Shameless self-promotion feels like the creed (and potential demise) of our generation. And though power through recognition has long been sought after, we are currently living in an age where personal-brand, not talent or skill, is often the highest form of success. The rejection of these pervasive truths make Greek artists Frank Moth pretty punk. Here, S6 artist and film photographer Ben Renschen finds out how the team has been able to reveal who they are through personal, transcendent truths, not selfies.
Who or what is Frank Moth? And why does Frank Moth exist? What's the backstory of how Frank Moth came to be?
Frank Moth is an idea that existed for more than two and a half years and actually materialised this past year. Frank Moth is two people, a soon-to-be doctor and a former editor. The main person behind Frank Moth has been designing for several years as a hobby and under another name. He has also been an art director for webradio and a music curating website and done lots of design work for commercial posters, music mixes and band covers. He is self- taught and with the help of his significant other, created this life side-project.
Frank Moth started from our need for all our all our efforts of expression to be under the umbrella and the presence of a single, virtual artist. So, you see, Frank Moth is a brand name that can stand as real name, or in this case, a real-sounding alias.
What does the pseudonym protect against or enable you to get away with?
We believe in the symbolism of words, so we chose to use Frank Moth instead of our real names. The pseudonym is also a great way to separate our art from our professions, which are pretty different. Last and definitely not least, we do not seek personal exposure, we prefer to let our art to speak for us.
Do the word's Frank and Moth carry any particular meaning?
Well, yes, of course. Frank means frank, as in honest, truthful, and candid. And moth? Well, where we come from, legend has it that when someone dies, their soul remains around the family for a short period of time in the form of a moth or a small, brown, butterfly. We don't believe in legends, but this one is so poetic. So, Moth means soul.
What do you think of the movie Fight Club?
Haha, best question ever asked! No, we really are two people (spoiler alert).
What inspires the tone of your work?
We draw inspiration from a wide variety of stimuli. At the same time, we are huge admirers and admittedly a bit envious of all the great work we see from artists we follow on Society6, which makes us always want to improve ourselves. We are inspired by color combinations, photos of the 1920's and 1930's, but also from all the universe that contains the last decades' pop culture. We love watching movies and TV shows, both classic and new. We are also very driven by music and lyrics. These inspirations are obvious in many of our works.
What was it like doing the Ezekiel x S6 wall clock collab? I could be wrong, but the theme seemed like a great collab for you guys.
Oh, it was awesome. It was our first collaboration and the Ezekiel team gave us such useful feedback. It felt great to be chosen among 1,500 artists, when our presence on S6 was still new, which shows that collaborations in Society6 are a transparent process. We chose to do a minimal and fresh design that fit our color pallette and we are really satisfied with the result, but also with the fine attitude and cooperation of all the people involved.
What's the method for creation between the two of you? How do ideas, collaboration and execution play out?
We actually work with great independence. It is because we know each other so well that the results are often of similar aesthetics. You will notice some differences among some of our designs, and those are an indication of adding elements of each other's style in the works.
What sort of future plans exist for Frank Moth? Have you been invited to art shows? Do you go anonymously?
For starters, we don't want to stop creating. When thinking about the future, on the one hand we want to be more extroverted and on the other we want to keep more to ourselves. We are not sure which side of us will prevail. We definitely want to expand and keep exploring, possibly doing something big and analogue.
What's the art scene like in Athens?
Due to the economic crisis and the hard social circumstances in the whole of Greece and not only in Athens these past few years, people's concerns and fears have been expressed through art more often. Street art is representative of what the country is going through.
What does "success" mean to Frank Moth?
We have chosen to see all this a little bit differently. We were creating long before we officially launched Frank Moth, and we just wanted this to contain no stress at all. So, success for us is the positive impact on people through our work. When we get great feedback, we feel absolutely grateful.
What do you consider "positive impact"?
Wow, such a thoughtful question. Positive impact for us is a lot of things. Our work has an impact when people stop and look. When someone can relate to a specific theme. When they sit and stare at its details. There are also these subtle feelings of familiarity and inner justice that you can only feel if what you perceive is really close to your consciousness. A positive impact can happen even when someone is bothered by a piece of art, because it simply means it hit a certain sensitive string in their mind. It's like a sense of great relief, like you opened your eyes for the first time to a new realization.
I'd love to know a specific story behind why a piece exists and what it meant to get it out there?
The piece" Forgive Me mother" expresses the totally realistic feeling of guilt and disappointment I have towards my mother. Although it was never required of me to succeed in my life, and even though I do not believe in following all social norms, the last couple of years I've been overwhelmed by the feeling that I've been left behind in my way to an invisible right and good, that is symbolised by my mother.
FINISH THE SENTENCE:
You open an envelope. The note reads, "Free Ticket to Anywhere". You fly straight to:
F:New York M: Definitely London.
The last song I sang out loud was:
F: Yuna, Strawberry Letter 23 M: Grant Nicholas, Vampires
But my favorite song right now is:
F: Eleni Karaindrou, Taksidi sta Kithira M: Fink, Pilgrim
The worst meal I've ever made was:
F:raw homemade burgers M: burned lentils
The best bad TV show is:
F: How I Met Your Mother M: Once Upon A Time
If a stranger handed you 200 Euro, the first thing you'd do is:
F: give it to another stranger M:wonder why!
Who would you like to give a shout out to on S6?
Photos by Maria Georgiou.
Check out Frank Moth on the cover of our new Art Quarterly!
Shop more Frank Moth here!