Off the record with Pavement Licker
Photography by Conor Lehane
Who can get anarchist artist Jamie Reid to go punk on the test pressing of Slowthai’s debut album? Who’d ask Shepard Fairey to create a piece of art using one of [Clash drummer] Topper Headon’s signed London Calling LPs, or persuade infamous tattoo artist, Grace Neutral to hand draw her mandalas all over a Charli XCX test pressing?
Pavement Licker that’s who. Pavement Licker started in 2003 as a London-based art-zine promoting new artists alongside established names. Fast forward to today and it’s now a highly-regarded curator, publisher, consultancy and an overall arts and culture source.
Founded by graphic artist James-Lee Duffy, and Executive Editor of this magazine, Josh Jones, the zine has seen a mighty parade of contributors including artists Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Jamie Hewlett, Kelsey Brookes, [Trainspotting author] Irvine Welsh, [tattoo artist] Emily Malice and others.
Their most recent project is conceiving and cura- tion of an incredible art and music show, PRESSING MATTERS. In association with art dealer Helium London and Matchesfashion, the show will raise money for Music Support, a charity helping anyone in the music industry with mental health and addiction issues.
The concept is pretty straightforward — get musicians to donate test pressings and rare vinyl of their records, which Pavement Licker gave to artists to use as a blank canvas. The rare vinyl becomes even rarer artwork.
“The album cover has historically been the place where artists and musicians’ minds met,” says co- founder James-Lee Duffy. “We wanted to flip that up for this unique show. We made the record the canvas and have turned them all into one-off pieces of art.” Using their little black book, in true Pavement Licker style, this show combines big name artists with exciting up and comers, they’ve assembled an impressive lineup of big and little names showing together. A peek into what to expect?
How about Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller working with the test pressing of James Blake’s debut album? Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley painting on a test pressing of Chic’s debut album is also on the roster. Other collaborations include rising art stars paired with music legends, like Alex May Hughes with Sonic Youth, Patrick Morales-Lee paired up with The Horrors, and Joy Yamusangie with Underworld.
“When the Pavement Licker guys asked me to get involved in the Music Support charity collaboration I was happy to help,” says The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett, whose acetate for their album Invaders Must Die has been worked over by sculptor Thomas J Price. “It’s been a difficult time for many in the music industry and as a touring band we are well aware how important it is to have someone like the Music Support charity to talk to if needed.”
The PRESSING MATTERS live event runs from May 4th to May 29th, in the breathtaking Matchesfashion townhouse at 5 Carlos Place, London’s Mayfair. An online auction for the pieces will launch at www.heliumlondon.com and all the money raised will go to Music Support.
It’s a charity that MARVIN Issue One cover star Yung- blud is also happy to help. When he saw what artist Barry Reigate had done with his vinyl, he couldn’t believe it. “Really buzzing to be a part of this project and amongst some of these legendary artists!” He told us with trademark enthusiasm. “It was proper difficult parting with the first test pressing of [his album] Weird! but what Barry Reigate has done with it blows my fucking mind!!! Everyone has been affected by the state of the world these last 12 months so to know it’s all going to a good cause makes me so happy. Can’t wait for the exhibition —it’s gonna be wild!!” @pavementlicker