Sid & Jim
Sid and Jim is the story of two friends – Sid Smith and Jim Bicknell-Knight – who bonded in their first year of art school and have been inseparable ever since, connected by their twin passion for art and bound by the memories they’ve made together over the years, they describe how they have discovered a joy for their work that perhaps few of us could relate with.
“Making art is what we do because it’s one of the few things where you can wake up every day and do something new”
The London-based duo specialises in performance, installation, moving image and sculpture, focusing their work around storytelling, authorship and issues of value, including how art and artists are perceived within popular culture.
Just as cultural and racial stereotypes pervade our society, artists can’t escape erroneous labels – arrogant, affectatious, and often unstable.
‘Whether it’s in films, TV, or mainstream media outlets, artists tend to be shown as constantly attempting to impress by affecting greater importance or merit than is actually possessed.’ they lamented. Reaching out through their Youtube channel, they asked the artistic community to reflect on their identity as artists. You can explore the conversation on their website here.
Finding ideas for a new project is never an easy task for any artist. Just as writers suffer the dreaded writer’s block, artists must find inspiration wherever and whenever it strikes to lay the concepts of a new project. Rather than sitting down to produce ideas on demand (a process the duo admit they sometimes struggle with) they feel a compulsive need to create, with ideas sporadically coming to them in unlikely places – ‘the car or the shower, when you’re not expecting them’, says Jim.
As part of CuratorSpace’s Digital Art Exhibition at Leeds Digital Festival, Sid and Jim present ‘The Best 4 x 4 x Far’ (2015). The video shows Land Rover and Range Rover commercials remade using Google SketchUp and Street View, drawing parallels with past and present technologies and how a significant icon – such as the Land Rover – can be paraded with the intention of instilling hopes and dreams in all who are exposed to it.
Sid and Jim try to provide the spectator with a space to let their imagination lead them where it will. Rather than serve everything on a silver plate, their work serves to make us consider what we see, and interpret our own meaning.
“It’s about thinking about the idea of disclosure” says Jim.
Even though the collaboration may be regarded as ‘pop’ artists, they don’t consider themselves as belonging to the genre in the traditional sense, à la Warhol or Lichtenstein. They describe being a pop artist as drawing inspiration from sources in popular and commercial culture, while Sid and Jim work with different aesthetics:
‘We regularly re-appropriate imagery from YouTube or cinema in order to question the idea of authorship and bring all the cultural baggage that comes with these references, which is very similar to what the classic pop artists were doing but the aesthetics have just changed.’
Sid and Jim have recently exhibited their work ‘Ad-Venture’ at The Vitrine Project in London and ‘Level Playing Field’ at The Wellness and Motivational Center in Leeds. However they are not just confined to the UK, with their piece ‘‘They’ as opposed to ‘he/she’’ shown at Istanbul’s The Evie Evie Space.
To find out more about Sid and Jim’s work and their curated projects, please visit their website and follow their individual Instagram pages:
‘The Best 4 x 4 x Far’ (2015)