BASTARD TURPIN is a image making partnership of Kai Bastard and Bill Turpin. Their projects exemplify an image’s ability to not only draw an audience’s attention, but tell a story, coax self-reflection, and inspire critical thinking.
They focus on creating controversial social messaging embodying a cross section of human observations surrounding sexual, political and emotional issues.These surreal, at times illusory images both shock and amuse, breaking through the everyday noise promoting discussion and encourage debate.
The below questions have been answered either together as ‘BASTARD . TURPIN’ or individually by each Kai Bastard (K.B) or Bill Turpin (B.T) who form ‘BASTARD . TURPIN’.
How do you describe your work?
Our projects exemplify an image’s ability to not only draw an audience’s attention, but tell a story, coax self-reflection, and inspire critical thinking. The work is built on contradictions,
these surreal, at times illusory images both shock and amuse, breaking through the everyday noise promoting discussion and encourage debate.
What’s your preferred medium to express yourself and your work? How did you come into working that way?
We work in close partnership with each other. Both developing and building upon the concept and vision along with both playing a pivotal role within the actual construction of the project throughout all key stages of it’s production. ‘Turpin’ is a traditional draftsman and skilled sculptor, specializing in creating realistic special effects make-up / prosthetics and props. This has become the foundation to our work, from initial scamps through to creating genuine physical pieces that are either the sole or major contributing factor to the construction of the project. ’Bastard’ looks at the playful interlude between reality and surrealism and pieces the approach of execution together for the desired vision. Bringing together individual elements that tell a richer visual story, through capturing the moment in photography. Currently the main medium our work is delivered is through large format photography. Capturing a moment in time, allows the viewer to continuously reflect. We want the detail and texture within our work to be sought out by the viewer. We want our work to resonate with the viewer putting them into a state of self reflection, denial or shock. For us photography does this by keeping you in that same exact moment.
Where did you grow up and do you think that’s affected, at all, your vision as an artist?
K.B: Having emigrated from South Africa around 5yrs of age to the United Kingdom. I was surrounded by ongoing change. This has required me to adapt quickly to different situations and learning to read and determine the room, people and situation within it. Art has been an extension to this but in a visual context.
B.T: Bermondsey south East London (tough area). In school I was only good at art, design and technology, nothing else mattered to me, my school friends would love what I was doing in art class, they would encourage me to do bigger and better things. There was one other kid in school who was also good at art so there was competition between us both... healthy competition I must ad. So yes I think it affected me, it was definitely a positive.
What triggers your imagination?
What catches our imagination is a cross section of human observations surrounding sexual, political and emotional issues. Interpreting these issues we find ourselves creating work that balances on a emotional knife edge.
What are some instagram accounts or artists that you particularly enjoy / are inspired from?
K.B: Two artists that I never grow bored with are; @Van_Minnen and @DavidHenrynobodyjr
B.T: By far it's @Phillip.Kremer... I love his work, we share the same dark grey matter.
What was your dream growing up as a child?
K.B: I’ve always lived in the moment, I think I have long term memory problems, dreaming was just about what was the next project.
B.T: I wanted to be a stuntman...I waned to work on movies and get paid for fighting and jumping out of cars....as you do.
What has become most important to you or your work at this moment in your life?
Being honest to ourselves and delivering something that reflects our beliefs and passions.
Is there any specific moment(s) or memory in your life that pushed you definitively towards the arts or to pursue your creative ambitions?
K.B: Art is more than the sum of it’s parts and this comes from the belief, passion and artists interpretation / representation of their chosen art form. This truly had an impact on me when I found the likes of Marina Abramović and Franko B. Individuals that used their own bodies and would happily die for their work.
B.T: Yes. Fangoria magazine, I wanted to turn people into monsters, Freddy Krueger and the makeup artist Kevin Yagher.... plus the Popeye movie, how did they make his arms so big? I had to find out!!!!!
What does your work mean to you? If anything at all?
Our work means we can express ourselves with no boundaries. Not confined to someone else’s brief allows us to be obsessive and selfish with our outlook. Developing and crafting something that truly compels us.
What is your definition of ‘art’?
A story that is told in a different / unconventional new way.