Atemporal is a clothing label created, designed and run by my good self, Stephen Prince.
I've enjoyed a long and heady history of working within subcultures and producing clothing labels. Some of my story is below.
Atemporal? I have been studying a certain kind of textured, crumbling, decayed, deconstructed, dark beauty for a good few years. Atemporal is one of the expressions of that study.
I love things that last. I love things that refer to pop culture but are not seduced by it's grubby paws.
All our garments are custom made and printed in the UK in conjunction with a company we have been working with for fifteen years who pay a living wage and where people are treated like human beings.
The quote below by Genesis P. Orridge I have carried with me for a number of years. It sums up a lot of what I feel about contemporary culture:
"I think something very smart happened a few years ago. There's no need to make anything the enemy anymore.
If you don't make anything the enemy then you can accept it back as activity that can feed into your powerstructure - you co-opt everything and everyone.
Not only do you not have to waste time controlling people but you can also defuse the problem and make more money. Everything could be subverted by commerce and fashion and logos".
(Genesis P. Orridge in an interview from an old Record Collector magazine, in 1999 I think.)
Atemporal is a little corner where I can stand proudly against it all.
Atemporal may well be but one of the things I am currently doing. Some of the other things I've done/am doing are below.
A more indepth version of my history be viewed at www.culturaltreachery.com.
Sometimes later on they were more voodoo rock'n'roll a la
The Cramps, sometimes more overtly gothic/fetish, briefly it was mod and even occassionally
a bit kind of leftfield fashion.
During all that I seemed to sell things to an
eclectic mix of famous people... from Dee Dee Ramone to Naomi Campbell,
Marc Almond to the woman out of Aqua via Marilyn Manson and Boy George...
which was all both odd and yet curiously satisfying.
This was basically a place that sold and displayed things that we would
want to buy and see ourselves, a large part of which was the 'lowbrow'
culture that was to be found in the likes of Juxtapoz magazine (Robert Williams, Mark Ryden, Vince Ray, Joe Coleman, Frank Kozik, Coop, Shag etc)... basically a twisted take
on oddball pop culture, devils'n'hotrods, zines, small press books, our
own clothing labels, limited edition screnprints, quirky toys, a huge range of our own pin badges...
oh, it's difficult to describe.
The gallery side of the shop was particularly popular, leading to signings with people queueing for four hours down the street, cover articles and acres of press in everything from Creative Review magazine to BBC radio via Art Monthly and a variety of zines.
At The Last Chance Saloon we had
the first UK exhibitions by screen printed rockposter artists Coop and
Frank Kozik, the first ever exhibition by the fetish'n'psychobilly illustrator
Vince Ray and our opening show was by the garage punk musician/poet/artist/one
man industry Billy Childish. We also had shows by mail artist Mark Pawson,
post feminist fashion designer Karen Savage, girls with spaceships
in their hair illustrator Neil McFarland (aka Paris Hair) and a group
poster show that featured work by Shepard Fairey, Banksy and Pete Fowler...
oh and not to forget glam seditionairy club night Kitsch Bitch, which
was probably actually my personal favourite.
Plus we put together a fine selection of clothing, jigsaws, exihibition booklets and other merchandise featuring the work of Vince, Mister X (former front
man with Sheep on Drugs and now a tattooist of note at Into You in London),
Paris Hair and Frank Kozik.
So all in all 'twas a pretty varied place. It was a fine
space, that apparently's become some kind of mini-urban legend and is
the sort of genuinely independently spirited place that's been driven
out of inner cities by the insatiable need of landlords for ever higher
rents (oh look, my favourite shop's closed down and now it's a sandwich
bar/coffee shop/vodka watering hole).
We had a lot of very dedicated and supportive customers (thanks very much to them) and we had an awful lot of fun (and some very long hours!) to a rather eclectic soundtrack (shop faves included Gallon Drunk, The Flaming Stars, Tindersticks and Black Box Recorder).
I'm terribly proud of what we did. It was a small outpost of independance and individualism, a rarity in shop spaces then and increasingly so today.
The Last Chance Saloon, I salute you!
These were some of the clothing prints that I did while at the LCS. They also had shoulder prints that said "my belief system has been systematically destroyed", "media whore", "I saw it in a magazine, I can't afford it but it's definitely me" and "I buy my identity".
Basically the range dealt with my own personal fascination and love/hate of the media, the way that things are sucked in and spat out, sucked dry in a matter of months, pounced on before it's had time to gestate and develop and generally help engender a feeling of inadequacy through consumerism.
Which has been a bit of an ongoing theme with a lot of what I've done over the years. I'm fascinated and repelled by the whole spectacle but I try and avoid it as much as possible as filling my head up with the endless unfiltered junk just leaves me feeling physically dirty (strange but true).
It was worn by both more gothic folk and leftfield/independent fashion folk.
The photos are more gothic/fetish inclined because, well, that was the photoshoot I did with them a while after I'd designed them when I was relaunching my more gothic/fetish clothing range. They dont' strictly suit the work but I quite like them and I didn't always photograph my clothes in the pre-digital days.
As a final curious thing, the "I'm just a pretty media whore..." print was the only design I've ever done where a shop phoned up after they'd bought them in and asked if they could return it as they hadn't realised what it said. They were very nice and polite about it.
...this selection of t-shirt prints you'd have to see on the garments to get the full effect, as each one was unique and printed in a hand cut-up effect across the side of the tops, which were made in an asymmetric shape.
It was based on England's semi-forgotten history... early eighties activism, the miner's strike, Maggie Thatcher, the use of unemployment as a weapon to help destroy the working class spirit. I suspect that people that wore them probably didn't really know that that was what it was all about... ah, well, we can but try.
The one on the far right is actually a mixture of my graphics and one of my sister's drawings and I always thought it had an aching bit of melancholy to it. That one in particular ended up on 10,000 posters across London town and on some t-shirts that we sold in Topshop, during a brief fling with the nasty nasty side of clothing retail.
Towards the end of the LCS I met a young lady and moved from London to Nottingham.
I carried on with the clothing, in a more strictly fetish crossover and gothic style than before.
For a while I delved into the world of trading at darkwave festivals throughout the land (a cyber gothic festival in Bradford with a thousand hair extensioned goths on pills listening to dark trance... who would've thought it?).
This was a more online thing than before and I also turned my hand to screenprinting myself again, which I'd kind of missed.
In 2003 I put on a big pile of club nights.The main one of these was called Home Taping Is Killing Music and was a kind of electropunk-twisted pop-future rock'n'roll night before such things became the mainstay of student nights out across the country... well, that was what it said on the flyer but generally it was "playing things we like at a club we'd want to go to" mixed with the club slogan "we just don't care". These are a few of the flyers for the nights:
As a side line to that we djed and helped promote for Peaches (a lovely lady, v'un-in-your face offstage), Adult. (two of the nicest, most genuine people you could want to meet), Chicks on Speed (who I didn't actually meet and I think were a touch too arty for the good people of Nottingham).
There were piles of other things that surrounded the club nights, badges, banners, live video mixing, Meg White at one of them, skipping rope dancing on the dance floor, fanzines and more and more and I was glad to be able to provide a space for folks of various persuasions and inclinations to mix'n'mingle and have a good time.
Also in 2003 I put on another club night kind of a thing with the aforementioned young lady. We started doing a night called Sex and Horror, which was a more sleazy rock'n'roll/Gallon Drunk/Nick Cave kind of a thing, which also took in putting on The Cramps aftershow party for one of only two dates that they did in the UK, a Day of the Dead Mexican themed Halloween night and a fair bit of quiff action.
Eventually, after years of burning the cultural work candle at both ends, I was a dash knackered and so at the end of 2003 I took a break.
I guess it was a break in some ways, not in others.
In 2004-early 2005 I had some time out, moved city, earnt some money briefly in more normal work (not for me it would appear, I lasted around two and a half weeks before having to say to the chap that I was working for that it wasn't really working out).
2004 I also did the less normal work of working for the chap who used to make my clothes and helping him with the starting up of a clothing factory geared towards young independent clothing designers, paid off the evils of credit cards, closed my Nottingham workshops and generally prepared for what I was going to do next.
Plus here are a few things of note during this "resting" period:
Since around April of 2005 I've also been running a custom pin badge making site, www.badgesaplenty.com
I've made literally hundreds of thousands for a huge variety of chaps and lasses, including:
We've made badges for Holly Golightly, Kings Have Long Arms, The Aquarium Gallery, Night and Day (Manchester), Fantazia, The Brudenell Social Club (Leeds), James Cauty (KLF/The JAMMS), Jeffrey Lewis, Dr D...
And badges for Shibby Shabblers, Vince Ray, United Stencil Agency, Daniel Johnston, The Hi-Fi Club (Leeds), Left Lion Magazine (Nottingham), Mr Stacey's Video Emporium, The Imogen Styles, Whiskey Cats...
...and some more badges for Terry Edwards/Sartorial Records, Sputnik 2 (Martin Degville), Diamond Jacks Tattoo, Procol Harum, Humber Rescue, Razor Stiletto (Sheffield), Artnucleus, 1968 Film Group, Arthole (Bruce Brand/Masonics/Thee Headcoats), The Wendy House club (Leeds), The New Master Sounds, Ed's Diner (London), Omerta...
...and then badges for (after a pause for breath) The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Fred's Flying Circus, Sheffield Bikers, Hot Dog (club), Fert (Feret Education and Research Trust), Raucous Records, The National Maritime Museum, (London), Dr Wu's (Leeds), GoJonnyGoGoGo Records, Forward Russia, Smash Skates, Trojan Records...
...and not forgetting the badges we've made for Benjamin Wetherill, Trojan Records, DJ Scotch Egg, Brandon Steep, Detour Apparel, Katscan, Mechanical Cabaret, a fair few schools, Danny Wallace, an NHS Trust or two, Pollinates, Popstarz (London), badges for Erasure, Shortfuse, Brennan & Burch, Joolz/NYAAA, Little White Lies Magazine...
Which is a proud roll call of honour.
In 2006 I moved to Leicester and worked on various projects that involved creating merchandise ranges for and with creative folk, sharing a rather unusual living/working space (a 10,000 square foot old 1920's factory).
Some of the things that came out of that period are below.
While in the aforementioned factory, I designed and built the website for the musician Holly Golightly, alongside creating the merchandise and running the online shop.
Badges'n'bags and custom made allover printed bags, tshirts, limited edition items. All kinds of Holly Golightly goodies.
2006-2007 I designed a range of merchandise for electro with a dash of sleaze chaps Mechanical Cabaret and also built and managed their online shop and merchandise.
These are some of the designs from then...
The merchandise range I created was rather more than just a standard band tshirt, involving custom made, deconstructed, asymmetric garments and bondage tops.
In 2008 I started to draw everything together and put my Cultural Treachery site online.
It's an umbrella site that collects things I've done together, along with some new graphic and photography work.
A selection of the graphics for the site I designed and built for What Goes Up... in 2008.
Bruce from What Goes Up... said he wanted the site to have a kind of magical-ness, too not be too circus-y, to not be too retro.
I think I created something quite lovely that combines well with their work and some rather fine photos.
You can view the full site at www.whatgoesup.co.uk
Something else I've recently put together is the website for my young lady, www.zoelloyd.co.uk, which launched in September 2008:
Well worth a look-see.
Here's something of an ongoing project, I'll let it explain what it's all about:
|Which all in all, is quite a selection of things to have done.
Not everything is here, particularly things done in the earlier nineties as I don't have easy access to my pre-digital work (stored away at the moment) but I hope it all gave you a taste.
A more indepth version of things I've done can be viewed at www.culturaltreachery.com.
15th December 2008
PS Well, thinking about it, that was mostly work stuff, none of the more day to day life and loves and relationship stuff. A chap likes to keep somethings private I guess.