.

Is this something you want to carry on with after the exhibition?

I don’t know. We are a little challenged by where each of us live. Sarah is going to be down in London and I’m going to remain in Dundee. However we will possibly collaborate again.


Find out more over at the event page, 0800-Girl-DRMZ, and to catch their film presentation at the Hannah Maclure Centre Monday 5th November 8:30 – 11pm.