MM3 Artist Interview: Lando
It's been a real privilege to have been able to share the type of normally unseen material that goes into the making of a book. Lando created a meticulously realised 13 page story for Mould Map 3 - see below for an interview covering the real world references for the work and images from his working process.
MM: Was there something specific that gave you the idea for this story?
L: I was thinking about the Pressures and difficulties of trying to exist in a constantly changing and dehumanising environment. Navigating around forces completely out of our control while trying to balance relationships with each other. Being forced to be part of a big tragic spectacle. Some how this got me thinking about the weird TV shows that were on when I was a kid that involved assault courses and mud/gunge etc....Watching people desperately trying to avoid a kind of ritual humiliation.
I’ve never seen someone in the UK approach comics the way you do, what led you to start making these kind of comics?
At my local college when I was about 16 I had specialized in fine art for a year. We had a tutor called Dave Burrows (who was a practicing artist) who took us to a lot of exhibitions in London and pushed us to think conceptually. Although this kind of art wasn't really what I was interested in at the time, I think the challenge of trying to understand the meanings behind sculptures, installations and photography pushed me to think more about symbolism and ideas behind work. He also screened a number of films he liked, and broke down the meanings and metaphor's in the same way he would approach a painting or sculpture. I especially remember watching Dawn of the Dead (the 70's Romero film) and he told us how the zombies in a shopping mall were a comment on the trap of Consumerism. I think this stuff had a massive effect on me over time and made me think a lot more beyond making art that was just entertaining or looked cool. I think all my attempts at stories were just obvious rip off of films and comics I had grown up reading up to that point.
Later I met Stathis Tsemberlidis in London while studying animation and we formed the ideas and philosophy behind our anthology 'Decadence'. During the short time of the course the invasion of Iraq had began. I traveled to Greece with Stathis over the Easter vacation and talked with many people about the conflict as it played out on the TV. I had to make it clear to some people as soon as I met them that I didn't support the war, which was a very strange experience. The level of apathy in the UK at the time was completely different and it made me think a lot about how complacent people were. So me and Stathis had many conversations about the role artist play in society and how we should be making art that challenges people to think about how we exist within a destructive globalist system. So we started the Decadence anthology as an attempt explore this with our stories. I don't think I got it straight away, (or if I even manage to do this now) but the anthology was a great place to try things out and pushed me to make short self contained stories. Up to this point all my comics had been longer and often didn't go beyond story boards or layouts.
What is it that appeals to you about making comics about military teams (alien/human violent groups)
I find it interesting to explore violence and warfare because it is still an issue that humanity has yet to evolve beyond. I think the soldier is not much different from the guy selling the guns, missile systems etc...or the guy making them...its all one big system that needs dismantling, everyone involved has a choice. The soldier is the last man at the bottom pulling the trigger in an immediate act. But this is of course not the case as humans develop increasingly alienated ways of killing - drone strikes and long range bombings. So sometimes I am using soldiers in my stories as a way of confronting the lack of consciousness and the industrial nihilism that exists within society as a whole.
Do you think it’s useful to make art that is optimistic?
The viewer can make that decision. We are surrounded by junk in this life....I'm trying to pull back the curtain to show a new way of looking at reality. If you want to repeat the same ideas and experience brain numbing crap then you are already dead...there is nothing optimistic there.
How do you survive in 2013?
I dunno if I did, just sent this mail from the other side.
(Interviewed by Leon Sadler, via email Autumn 2013)