Amateurs was founded by Jin Angdoo Lee and Mathieu Julien, a happy couple based in Paris. They are lovers of new discoveries and endless artistic possibilities.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do. Hello there, we are Jin Angdoo and Mathieu Julien, a couple based in Paris for now. Jin is a film and animation director from Los Angeles, and Mathieu is an illustrator from Bordeaux.
Since we are both freelancers, in between projects, we (together or individually) experiment with materials and techniques which interest us. Our interests are quite broad and bleed through several disciplines, yet we found a common voice among some of our personal works. These projects often began as experimentation, are hand crafted and ambiguous between art and design. And these became the body of Amateurs, and the website went online in June last year.
We also do graffiti, which we don’t show on Amateurs but still connected visually. And we are part of a graffiti writer collective called Moderne Jazz.
What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We are working on canvas tote bags right now. We often change the status or the function of an everyday object by our intervention. For instance, the tea towel project made usual objects into paintings, changing its original function.
Even though, we enjoy this ambiguity, for our current project, we want to create objects which the status and the function remain the same when finished. So we chose to make tote bags. Each tote bag is hand crafted and unique, however, its value and function will remain the same.
How has living in Paris affected your design practice? Living in Paris means living in a small flat, and our atelier is our ex-bedroom. So our working space is pretty limited, and we have a lot of materials and tools, both big and small. Living and working in a small space taught us to be flexible, efficient and be creative with the limited space to accommodate all types of projects. When we have a bigger studio one day, we will appreciate so much more!
What materials do you use in your work and what is your process like? Our interest is very broad, and we enjoy discovering and experimenting with different materials, tools and technics, both traditional and contemporary. So we don’t have one specific material and tool we use. Therefore, we spend a good amount of time researching the technic and the material when we discover something which interest us. Then we spend an equal amount of experimentation and self-teaching. Our goal is not to become most fluent in those tools and techniques, but to experiment and create something we like, and also to handle the whole making process by ourselves.
We have worked with fabrics, dyes, a spirit duplicator, an etching press, a lino press, different types of paints, a needle felting technic, a cyanotype china silk, and the list will continue to grow.
Tell us a joke. Tell your friend that you’ve found a very interesting artist duo called Amateurs and give them the web address, but you forget the dashes in between a-m-a-t-e-u-r-s.org
What’s your favorite thing about your city?
Mathieu: I have a big interest for graffitis, and Paris is a very exciting place for graffitis.
Jin: There’s something about living amongst so many beautiful things. It does something to your taste.
What was the last show you saw that stuck out to you? We are interested in the modern art périod at the moment, and we are lucky to live next to Musée d’Art Moderne in Paris. Currently, they are showing a retrospective of Sonia Delaunay which is very thorough and interesting. The exposition before was about Serge Poliakoff, and it was extremely inspiring.
What are you really excited about right now?
Mathieu: I just finished my very first sign painting job in LA, which was my fantasy, and I’m looking forward to continuing that.
Jin: I’m excited about a small business I’m planning to start up 😉
What are you listening to right now? La Fête Noire by Flavien Berger
Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? Mathieu’s grandma to Mathieu after seeing one of his first drawings, “I think you are a genius.”
Jin’s dad to Jin one week ago, “You should move back to LA and find a real full-time job.”