Ever since seeing the unusual work of conceptual art and product design studio Stay Evil Kids at 100% Design South Africa this month, we’ve been besotted. Co-founders Wendy Dixon and Jennifer Bradley have launched with nine unique designs, each combining a freestanding solid timber base and a mirror in grey, bronze or silver glass or with a tinted gradient. With the strangely beautiful appearance of a portal to another dimension, the Dirty Mirrors are striking to say the least. We chat to Wendy and Jennifer about their new venture.
How does your studio endeavour to balance the ‘good’ and ‘bad’?
Jennifer Bradley: Good and bad go hand in hand; without one, the other doesn’t exist.
Wendy Dixon: People are complicated creatures; we are many things at once. Good and bad are just two opposing concepts used to explain behaviour. What we are interested in is the ability to apply your mind in a different way. Trying to find that brilliant idea is exhausting and pretty hard to do. Our philosophy is that you need to embrace the bad and go with it, because sometimes good ideas come from bad ones.
How do the Dirty Mirrors encompass this idea?
Jennifer: The duality of the mirrors reflect the two sides to us all and in that, the opposing sides of good and evil, to varying degrees.
Wendy: Our mirrors don’t just reflect your image. They capture it and reveal something about your personality. The idea behind the freestanding double-sided mirrors is that they are functional art. A mirror on one side and art on the other, customised to your tastes to reflect a part of your identity.
Why do you think it’s important to have duality in design?
Jennifer: It is an important part of the concept in this project – whether it is true in every case is debatable.
Wendy: Design is a tool to solve problems. And there are no simple solutions to wicked problems.
Is there a reason why the block of wood the mirror is placed in is so raw?
Jennifer: There are different bases, some are raw and some have a really high-gloss painted finish. Again, the duality extends through the range.
Wendy: Wood is an interesting material. It’s a living thing and we have had to embrace the good and bad that comes with working with it. I love the naturalness of the plain timber bases contrasted with the clean, slick shine of the mirror and glass.
It’s true that good ideas often come from bad ones. What bad ideas have you had that led to good ones?
Jennifer: Good ideas always evolve through the design process from their original form, whether good or bad. Although quite often the first idea isn’t the best.
Wendy: Dirty Mirrors are a collection of nine hundred bad ideas made possible by a few amazing suppliers.
What products can we look out for in the future from Stay Evil Kids?
Jennifer: The Dirty Mirrors took a year to develop and we launched them only last week. We have definitive ideas for two other products and plans to collaborate with other artists, but right now it is a little early to say anything more.
Wendy: We are very excited about the first of our artists’ bases: this is a collaboration with artist and designer Koooooos [Koos Groenewald]. We want to create art products in the form of collectible Dirty Mirrors.
Visit stay-evil-kids.com for more details.