Dr Lamps & Mr Splink
We were delighted to introduce Leitrim based Dr Lamps & Mr Splink to our line up of visual artists at Species 2015! Originally from Dublin, Dr Lamps & Mr Splink is very dedicated and talented artist primarily making graffiti, this boy has incredible skills with a spray can and also a accomplished carpenter, fabricating a impressive array of curiosities in the form of site art installations especially for our Gothic Species, including tomb stones, a full size coffin and a beautiful shrine to St. Wednesday of Addams with his partner in crime Loki Nom! we were so lucky to have him join us for a spot of spooky spontaneous Gothic font graffiti!
Dr Lamps & Mr Splink, live graffiti at Species 2015
An Interview with Dr Lamps & Mr Splink
• Tell us a little about yourself as a Studio and Street Artist:
I’m not sure if I could be classified as a studio artist but I guess I am. I used to just paint walls and design stuff on the computer. Then I got a notion about making a sword for myself, so I drew a sword on the computer and figured out how I could carve it out of wood using whatever I had on hand ( jigsaw, sand paper and a lot of elbow grease). I figured if I got a few chisels I could carve another sword quicker and better. It was here I discovered that I love working with wood. It basically all comes down to one simple creative philosophy, “I do what I want!” (OR whatever it is the client wants) As a graffiti and street artist I would paint whatever I wanted because I could, sometimes because it was the funny thing to do, other times because it wasn’t the normal thing to do. As a studio artist, it’s the same, make something you want, or maybe something that someone else wants and you think is cool, or is just so weird you just have to give it a go.
• How long have you been making art and what drives you to do it?
I started painting graffiti in 1997. Before that I was stealing clay from the art room in school so I could make little clay heads of zombies, pumpkin heads, skulls and stuff, all in a little makeshift kiln I made from some pieces of metal I could remove from the windows in my class room placed on top of each other in between the radiator. Then I’d take them home at the end of the day to paint them, replacing the window bits so to not arouse suspicion. There was also the copying of band logos onto my bedroom wall and school bag, all sorts of art sets and models of ww2 planes going back as far as I can remember. I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t making art. As for what drives me to do it, I get notions to make things or take on silly little projects for shits and giggles mainly and if I didn’t I would probably be insufferable to be around. So I think I have to keep making things in order to stay somewhat sane in this crazy messed up world.
• You have a unique and intriguing alias ‘Dr Lamps & Mr Splink’ is there a story behind the name?
The name thing has been a bit of a battle if I’m being honest. At first it was picking a graffiti name or “tag”, which then led me down the road of changing my name every other week so I could keep pushing myself in different directions with different sets of letters-which would lead to different styles. But I would always return to the name I first chose, Splink. It doesn’t really mean anything but yet it, means a lot. To me anyway. So then the whole street art thing came about, I was happy enough painting my name but I wanted more. Then one night I figured out that I could do a pretty decent visual interpretation of the phrase “I Love Lamp” without actually having to use a name. Thus my street art alter ego to my graffiti alter ego had been born. I then had to figure out a middle ground for my multiple personas, so I figured why not pay a little homage to the original doctor of multiple personas, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.
• You are very talented with a spray can. How did you get into Graffiti? What advice would you give to new artists that would like to get into Graffiti?
First of all don’t. But do if you want to. It will save your life and ruin it all in one. It can save you from a life of crime while entering a different sort of crime for life. It can lead you to meeting some amazing people who will be your friends for life, give you cool jobs painting stuff, but will also lead you down dark lanes and abandoned buildings where you could meet some very unsavory characters or even some time in a dank smelly cell while some coppers process your details and assign you a court date for vandalism, trespassing and whatever other charges they can throw at you. BUT, if you fancy a go at this glamorous lifestyle, be true to yourself and find your own voice, push yourself and don’t just try copy or replicate someone else’s idea. You may not get banksy famous but you can have a hell of a lot of fun trying. The first time I ever saw a piece of graffiti, I was about 13 or 14 and out on a beach collecting crabs to sell for fishing bait, I can’t remember where abouts it was or who had painted the piece, I just remember thinking, “Yeah! That’s what I’m going to do!” And then jumped onto a dart with a bucket full of crabs with people looking at me all strange. But I knew something they didn’t. I guess it was a nice introduction without finding much out, as I think it was also the moment when I realized I didn’t give a damn about what people thought, I can do what I want. Since then I have seen places from a perspective that not many people will ever witness, and that’s something that makes me happy.
• Tell us about the art installations you made for Species: And which ones were you most pleased with?
Oh yeah, made a life size coffin and a shrine for Wednesday Addams with my partner in crime Loki along with a load of grave stones and crosses that were dotted around the site. They looked really awesome under the trees, although we now know that we need to make a lot more. I was actually pretty pleased with them all, I’ve never built a coffin or a shrine before and now I know I can.
We visited with Splink and Loki on the run up to Species at his home studio to follow the progress of his wonderful installations, work in progress photos of the ‘Shrine of St. Wednesday of Addams’ and the full size coffin (above)
The finished coffin Installation at Species 2015
The finished shrine of ‘St. Wednesday of Addams’ at Species 2015 with artwork from Loki Nom.
Graves an art Instalation by Dr. Lamp & Mr. Splink at Species 2015
• What preparations for your live paint, did you do on the run up to species?
I looked at some nice Gothic lettering, played some video games, thought about the letters I had looked at, carved them out of stone in my head and then took a hammer to them and smashed them up. Then I sketched out what remained in my head. Unfortunately my wall got too drunk and fell over, so I have some making up to do with my live painting
• What part of Gothic & Industrial culture intrigues you most?
There are so many shades of black, it’s awesome
• What is your views Gothic culture in Ireland today?
Goths really don’t give a shit about the weather and have balls of steel and are really nice and supportive
• What parts of Species did you enjoy most?
The awesome little dogs. There was also some great music and performances all fueled by some tasty food
• Would you like to be artistically involved next year?