Words: Aimee Plumbley
DR.ME is made up of Ryan Doyle and Mark Edwards. DR.ME is in fact an acronym of their names. Ryan and Mark met on their first day at Manchester Met, and have continued to collaborate ever since. At University they both decided working for a design studio wasn’t the direction they wanted to be in and instead set up DR.ME, their own personal design studio.
The session covered pieces of work they had done, and tips and insights behind the work that helped DR.ME grow.
The session opened with a film documenting DR.ME’s ‘365 Days of Collage’ project, which invited the studio to commission a new piece of collage every day over the course of the year.
Mark reflected “it started a fire in us, in regards to the immediacy and speed in which we could create collage. We could approach so many subjects in a short space of time”.
On the back of this, DR.ME approached Thames and Hudson to publish a compendium, ‘Cut That Out’, celebrating different graphic designers who are excelling in the field of producing collage. They quickly realised that the preconceived idea that collage just involves copying and pasting paper is wrong. ‘Cut That Out’ demonstrated that collage isn’t limited to one medium, but can incorporate many elements, from photography to fashion design.
Ryan and Mark admitted they did not study curation, but rather it was something they had developed naturally. This was especially enhanced by the one-day exhibitions they put on monthly during their time at University. The Waiting Room was held at Nexus Art Café, and would invite artists from across the UK to hold mini exhibitions and live screen-printings.
“We were reaching out to people we admired, and making connections whilst we were still at Uni.”
Due to their pro-activeness and network of artists they had built up, they landed an exhibition at Urban Outfitters called ‘Like What Kids Do’ after they graduated. This then led on to being invited to curate a month-long exhibition in New York with Mike Perry called ‘Wondering around Wandering’. The experience from the Waiting Room was essential in obtaining these opportunities.
DR.ME also work with musicians and design record sleeves, posters and even a music video for Dutch Uncles. Ryan reiterated the importance of having a large network and getting yourself out there, “knowing people in bands got us some of our first jobs”. It was when they were producing Dutch Uncle’s sleeve they established a manifesto, that is, everything is primarily hand-made with the bare minimum of computer tweaking as it’s “got a more truthful aesthetic”.
“Don’t limit yourself to one medium, if you’re a creative student you can do anything”
You shouldn’t have to work for free, but in some circumstances it is beneficial for both parties. This rang true in regards to the work that DR.ME produces for Midi Festival. Midi Festival lost their funding and sought DR.ME to design their poster and murals. Sometimes “you have to rely on your gut and work out whether… whether you like the commissioner, believe in them and can trust them”. In the long run, it turned out to be a fruitful relationship.
“Failure is more important than successes. You learn from mistakes, and learn not be scared to try new things.”
Ryan and Mark then turned to what inspires them as a collective studio. They referenced ‘Beautiful Losers’ as a source of inspiration. Beautiful Losers is a documentary that follows a group of friends who are making art, it showed Ryan and Mark that you can survive outside of a studio and make money. Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JhS3BjEuGCY
They also felt the time they interned at Mike Perry’s studio a turning point. Mike would be in his studio from 7am to 7pm. He taught Ryan and Mark how to run a studio; not just the ‘cool stuff’ but the day-to-day stuff like paying bills and creating because you have spare time.
They also credit James Victore’s ‘Burning Questions’ webcast (Link), and travelling as a way to gain and engage with different perspectives. And finally, ‘friendship’ ensure you surround yourself with good people. People who will inspire you. Not only illustrators, designers and makers, but musicians, photographers, fashion designers etc.
Thanks to Ryan and Mark for dropping in! Follow them at @DRME_Studio,and check out their exhibition in Leeds ‘Shoulda woulda coulda’ on 31st March/1 April.