From their Facebook : "Sticky Fingers Art Prints Cambodia is a spin-off from The Cambodian Space Project but is quickly taking a life of it's own and providing training and work for a super cool team of young Cambodian print makers.". As you surely already know, here at Crewkoos', we are looking for poster artists from all around the world, so you can easily imagine how happy I have been when Julien answered my mail. I would like to thanks him, first, and to remind you, dear reader, that anywhere you may be on the planet, if you are drawing, silkscreening (or not) around rock events, you are very welcomed to contact me !
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Well, we’re always listening the best amazing, psychedelic rock’n’roll from pre-war Cambodia. Sticky Fingers is based in Phnom Penh and grew out of doing design work for my band The Cambodian Space Project so we’re playing tracks by the great singers of Cambodia’s Golden Era – Sin Sisamuth, Pan Ron, Ros Sereysothea to name a few. Right now, we’re also in the middle of a Soul Explosion, CSP’s vocalist Srey Channthy and the Sticky Fingers crew have just discover Stax and Motown classics and that’s what’s spinning today.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m Julien Poulson, originally from Tasmania, Australia but now living and working in Cambodia. I work across art forms, music, photography, design and illustration. I’ve been juggling this mix for a long time. I remember my first screen pint job clearly, I was about 10 years old and I printed 2 colour Tea Towels with a cartoon image of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser who had come to power amid controversy, I added a quote from Fraser “Life wasn’t meant to be easy” and the finished Tea Towels sold like hot cakes. Many years later I met Malcolm Fraser and today have a great deal of respect for him – he is Australia’s most reformed right wing political figure. Today, we’re doing the same kind of things with Sticky Finger’s Fist of Defiance Agitprop T-shirt series – images of free speech champions, Julian Assange, Ai Wei Wei and Pussy Riot – next I’m cautiously producing a tribute image of a local activist.
When did you start drawing? Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I was drawing and doodling for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I once encouraged my younger brother to take a felt-tipped marker pen and scribble all over the white walls of our parents’ house. With great enthusiasm my brother and I produced these magnificent doodles all over the freshly painted walls. All hell broke loose when the folks finally returned home, my younger brother somehow took the rap thus ending his own short-lived career as an illustrator. I’ve carried on and have sometimes worked as a political cartoonist, an editorial illustrator and artist. I like drawing with brush and ink but I’m out of practice, for me, drawing is something that requires a lot of practice, it’s not something that comes naturally.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ? Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I guess I’m living from but probably better to say ‘for’ my art and music, I don’t really do anything else and it occupies all my time. However, I set up Sticky Fingers really to contribute skills and teaching to young people here in Cambodia We really don’t make a profit but do this because it’s something I consider valuable to share and a lot of fun to do. Right now my main focus is working as a musician, producing and touring with The Cambodian Space Project. For the past 2 years CSP has been on the road almost continuously.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Well, I love Pop Art, Warhol, Hockney, Lichtenstein, as well as the Dada concept of re-using borrowed or discarded things. I like all the cutup art from the Punk era, Russian Agitprop posters, eighties graphic designer Neville Brody, I’m into stealing images and ideas, re-appropriating, then twisting them into some sort of parody that responds in a humorous or provocative way to whatever situation has motivated me to ‘put pen to paper’ in the first place. Right now I really like a lot of the graphic art and agitprop art coming out of Indonesia. I travel a lot with the band and see cool, street art everywhere.
What are the principal steps in your work ? Do you do everything by hand or on computer? How long does it take you to do a poster?
It doesn’t take long, maybe half a day to draft up the concept, usually on computer for convenience of speed, sometimes by hand. Takes another day or so of running around to make up screens of the colour separations then my printer Visal at Sticky Fingers takes over and makes some test prints. We limit our editions to 1/50 or 1/100 and it takes a day or two to produce 100 finished prints.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
At Sticky Fingers we’re doing only what we feel like. Different day, different ideas. We’ve got a backlog ideas and techniques to try and we’re really just beginning. No-one has come along to commission something specific and I’m sure we’d give it a go if they did, however, they’d have to be prepared for it to come out our way coz that’s all we can do. BTW there’s a whole street of painting shops here in Phnom Penh, full of those oil paintings you mentioned. Very kitsch! I like ‘em.
For which band have you already worked for? For which band would you love to work? Do you choose the artists yourself? What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ? Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Sticky Fingers was set up because we were designing and printing a lot of stuff for The Cambodian Space Project – the subject of many of our prints. However, we’re starting to do work for other Cambodian artists, tribute stuff for Pan Ron, Ros Sereysothea as well as a design of living legend Master Kong Nay. There’s a thriving music scene in PP and we’ll start doing some design and print for other local bands that, like CSP, mix Cambodian and Western cultures.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work, on the web or in real life? The best praise you received lately? What can we wish you for the future? Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
We’ll get around to making a website soon but for now, just check our facebook page and photo galleries. https://www.facebook.com/
We’re getting a lot of great feedback and really appreciate your interest too. Hopefully we’ll keep on our mission – squeegee monkey for social change and good times! – So yeah, this means working on teaching and training a local crew as well as creating cosmic and evocative artworks and add something to the flourishing art scene here and abroad. Later I’d like to host guest artists, provide accom and the workshop for them to come and share their talent and skills with our team here in Phnom Penh.
Oh and the most exciting thing that’s happened lately is starting up a nice little shop and small gallery in a cheap-assed, low-rent part of town, Sticky Fingers Art Prints Cambodia is at Shop 29 Golden Sorya Mall, Phnom Penh (not far from infamous Heart of Darkness).