Interview by Sinead Nunes, Editor
Amie Russell and Carl Brown are a retro-inspired hairdressing duo, who prove that styling can be an art form in its own right. This month they will be showcasing their work in one of Liverpool’s top galleries, FACT, in ‘Factory Chic’, as part of the gallery’s ongoing exhibition Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life.
Art can take any form, and you have made hair dressing into an art – would you agree?
We would completely agree with this statement. For us a client’s hair can be considered our canvas. We believe art is all about creating feelings through aesthetics and that is what we try and do with our vintage styling. When working with an audience, as we often do at our pop-up salon events, we consider our work as a sort of performance art, often invoking feelings of nostalgia, happiness and creativity in both those watching and our clients in the chair. We aim to create beautiful forms and shapes informed by an entire history of fashion and beauty trends and express our sense of creativity and artistic flare through the styles we create.
What first you interested in vintage styling?
We discovered our shared love for vintage styling during our hairdressing training. We have both always been inspired by the glamour and beauty of the last century, especially in terms of the complexity and the creativity of the hairdressing industry at that time. We were drawn by our creative impulses and our love for all things vintage to take our hairdressing in the direction of vintage styling because we wanted to offer something different to what is available in the general hairdressing industry today.
How did you get involved with FACT?
We were looking around the city for art exhibitions that we may have been able to get involved with and then we heard about the Time in Motion exhibition at FACT. We enjoyed the concept of displaying the history of work and the divergence in work spaces across different communities and decided to contact FACT to see how we might be able to contribute to the exhibition.
Is this your first collaboration with a gallery/art event?
This is our first collaboration with a gallery, however, it is not our first pop-up salon event.
Tell us more about ‘Factory Chic’ and how it relates to the Time in Motion exhibition.
Factory Chic will be a pop-up salon event in the shared working space at FACT. The reason we felt compelled to get involved with the exhibition is because when reading the press release, the parallels between some of the issues and concepts dealt with in Time in Motion and our own work were very interesting. Time in Motion discusses the history of work and how the concept of work and leisure has developed over the last century. Something that struck us when in discussion with FACT was that the concepts of work and leisure space are often clearly defined, as highlighted in the video display by Harun Farocki Workers Leaving the Factory, whereas for us these lines are never really established.
We often work in spaces that are normally considered leisure space such as bars, vintage fairs, party spaces and even at home, so we thought this provided a nice contrast to this concept. Furthermore, we wanted to reflect the sense of change and development through time which is so prevelant in Time in Motion, by creating a timeline of progressive styles on our clients, taking inspiration from various decades of the last century. More generally, we wanted to provide a more immersive experience for the gallery visitors allowing them to feel closer to the subjects of the films and displays that our being shown as part of the exhibition.
What types of events do you enjoy most?
We really enjoy running our pop-up salon at vintage fairs. We love being surrounded by lovers of vintage and those who share our passion for this area of style and fashion. We like to work with an audience of onlookers as this creates a real buzz at any event. We also love working on photoshoots as we are not restricted by time limits and can let our creativity go into overdrive.
What are your hopes for the rest of 2014?
We hope to develop our business further and expand our reputation within the city. We want to get more involved with other art projects and establish a name within the wedding industry in the North West too. Also, we willl begin to set plans for establishing a vintage salon which will form the hub of our operation.
‘Factory Chic’ will be taking place in FACT from 15 – 16 February 2014. Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life continues at FACT until 9 March
You can find out more about Russell and Brown’s here: www.russellandbrowns.co.uk