• UO Studio Visits: LAND

    For Austin-based design duo LAND, each piece of work is a lesson in collaboration. Founded by designers Ryan Rhodes and Caleb Everitt, LAND's designs toe the line between art and graphic design, with a signature style that's both intricate and rudimentary, and rooted in a wide-reaching range of interdisciplinary influences. While both Ryan and Caleb have backgrounds in more traditional graphic design, LAND's focus is art driven, allowing them to collaborate with companies and take on personal projects that speak to both worlds. Last year, they collaborated with Deux Ex Machina to create original artwork to coincide with the brand's Japan store launch. This month, they've created work to display at the newest Space 15 Twenty pop-up, featuring items curated by Texas artists from the Austin shop Busy-Being. The series, "Poison Valley," will feature a collection of ongoing work, three-dimensional installations, and substantial materials such as limestone, metal, and precious elements. We stopped by their Austin warehouse studio to ask them some questions about art's "selfishness," Carl Jung, and the value in working together.
    Photos by Chelsea Fullerton

    Can you share a little more about each of your work, and how you came to work together as LAND? 
    We were friends for several years before we formed LAND. Both of us worked together at an agency in Austin, but before long we went our separate ways. We always kept in touch and when Caleb moved back to Austin (after living in Brooklyn and Portland), we started the conversation about working together.

    What strengths do each of you bring to the table as designers? What are the differences in your aesthetics or work styles? 
    Ryan displays an effortless creative flow and is a modest and hardworking artist. Caleb has a great eye for simple design and pushes LAND into unfamiliar places. He is constantly hunting for materials and inspiration. Once they find an interest or enthusiasm, it’s shared and then explored. We both have a passion and find beauty in art history and design.

    Can you share more about how you collaborate? What's the process like for developing a new project when you first come up with an idea?
    We started LAND as a way to advance our work and push our art into a stronger direction. When we start a project, we talk about it, get excited and then start collecting inspiration. Both of us sketch ideas on our own but being in the same space allows for constant sharing and ideas bouncing around the room. We compare options and choose the best from both pallets. When you can let go of ego and pass the dutchie, it's more fun and yields more dynamic results than if you work solo. Usually, our work will fit together and yield a grouping of work that feels lived together for decades, centuries even. 

    You are regarded equally as artists and designers. What are some of the benefits of being able to dip a toe in both worlds? What about challenges? 
    Right now, art is the main source of our inspiration. We will always be attracted to beautiful design; typography, illustration, shape, form, but our sweet spot is to mix them and blur the lines between them. Bringing a “feeling” of art into design makes projects interesting and creates an end product that stands out from the mediocre commercial world. For us, art is an escape from the filters that can sneak out in commercial design projects.  
    What's the difference between "art" and "design"?
    Art is selfish, design is accommodating. 

    You recently took a trip to Japan for a show with Deus Ex Machina. Can you speak a bit to the experience, what the show was centered around, and how the opportunity came about? Tell us a couple of the best stories of the trip. 
    LAND has been doing branding and design work for Deus the past few years. They were having a store opening in Tokyo and invited us to have an art show to help kick off the event. It was an amazing trip and we made great friends and grew closer to the Deus family. We were honored to spend two weeks experiencing the most delicious food, people, and fastest trains in the world. The country is rich with history and it was a truly inspiring visit. Everything seems to be a little bit better in Japan… especially the toilets.

    Tell us more about your studio setup! Will you walk us through a typical day in the life?
    We work in a brick warehouse that was built in 1941 for Holloway Wire and Rope Chain manufacturing. We get into the shop between 8-9 am: Water the plants. Burn incense. Bless the motorcycles. Turn on some music. Check email for a short bit, then start jamming on work. Drink some tea. Split a grapefruit, and keep working. Go to lunch. Play with Hank, the boss-hog shop-dog (if he isn't down the street eating barbecue). Light incense and work. As the sun goes down, we take a drink of whatever bottle is in the shop. Work a bit more. Go home. 

    You've spoken really specifically about influences in the past and their constant evolution, from Salvador Dali to concrete stamps. What's currently influencing and inspiring your work? What books, movies, places, objects, or ideas are at the front of your minds right now? 
    The sun, fire, sacred plants, Moab vortex, screwed country records, ancient metal, the third dimension, spiritual arrangements, tequila, grapefruit, industrial erosion, man-made markings, "Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow", carvings, impressions, still life, "Cave of Forgotten Dreams", Carl Jung, Lao Tzu, Paul Stamets, Steve Gunn, Bo Hannson. 

    Tell us more about the work you created for the Space 1520 show — what's the concept behind the pieces you'll have there?
    The concept isn't always known or apparent during the beginning of our process, but after gaining momentum everything starts to funnel toward a specific path. It's mainly guided by recently discovered materials and newly learned techniques. It's a layering of the material at hand, finding a composition and then an image that fits the individual piece best. We find metal and fabric pieces that feel like a coherent family of objects, and hand-pick material that speaks to us. All these materials have a destiny other than their intended use.

    What other projects are in the works?
    Whiskey labels, another show in LA, branding a desert town on a mesa and opening our online store in the spring. We will be creating more self-initiated work, products and art objects.

    Read more about the Space 15 Twenty pop-up with Busy-Being 
    Follow LAND on their website and Instagram