Through their esoteric collages – or “nostalgic postcards” – the Greek duo of Frank Moth explore themes centered around the human: depersonalization, derealization, rebirth, revival, insecurity and nostalgia (to name but a few). They link a plethora of subjects from concepts of space and retro-future, to mathematics, architecture and music. In this interview, the artists talk to us about some of the mysteries behind their story and the influence of these themes on their work.
Why the need for the pseudonym and enigma quality – are you hiding, and if so, from what?
We started Frank Moth as a side project, so we wanted to keep it separated from our real life. It was about having a name that sounded real, as an umbrella for our creative endeavors. We are not hiding from anything. We rather wanted to unite the various pieces and different styles of our work under one name.
Reality is very fragile and ever-changing, and even though our works are categorized as surreal, we ourselves do not depend on dreams.
Explain the ideas and things that shaped a young Frank Moth into the digital world?
The main person behind Frank Moth had been creating artwork for quite some time before this name came into existence. The common themes that shaped Frank Moth into the digital world are the ideas of insecurity, depersonalization, derealisation. There’s also an obsession with music, architecture and universal concepts like love and faith.
What does anonymity mean to you and how does it play out in the world of Frank Moth?
Our effort was to keep the focus on the artworks rather than the names. Anonymity is a natural part of this effort. Apart from that, we are naturally shy so there is one more reason to keep things anonymous.
There’s a real esoteric quality to your work – what does that mean to you and how do you express that in the work you create?
We are always concerned about spirituality and we always seek to know more in psychology/psychiatry. This is combined with the idea of unfulfillment and insecurity. You can see it in a very obvious way in our work.
Talk about how you bring the universe/space into your work?
Space has the retro-future feeling we want for many of our works. The 50s and 60s movements where space travel began and people did not know what to expect fascinates and inspires us. This is why we have created many surreal works where people gaze at Earth itself or live on other planets.
Let’s talk about some of the enduring themes present in your work, starting with ‘loss’. Are we indeed lost?
On a funny note, Lost (2004-2010) is our all-time favorite TV show. To answer your question, we are concerned with the perpetual struggle around loss and salvation. The only sure thing is that we live with hope for what’s to come.
Your work heavily features people, but as we noted in your bio they are faceless more often than not – why?
Our collages are absolutely and utterly human-centered, this is an essential element of our work. Most of the times the face is covered up or absent, because that reveals all that we mentioned above (insecurities, fears and more). It shows all unfulfilled wishes and dreams. We also use this method as an element of secretiveness and mystery in clear contradiction with what a face usually shows.
‘Psychic truth’ is an interesting statement. Explain that more: are we all existing on many planes?
No, we do not believe in parallel planes. We believe that each and every one of us lives the best life they could have according to the choices they have made. By psychic truth, we mean the raw, clear and true soul that is not corrupted by lies or egoism and weakness.
On dreams and reality – where does Frank Moth exist and where does ‘he’ like to reside?
If you consider what we have said about our life, we in fact live in an absolute reality, and so does Frank Moth. Reality is very fragile and ever-changing, and even though our works are categorized as surreal, we ourselves do not depend on dreams.
The ‘failure of man to define and refine happiness today’ is an interesting idea. Do you think that as a world we have become less happy?
Yes, a hundred percent. Especially in the last few years, and even more so in our country that is in the middle of a social-economic crisis. People have lost their way to find happiness. Peope tend to connect and define happiness within the material world.
On maths/geometry and freedom – how do you depict that in your work?
Maths and geometry are used widely in our works, in several kinds of schematics and algorithms. First of all, we like how they look on the artworks. We think it brings a beautiful balance between the surreal elements and the people within the collages.
Past, present and future seem significant in your work – talk to us about how you explore that in your work?
The phrase we use to describe our work is “Nostalgic postcards from the future”. We essentially try to show a combination of the future adorned with intense elements from the past. It’s about showing something that has not come yet, but looks so familiar-just like a photo from the past.
We love the colors you use in your work . Can you discuss that and how they interplay to create the impact you want?
Our palette is specific because we feel we can get the vintage feeling we want naturally. However, the interpretation of the colors and combinations is subjective. For some people there is a big impact, but others may not think so.
Are there any films or books that are constant reference points for your work?
We love all the classics, like 1984 (1949) by George Orwell, but we also love the wonderful Penguin Books and Bell Books. As for films, we are big fans of Stanley Kubrick, Wes Anderson and Theodoros Angelopoulos. There is such a prominent retro atmosphere in their films that is pure inspiration.