13. May 2021


-  Lifestyle,  Interview


Archie Dickens just launched a new project, AMORPHOUS, and ModaLisboa wanted to know everything about it.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Carl Jung proposed the theory that our home is powerfully symbolic and psychologically determinant. The four walls we inhabit are a reflection of our identity, and the way we build this space is directly related to our inner narrative and mood. Of course we didn't need a psychiatrist to point this out, especially when we got to know our homes too well in this past year. But it helps to think that when we take care about it, we are also taking care of ourselves — and that everything around us serves as a kind of emotional regulator.

Color therapy, for example, has long been practiced as a form of holistic healing. Let's look at reds and oranges: they are the tones with the longest wavelength, forcing the eyes to adjust and, therefore, making themselves a strong stimulant of our bodies. That helps when we feel numb and almost dead inside. But how can we balance this sudden enthusiasm? Comfort. Japanese researchers came to the conclusion that those who step on carpets (as opposed to wooden floors), experience alpha waves, which relieve stress. Our point? Archie Dickens and AMORPHOUS.

First of all, we miss you! How are you, and what have you been up to? 
I've been tinkering around in my studio since January, avoiding the plague, moving into a new house and becoming an urban vegetable gardener! That has really inspired my recent work and has brought me joy that I thought I couldn't experience again. I've taught myself how to use the tufting gun (so much fun) and also how to 3D render/animate (very basic so far, but getting there) and then all of this has spawned a project, AMORPHOUS.

Last October, at ModaLisboa MAIS, you presented your amazing pillows. Was that your first shot at a Home collection?
The cushions were the first fully realized pieces I have made for interiors, but I've always loved textile design for interiors. For a long time I felt (wrongly) that it was second to fashion as it seemed easier and less of a challenge for me. I thought it generally did not involve some of the more ego-feeding, glamorous aspects of fashion — however, I realized recently that interior textile design is something that comes more naturally to me than fashion, and just because it's natural doesn't mean that I should think of it as being too "easy" or less glamorous/special.

Is Home something you always wanted to do? Or the fact that we have been confined for so long inspired you to experiment?
I have always wanted to provide a fully rounded living concept. Including clothes, accessories, furniture, homeware, eclectic music, wallpaper, drawings and artwork for the walls, so... basically everything. It's almost impossible to do everything on your own so that's why it's taken me so long to get to this point, but I'm finding a focus now that seems real and feels right. The confinement; although it's been awful, has really given me time — time to collapse and disintegrate, then reform my oozing puddle into something new that has a reason for being. I can't say for sure whether I would be doing interior pieces now without Coronavirus, but I hope I would be!

Tell us more about AMORPHOUS. How did it start? Was it just you trying some things out personally and that evolved into what is now, or was it always meant to be commercialized?
For a long time after ModaLisboa MAIS, I felt very flat and uninspired. There were many long days sitting in the studio staring at the wall or watching drag race over and over again. Then something magic happened in January, and I suddenly felt the need to buy a sketchbook and start drawing forms. Bit by bit, they started to develop and stretch and warp, then I added colour and began layering ideas and chopping up my thoughts into pieces that have now fallen into a place called the amorphous ooze. The tufting gun made it possible, and honestly that was always meant to be a commercial venture — however it has turned out to be far more important for the development of my artistic practice than I had originally thought. AMORPHOUS has come from the combination of spontaneous drawing and the tufting gun which can be very spontaneous. Hypnotic, globular, artisanal pieces for different spaces in the home. Oozing forms appear from corners, leaking and growing. Liquescent forms for a liquiform world and now I want to bring them to life.

Are you happy about the feedback? 
I am very happy so far with the feedback, I want them to go places and I want to sell them. I'd really love to have an exhibition for people to see them as I intended.

Can you tell us what we can expect from AMORPHOUS?
I want to make huge APEX Oozes, small neonate oozes, adolescent oozes… and I want them to leak into new spaces, an exhibition or a concept space, to showcase them, possibly involving clothing...

And what about clothing: are you working on something new?
I have some ideas that have grown like seeds since I started making my amorphous oozes. Watch this space!