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Home FEATURES Fighting

Fighting
Written by Matt Irving   
Monday, 09 October 2006 08:21
Matt Irving interviews Niall McClelland & Lukas Geronimas who together form this wicked Canadian duo.

FIGHTING: Niall McClelland & Lukas Geronimas
www.shedoesntloveyouanymore.com
Written by Matt Irving

These two Canadians are amazing! I've been emailing back and forth with them for a few years now and we've worked on a couple of projects together. They are hard workers in every sense, which I always have a soft spot for. These days most people seem fairly lazy, or they work extremely hard and are scared to admit that they actually care. I guess it just makes dedicated people that much more refreshing, because they're proud of what they create and they aren't afraid to show it. Some of you may know of them already but in my opinion the world is just discovering the tip of the iceberg that is FIGHTING... otherwise known as Niall McClelland & Lukas Geronimas.

MI: Niall, what's your full name, where were you born, where do you call home?

(NIALL): Niall McClelland, pronounced Neil, it's Gaelic. Toronto born and raised, Vancouver for 6 years, now back in T.O. until January, then onto Barcelona & Valencia.

MI: Lukas...Same questions to you, okay?

(LUKAS): Lukas Romualdas Astronimas Geronimas, and I was born at Toronto General Hospital and I'm back to the city that brought me into this world (Toronto). I'll be here through the winter, while Niall goes to Spain.

MI: So how did you first meet Lukas?

(NIALL): When we were 14, I got rides to school from his family, it was awkward cause I didn't like him and he didn't like me, his pops was cool though and still is actually. Eventually we nerded out on some sci-fi and fantasy shit and we've been tight since. Obviously.

MI: Yeah, but what caused you guys to start working together on art? Generally it's a solo thing.

(LUKAS): Yes well, art is a solo thing, and as far as fine art goes, we're getting into our own things. But Fighting was a way to guarantee a bilateral sort of progress. It really started when Niall and our friend Robin Cameron (rocamm.com) decided to do a Low Fashion show (just t-shirts) and we decided to make some shirts together because I had access to the printmaking studio at my school and we were down to receive mutually deplorable or agreeable feedback. We also realized that it was a good way to emphasize one another's strengths while hiding our weaknesses. For instance, I have absolutely no idea how to type (unable to distinguish between letter forms) and Niall can't speak a word of English (he just spits and drools whenever he tries, and in fact is transcribing my portion of the interview as we, well I, speak). Together, it looks like we're exceptionally literate, erudite and well versed in a variety of graphic styles.

MI: Do you guys ever disagree about stuff? Like on the direction for something and it turns into a fistfight?

(NIALL): All the time, everyday. But its not generally about the conflicting visions or overall concept for any project, its always about details, details, details. The small shit. So yeah, I'd say weekly there's probably a moment I want to punch the fucker, but it only lasts a second so showing some restraint is a good course of action. I'm sure that goes both ways.

MI: Why do you go by the name FIGHTING anyway?

(LUKAS): Fighting wasn't really about violence so much as it was about struggle. It's an admission to the fact that anything that anyone wants to do graphically will be scrutinized and ultimately compromised, and it's the artist's responsibility to step up and convince their audience, or their patrons, or the companies that employ them, to trust the artist's vision. So that the product remains integral. It's a little old-fashioned to preach product-based marketing (the artist being the product), but we're confident about our ability to produce. That being said, we do end up compromising often enough when time and money govern the project, and it's justified because we understand what's up. And also we're decent people (equal parts real/ideal and moderate like any good Canadian) that work to understand the politics involved in our industry, which makes us a little more subversive than the name suggests, even though a fire still burns in our bellies.

MI: ...and is there any significance to the web address "she doesn't love you anymore"?

(NIALL): Well...the main reason was that we were looking for a unique URL, something humourous, we thought it'd be funny to have something annoying to type out, a little awkward to remember. The name itself came about from a note I found that Lukas had written me drunkenly one night in jest about a girl who used to dig me tons until I was an ass to her and now wouldn't even be in the same room as me, we thought the whole situation was pretty amusing, I guess. So when we were putting the initial site together I found the note and thought fuck it, let's just run with this. Maybe the URL should go a little more like "shedoesntloveyouanymorehahahaha.com"?

MI: How was living in Japan Lukas?

(LUKAS): Oh man Japan, my heart has a tidy little place 4 ever with no shoes allowed! Reserved for the land of the rising sun. The efficiency, understanding, and level of context with which the Japanese culture conducts itself is part of my guiding light (like 15-20%!), and although there are plenty of problems, like the fact that the country's construction budget has yet to decrease (it's increased significantly, in fact, even with regards to GDP growth and inflation) since Japan set forth along the path to repairing its devastated infrastructure after the second world war - and as a little note; if you think what the Allies did to Dresden and Hamburg other parts of 'Evil' Europe was gnarly, America's retribution for Pearl Harbor was nastier than Vancouver's Downtown East side x 3rd stage syphilis: pretty much 75% of the COUNTRY - not just Nagasaki and Hiroshima, but the entire COUNTRY, was razed. Japan's cities were made out of sticks - the whole place became a space-scale campfire in the early 1940s. Central Tokyo is built on the ashes of its recent past, and it is fucking ridiculous what they've done in a half-century. I got to live downtown, in a small box with two big men, for almost a year, and it ruled to the max. Sorry; I never finished my problem point - because the construction budget has yet to shrink since the country began rebuilding three quarters of it's property, and pretty much they finished RE-building some thirty or so years ago, there's been an enormous glut of senseless concrete pouring which has led to all but three of Japan's hundred-and-something major rivers receiving a concrete bed treatment, and vast portions of Japan's coastline covered with scores of concrete tetrapods for no reason other than to spend the budgets allotted to construction companies in order to receive just as much or more money in the coming year. Blah blah blah, I still think it's one of the most amazing places ever. Extremely detailed.

MI: You guys both grew up in Ontario and both went to art school in Vancouver at the same time, right? How are you finding the East vs. West thing? Any regrets on moving back to Toronto?

(NIALL): I actually studied communication design out west; art is something I've just always done. But yeah, Vancouver... that's a special city, I really dig it there, its a beautiful spot, but now that the Olympics are coming through in 2010 the city is bulldozing through a lot of its most interesting areas, closing anything with character, building condos, putting on the clean face for the world. Things are getting more expensive, the good neighbourhoods are getting gentrified; basically the city is losing some of its charm. But really, the city is still awesome; it feels like a small town, some really tight knit communities that foster creative pursuits and not just chasing the almighty buck. Toronto on the other hand... well I grew up here so there is always a place in my heart for this city, but... I dunno, its not nearly as inspiring, its kinda a middle of the road city, lots of marketing people... which sometimes makes you want to puke a little on the inside, but hey, at least here I'm not starving just to do what I want to do. Good food, good industry, good neighbourhoods, boring art. Still though, its large and fairly dense, so its great to bike around and explore all the different areas which are divided culturally, like little Portugal, Greek town, little India, etc, that part is dope.
(LUKAS): The west coast is the best coast, no doubt. The weather and the geography and the proximity to Mexico, these are all the best. But the west coast ain't got the hustle like the east coast does (that doesn't mean you individually, reader, but as far as an unbiased truism goes, it's true). And New York is the world's cultural anchor. I'm digging on being close to the family and close to the big smoke, but I miss clean pacific groundswell and no regard for fashion. Toronto's not forever, but I'm happy here; they've got a good public library system.

MI: Toronto might just have the best assortment of food in the world. Do you guys eat out a lot?

(LUKAS): I eat out as often as I've got money.
(NIALL): Exactly, whenever I have the dough.

MI: Okay, time for some "THIS or THAT" questions themed around Canada... Poutine or Roti? Maybe you could explain what they are to the readers.

(NIALL): Roti is a dish of stewed or curried ingredients wrapped in a 'Roti Skin' primarily made from wheat flour, salt, baking powder, and water. The dish resembles a large Enchilada. Popular variants include chicken, conch, beef and vegetables. Shrimp and goat are also often available. Poutine is a dish consisting of French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and covered with hot gravy, usually brown gravy, and sometimes other additional ingredients. The curds' freshness is important as it makes them soft in the warm fries, without completely melting.
(LUKAS): Hmmm... that's a tough one, but I gotta run with Roti. Next time you're in Toronto Matt, we'll go grab some from this dope spot I know in Parkdale; shit is mouthwatering.

MI: Cultural Melting Pot or Segregated Diversity?

(LUKAS): We're all part of the stew, but you'll always know a carrot from a potato, and I think that's why the melting-pot can create a big mess when you forget that there are cultural differences that are clear-as-day and ingrained deep into the fabric of the space and time of our age, and that shit, it won't fade man. I think cultures need a place where they can feel comfortable being themselves, because we don't want that kind of chaff-age, municipally or nationally. A neighbourhood's a rad place when it's got a sense of community - whether that communal vibe is a result of race, religion, socio-economic status or liking your nuts sucked by a chick or a dude is of little importance, so long as pride doesn't speed ahead all devil-may-care and crash into a racist ditch, which is easier to do than some people think, as pride is a narrow road and the ditch isn't really that much of a bitch to navigate, and this means some folk don't even know they're off the shoulder and out of bounds. But they are. Geographic segregation isn't all that good unless it's organic, which makes developing a very tricky profession, but when it works well, you get happy residents and happy tourists and no one's jealous, and that's some sweet candy.

MI: Canucks or Leafs?

(NIALL): Fuck the Canucks, bunch of pussies. Leafs 100%. This is the hockey capital of the world my man.

MI: Raptors or Grizzlies (R.I.P.)?

(LUKAS): The Raps for making terrific drafting decisions. It's not the organization's fault the big shots don't want to hang out in Toronto once their rookie contracts expire (I'll bite my tongue a bit for Bosh, he's some good crack yes'sir). Vince Carter is an Ass-shit, and it's sad to say but he really fucked with Toronto's emotions, and we haven't gotten over the hurt because we're not that strong. The Griz' were over before they started, and should have been a baseball team. Somebody forgot to poll the Pacific Rim sports fans.

MI: Niall had a signature edition beer can with Kokanee, I believe. Do you drink Kokanee Lukas? All sexual references aside, did you drink from Niall's can?

(LUKAS): I have yet to drink from Niall's can, all references aside you dirty sleuth, and I wouldn't tell anyone if I had, all references aside. Kokanee is glacier mountain fresh, so of course I drink it; I'd be a fool not to.

// Fighting Shirts

MI: A signature beer can is probably something that the average Fecal reader probably has wet dreams about. What signature edition item would you want Lukas to do, if you could appoint anything to him?

(NIALL): Yeah, that was nice, too bad they didn't sell 'em out east so I only got to drink the free ones they hooked me up with, still though. As far a Lukas is concerned, well he's on this tennis tip at the moment so I'm thinking a Wilson racket, the kind Roger Federer uses. Classic backhand, no grunting. That would be right up his alley, either that or a bottle of Bushmills whiskey, cause bro is more into the hard stuff than the beer, and Bushmills is some tasty shit.

MI: Any new music coming out of Toronto or Montreal that we should be getting ready for?

(LUKAS): I wish I knew more good music coming out of these cities. Man, the Deadly Snakes just played their last show, so you'll not see them again but you could have a listen; Pride Tiger is from Vancouver so they don't count; Jon Rae and the River, they are amazing and frighteningly uplifting; Great Lakes Swimmers, Akron/Family and Regina Spektor are all pretty good; we're going to Pop Montreal (http://www.popmontreal.com) in October, which is this sweet music festival and you're invited to come, in fact, everyone is invited.
(NIALL): Well... I'm pretty bummed on music these days, but some local stuff that I dig is Rammer, a little bit of metal heaven, and The Brutal Knights, some good ol' asshole punk rock. I dig Vancouver music better though, Destroyer, S.T.R.E.E.T.S., Book of Lists.

MI: Okay Niall, if Fecal Face was the name of a skateboard trick, what would it be? Can you make a quick illustration of it for us?

(NIALL): Bailing while riding your busted deck, luckily not busting your mickey but then unluckily slipping on a puddle of your own blood while throwing the deck off the nearest roof through the window across the street, laughing the whole way through and taking a nice big swig. Ahhh! Refreshing! Check it

MI: Lukas, your turn... But Fecal Face is the name of a graffiti writer. So what would his/her whole deal be? Can you draw their tag and tell us what they'd be like?

(LUKAS): Umm, Double F's like a nice guy with bad acne and this really messy fake-tan looking complexion (too many carrots and olives in his diet), and he's got a magnetic personality, I guess, but no one can come near him, not even to shake his begrimed hand, because he lives in this woven sac of high-tensile gossamer that you can hardly see, even if you look close, and he kind of just hangs out and let's other people big him up, but he's always got his beady little eyes open and he's got all these brothers that tell him about all sorts of shit, and he's like Rain-Man with his remembering (not his stuttering so much), so pretty much he spends most of his time talking about all this shit his buddies have told him about, and gambling, and it usually pays off. He usually gets his bros to go out and bomb for him, so his style's pretty eclectic. I think his latest tag looks a little like the splash page on this site used to look, although it might not even be a tag, it might be more like a picture. But he's cool. Oh, and here's a little something I rocked for him a while back. Check it

MI: I think that's plenty for today. Here's your last chance to say something to all the dudes out there in cyber-space. Free reign to spout off about anything you want....

(LUKAS): I've spouted enough to turn a tea kettle green already; but I'll do my best to impart some righteous final words: Chill the fuck out whenever you can (which is different than doing nothing though); and don't worry about cliché; and no pretending, because some people, not all, but some people have got more in those two eyes just above and to either side of their nose than the limited ability to take in a small part of light's vast spectrum, and not only can they see the heat radiating from your loins, they'll also know if you're pretending. It could be your mom, or it could be your girlfriend or boyfriend, or even some random hustler from across the way, or the postman, but they'll see you're pretending, and the look they'll give you, it'll be worse than the firestorms of Tokyo in 1944, because you'll know that they know, and you'll see your dream's curtain come down, so dreadfully slow, and the corporeal lights of an undeniable place and time will come up, just as dreadfully slow, and reality's merciless ambiance will turn your tummy into a pernicious pile of little knots, and you'll get sick, yes'sir, sick as you've ever been, and there ain't no pills you can take, no method of purging that pain, and that feeling will stay with you for a long, long time. So no Pretending. Thanks Matt and John and everyone else for taking some time out of your day. Oh, and don't play video games; they are stupid and terribly useless.
(NIALL): Lately I've been having some trouble with folks and their digital cameras, people trying to document every moment, these flashing bulbs all over the place and LCD screens shoved in my face showing me what I just saw through my own eyes. It's getting to be that we can't even consider a moment worth having unless someone is there to capture it, it's depressing. We were hanging out in Central Park the other day, a bunch of us, just relaxing on the rocks, sleeves up, bags of tall boys, some sandwiches, just enjoying the company, the weather, the view, it was a really picturesque scene and I got to thinking how awesome it was that nobody had a digital camera on them to try to "capture the moment" and ruin my whole vibe. Some shit is better off just left undocumented by anything but your memory. Also, just for good measure, here are a few friends and peers that I think are worth taking a peak at cause they pretty much just slay:

Nick Pittman (blanketgallery.com/Admin%20Files/artists.htm)
Charlie Roberts (blanketgallery.com/Admin%20Files/artists.htm)
Ryan Foerster (ryanfoerster.com)
Marco Cibola (novestudio.com)
Alister Lee (enterthealist.com)
Color Magazine! (colormagazine.ca)
Thanks Matt and John! Peace!

{moscomment}

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We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...


Peter Gronquist @The Shooting Gallery

If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.


Jay Bo at Hamburg's Circle Culture

Berlin based Jay Bo recently held a solo show at Hamburg's Circle Culture featuring some of his most recent paintings. We lvoe his work.


NYCHOS @Fifty24SF

Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.


Gator Skater +video

Nate Milton emailed over this great short Gator Skater which is a follow-up to his Dog Skateboard he emailed to us back in 2011... Any relation to this Gator Skater?


Ferris Plock Online Show Now Online as of April 25th

5 new wonderful large-scale paintings on wood panel are available. visit: www.ffdg.net


ClipODay II: Needles & Pens 11 Years!!

Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.


BANDES DE PUB / STRIP BOX

In a filmmaker's thinking, we wish more videos were done in this style. Too much editing and music with a lacking in actual content. Just because you can doesn't mean you should.


AJ Fosik in Tokyo at The Hellion Gallery

Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.


Ferris Plock - Online Show, April 25th

FFDG is pleased to announce an exclusive online show with San Francisco based Ferris Plock opening on Friday, April 25th (12pm Pacific Time) featuring 5 new medium sized acrylic paintings on wood.


GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.


Jeremy Fish at LA's Mark Moore Gallery

San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

London based illustrator FRENCH recently held a show of new works at the Melbourne based Mild Manners


Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

Mario Wagner (Berkeley) opened his new solo show A Glow that Transfers Creativity last Saturday night at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.


Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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