Archie Fitzgerald does unconventional, Archie does unusual, Archie does kinky. His art ist very sexual and dark and is mostly about internet paedophiles, rape, sex, hate, pain and frustration. Archie Fitzgerald is an artist from England currently living in Berlin. Different is good. Beware.
KALTBLUT: Who are you, where are you from and what do you do?
Archie: My name is Archie Fitzgerald, I’m 24 years old, I am from Canterbury in England and I make gorgeous art.
KALTBLUT: What is your artistic background?
Archie: My mother is a book keeper and my father is a jeweller.I went to art college when I was 16 before moving to Bristol to do a degree in illustration. I always knew I wanted to be an artist, when I was a kid I loved The Simpsons and wanted to be an animator. Throughout school I did okay in art but they didn’t really support creativity that much in the art lessons which is a shame, they only seem to like you if you can technically draw or paint well and copy an image by another artist which I can’t do. When I went to art college that all changed and I learnt a lot more about how I wanted to work and what I was interested in and I specialised in illustration. I really like drawing. At Bristol they tried to tame down everyones work and make you a children’s book or editorial illustrator which is fine but I am not able to control my urges to draw flaccid penises and rape victims and these things are not accepted in broadsheet newspapers or children’s books.
KALTBLUT: Your illustrations are very dark and sexual. How did you come this way?
Archie: It seems my work has gradually got more and more disgusting and dark over the last few years, it was always quite weird but I think now I have a more narrow focus and understanding of what my work is about these days and probably a more fucked up mind with more inspiration than before as well. When I make work it always brings out a certain side of me which wants to disgust, get out frustration and upset people. I’m really interested in the minds of other interesting people so most of my work is from the point of view of someone else. These are sometimes based on real people and sometimes just made up but they mostly focus on obsessives, cult leaders and cult participants, rapists, pedophiles, internet addicts, cannibals, murderers, everyday weirdos and psychotics. In college we did a fanzine project and my zine was a diary and sketches of a child molester living in prison which ended on him committing suicide and I made this when I was 16 so I guess this has been something that has interested me for a while.
KALTBLUT: The text you use on your images is also kind of -HARD-CORE-. Do you usually come first with the words or with the images?
Archie: I pretty much always add the writing at the end. Sometimes the writing is an extension of the drawing and adds a different perspective or idea and sometimes its a spontaneous piece of prose I come up with at the time that I want to write down. I really like mixing the beautiful with horrible degradation and I think sometimes its an interesting juxtaposition to have a fucked up drawing with some beautiful prose about falling in love. I also think sometimes the piece of writing I add just emphasises how brutal and upsetting the story in the image is.
KALTBLUT: What inspires you the most?
Archie: I’ve been reading about the dark net recently and the people involved in that have been a big inspiration for me; cam girls, child pornographers, trollers, stalkers, internet and gaming obsessives etc. When it comes to imagery I’m not sure what inspires me any more, I used to be really into Basquiat and Ralph Steadman, both great artists but I don’t look at their work much these days. I really love science fiction and surrealism so those all play a part in my work a lot of the time and I like to watch films and read books a lot so these definitely inspire my work occasionally, I really like stuff by Todd Solondz, J.G Ballard, Michael Haneke, Gasper Noe, William Burroughs, David Lynch etc.
‘The Acid House’ by Irvine Welsh is my favourite book that I’ve read recently.
KALTBLUT: Why did you move to Berlin?
Archie: I wanted to move away from England and Berlin was a place I knew quite well and always loved. I love the clubs here, and the atmosphere in the city feels very free. I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world like it. Berlin is definitely lacking in some things I desire and I plan to move around a lot throughout my life which is why I’m leaving in the next few months to move to Melbourne for a year and after that I plan to travel around Korea, Japan and China. I am definitely not totally satisfied in Berlin and want to keep moving.
KALTBLUT: How you support yourself as an Illustrator?
Archie: Since living in Berlin I’ve been working in a call centre part time to pay for everything. I don’t really make any money from my artwork at the moment so I always have to have a job at the same time. The job has been helpful in some ways for my artwork as I get lots of time to browse the internet and read books in between phone calls so I spend a lot of time researching various things that inspire my artwork and some of the stuff I see and hear at work occasionally inspires my work.
KALTBLUT: Looking at your work, it seems like your drawings are also japan- inspirits, is it the case?
Archie: I am interested in Japanese art and imagery, I partly love the calmness of traditional Japanese life and also the extremity of some of Japan’s arts. I like to incorporate elements of this into my work sometimes by adding things to a drawing that represent different emotions and feelings, for example sometimes I add mountains to represent calm and beauty or flowers to represent romance.
KALTBLUT: Does it (Japanese art) somehow influence your work?
Archie: Yes definitely. I think most of my favourite 2D art I’ve seen in the last year or so has been Japanese. My favourite artists I’ve discovered are Tadanori Yokoo, Suehiro Maruo and Toshio Saeki.
I think Japan seems to have a very strange culture of mixing sexual/beautiful things with fucked up violence and disturbing imagery which is definitely something I like to put across in my work so I find a lot of inspiration in this stuff. Also the colours and style of drawing by these artists is great. Definitely part of the reason I put Chinese lettering in my images is to pay homage to some of this great Asian art I’ve been inspired by, I also use it to put intimate codes in my work that I forget the meaning of and only people who can read Chinese are able to understand or translate.
KALTBLUT: Do you have any mentor, artist that inspires you?
Archie: No. I take some inspiration from artists in the way of imagery but with my subject matter and my ideas these all come from other places and my own mind.
KALTBLUT: What the main message you’d want to say with your artwork?
Archie: At the moment my work is supposed to give you more of a feeling than a message. It’s supposed to be depicting an insanity, a claustrophobia and paranoia. Schizophrenia and hallucinogenics. It’s supposed to give you an insight into someones mind who is lost and psychotic, emotionless and relentless and hopefully disturb some people as well.
KALTBLUT: What’s next for you?
Archie: I have a new zine coming out entitled ‘The Lonely Suburban Male’ that I just finished the work for, it’s being published by a French artist named Guillaume Soulatges which will be my first zine that is totally screen printed. It will be my darkest work to date. It is an exploration of the mind of a lonely man and expresses all of his passions and pain. I will be moving to Melbourne in the next few months and then once I’m there I’m going to send some proposals out to do exhibitions. I want to extend my practice and work on some installations and possibly video work to coincide with my drawings so thats my main aim for the future of my artwork, I want to focus on being more of an exhibiting artist than an illustrator.
KALTBLUT: What’s your favourite part about living in Berlin?