The Girl of Stuff's first photo book/ zine/ box is being launched soon at Parlour Skate Store on Hackney Road, the very location I housed my own exhibition Morella in 2014.
Get Stuffed is a photobook with a difference, the book takes as it's main underlying theme the skateboarding scene it documents, but very few of the photographs depict skateboarding itself, focusing rather upon what happens once the skateboard is put down. Described in the press release as being inspired by the Euro party vibes, lurkers, urban messages, skate rats, London locals, boozing, cruising, winning and losing.
The launch is themed around pizza, and the book is being presented in a hand screen-printed pizza box and with pizza-base(d) puns on stickers.
(Pun intended, sorry).
Free pizza will be distributed and there will be pizza bunting on the walls.
Because why the fuck not.
BM – You are very involved in skateboarding, what is it that attracts you to the subculture and why did you decide to start documenting it?
TGoS – So it all kinda started in around 1997... My first full-time job I was working in a photo lab (all analogue back then, none of this digital stuff) and a year or so before I had made some new friends through the under-age drinking scene that was the 'Ferryman's Tavern' in Maidstone, Kent. That pub sits along the river Medway, but more importantly it was next to the prime skate-spot that is the Law Courts. The new friends I had made would skate all day over the weekends. And for the rest of us that didn't skate, we'd hang out on the brick banks of the Law Courts drinking pints in plastic cups bought from the pub and watch the boys skate. We'd generally end up heading out to our late-night haunt 'Union Bar' after and I'd be armed with my Konica EU Mini camera, taking snaps of our antics and having them all developed, printed and even making enlargements for myself and my friends by the Monday lunchtime. It was a carefree life back then! My passion for photography didn't stop there, it continued through the rest of the nineties and into the new millennium when I went back into full-time education and studied BTEC Foundation in Art & Design (specialising in Photography) and then onto a BA in Photo Media at the Kent Institute of Art & Design (KIAD). The good friends I made back then are still in my life today and think it's those friendships that attracted me to skateboarding and their passion for it, rather than the skateboarding itself. I'm not sure if I'd have gravitated towards skateboarding without them. I started (trying!) to skate last year, I think I'm better off behind the camera lens and enjoying the party.
BM – Most of the photographs don’t actually document the act of skateboarding, why did you decide not to focus on it for this show?
TGoS – I've prolifically taken photos for nearly 20 years and as we are all multi-faceted human beings, inspired by many, many things; It seems obvious to include as many things that make up 'me' in my work. I also suppose that my nickname of 'The Girl of Stuff' is a reflection of that too. ;) I like seeing something beautiful, silly or absurd in the every day, mundane things we are surrounded by in our urban landscape. Documenting something that most others would miss or possibly even dismiss.
BM – I’m loving the pizza theme, but what on earth made you come up with that?
TGoS – I have wanted to make a zine of my photography for a while now. But I didn't want to have something constructed in such a way where the recipient wouldn't be able to hang one of the photographs on their wall or pass onto a friend without destroying the zine itself. My mate Tadej Vaukman from 585 Zines ( @585zines ) in Slovenia posted a video clip on Instagram where he had loose 6x4 prints in an old VHS cassette box with a photocopied sleeve which I thought was a seriously genius idea. I didn't want to rip him off, so I started thinking of other ways to package a set of photographs without the use of binding or staples. Living in Peckham, it didn't take very long before I saw a group of school kids outside one of those tacky take-away places eating from these mini pizza boxes. I started looking on eBay for pizza boxes, found a good deal and then made a call to my best friend Stu at Lovenskate to see if he could help me screen-print a design on it. He basically said he'd do it for free. I think he's just stoked to see me get over a decade's worth of happy-snapping finally into something I can share with the world. I have to say, I'm pretty stoked too.
BM – From the looks of the photos, you have had some pretty intense evenings. Describe one which relates to a photo in the show.
TGoS – HaHa! Yeah, there's lots of party photos... I really like the one of Cäptn Clepto in the shower. This was taken a couple of years back when a group our friends from Cleptomanicx in Hamburg came over for Notting Hill Carnival. Cäptn was kinda like the brand's mascot. He's a really rad dude and he'd brought an inflatable pink flamingo with him from Germany, which then became our kind of marker to keep our big group of Brits and Euros together in the madness of Carnival. We ended up going to Lilli's friend's house for an after-party and they happened to have a flamingo shower curtain. It was too good an opportunity to miss. So we snuck off into their bathroom and Cäptn got in the bathtub so we could take pics of him with the inflatable flamingo and the flamingo shower curtain. He didn't stop there, he found someone's wash mitts along the side of the tub and ended up wearing them all evening and into the next morning. Proper jokes!
BM – Have you heard of Macaulay Culkins band The Pizza Underground, and will they be providing the soundtrack?
TGoS – I can't say I've listened to them, but I've seen stuff on the internet about them and not all of it good. I'm gonna have Bryce from Parlour Skate Store on the decks for the evening... But I'm sure he can take requests if you ask him nicely.
BM – Please provide some vegetarian pizza. See you then.
GET STUFFED launches on the 23rd from 8pm and then remains open for the following week.
59 Hackney Road, E2 7NX