Photographer Tristan Wheelock and illustrator David Hoskins teamed up to work on a series of photographs complemented by illustration. Some call it “photostration” or “illustratography” but we have never seen anything like it. The two have created a website to host the collaboration and release new pieces monthly. Tristan Wheelock is no stranger to Frontrunner. Panorama, a solo show of his photography, opened at Frontrunner Gallery in July 2011 followed by The First Annual Show in 2012. Frontrunner interviewed both artists this month.
You guys have known each other for a while. How did Look Who Rolled into Town start?
DH: Tristan and I were back in our hometown of Venice, Florida at the same time (I was recovering from knee surgery and I believe he was back from a stint in India) and we started talking about a way to keep sharp during the downtime but not have it be stressful. After some brain storming we came up with the idea of him cycling around town and snapping pictures of places we used to frequent growing up, and I would draw fun things on top of them.
David, you are an illustrator, what is your process for working with photographs?
DH: I go through the pile of photos Tristan sends me until one hits me with an idea. Then I load it into Photoshop and draw everything on top of it with my ancient Wacom Tablet. Everything is from my head and all digital.
Now, each of you, separately and collectively, what inspires you?
DH: I grew up with a lot of comics and horror movies and I guess it shows. The weirder the better. I’m also an avid collector of art books, zines, and records, especially if it’s DIY. That mentality is a beautiful thing and the people who take charge and do what they love on their own terms is a huge inspiration. Last, but not least, are my brilliantly creative friends.
TW: Growing up my mom had a vintage clothing store in Chicago. I spent my early years listening to old jazz and psych rock on vinyl and searching for gems in thrift store racks, so my aesthetic has sort of been steeped in retro from the start. I love the work of the famous snap shot photographers, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Finding something eye catching in the mundane is a challenge that’s always interested me.
TW: It’s usually pretty instinctive when it comes to photographing for LWRIT. I usually like to get up pretty early when the Florida light is all golden and the shadows are really strong. I tend to photograph in a way that leaves a fair amount of negative space for Dave to work with. Other than that I’ll usually just make a loose location list, head out to a spot and try and find something that moves me.
Florida. Are all the photos shot in Venice, Florida? How did the environment of the town become a part of the project?
DH: Currently all the Florida photos are in Venice. Its a special beach town that is sort of a time capsule in more ways than one. It has a wholesome 50’s feel to it and the average age is in the 60’s. Personally it holds my strongest memories like where I would skateboard, go to school, get caught stealing (Tristan and I got caught stealing Thrasher and Star Wars magazines at the super market when we were 13), graffiti, run from the cops, etc… Tristan went out with the purpose of taking interesting pictures of these nostalgic places and I would draw something based on my personal tastes and emotional response.
How does fiction play a part in the work? Written words and imaginative characters?
DH: None. The characters are just stream of consciousness for me. Basically when I look at Tristan’s image, something from my head vacates and moves into it’s new home.
What was the idea behind creating a website, Look Who Rolled into Town?
We felt the work was fun and wanted people to see it. It is starting to branch off into other areas we have both spent time like Brooklyn, New York. At some point we might even take it on tour and travel to new places and create new work based on those experiences.
Who do you know that Frontrunner should feature next?
Noelle McCleaf is a wonderful teacher & fine art photographer.