Highlighting the diversity of approaches that can be used within the same discipline, this week we met with the founders of Dr. Me, a design studio based in Manchester’s third major studio complex in a repurposed mill; Awol Studios, at Hope Mill in Ancoats. Eddie and Ryan of Dr. Me are another creative team who were first introduced at University, in this instance on the very first day.
Not unlike the designers we have met previously, Dr. Me share their studio with another artist and designer; Steve Hockett, who’s practice relates to the supernatural, and is informed by his degree in Physics. Eddie, Ryan and Steve agree that one of the most compelling reasons to share a studio (other than splitting the rent – of course) is being able to share ideas and discuss work whilst it is in progress.
Many of Dr. Me’s commissions have been musically affiliated, with a series of record sleeves which manifest their hand-made ethos. Eddie and Ryan explained that they aim to minimise the steps between their hand-drawn, or collaged designs and the finished article – showing us their 2011 design for Dutch Uncles album ‘Cadenza’ as an example, whereby a meticulous geometric collage is almost unaltered from its paper form when printed on a 12” record sleeve.
Dr. Me’s recent commissions include a life-drawing session at Manchester Art Gallery as part of the Thursday Lates series. Eddie and Steve were invited by the curator of ‘Radical Figures’ to respond to the exhibition, and developed a life drawing session with a difference, whereby five models at a time posed in swimwear, echoing the composition of some of the paintings in the exhibition.
There is an emphasis on action, in the form of workshops, events, and exhibitions, which give Eddie and Ryan further opportunities to communicate their hand-made philosophy. Referring to some recent workshops with students from Salford University, the pair described how they had explored making work for work’s sake, compiling ‘zines’* from found images, and thinking about how these random images relate to each other aesthetically.
Dr Me and their studio-mate have found ways to work as Designers and Fine Artists at the same time, by keeping their aesthetic principles at the heart of their work, and by taking on commissions which allow this. Eddie and Ryan recalled their formative internship with artist Mike Perry in New York, where they learnt to have fun whilst working – an imperative which has undoubtedly remained an important part of their practice.
See Steve Hockett’s exhibition info here.
* Zines are self-published magazines that are often hand-made and cover topics of personal interest.
Written by Lauren Velvick / Photos by Elle Brotherhood