Cat On The Wall: I understand you are a 20-year-old artist based in Peterborough and run Deadscene Clothing. How long has this business been active? How did the idea of creating and printing t-shirts designs come about?
Rich Simmons:Deadscene’s been going properly for just under a year and a half now; and the idea came from a lack of a creative outlet and a desire to test myself in a self employed role. My dad runs his own company so I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of running a business and I combined that with my creative side and concluded that the easiest way to promote and sell my art was on t-shirts.
COTW: DS is supported by the Prince’s Trust. Is there a reason why you turned to the Trust for support? How would you rate your experience with the Prince’s Trust?
RS:The Prince’s Trust has been a huge help for me, not only in a financial way but also the support, guidance and courses I’ve received have significantly helped develop my confidence and knowledge for business. I turned to the Trust when I had the idea for Deadscene because I needed the capital to launch my idea, and the expertise they provide to help make the idea a reality.
COTW: You also paint. Can you tell us about your art? What fuels it/you?
RS:Art has been my escape from reality for as long as I can remember. It’s my way of expressing how I feel, what I dream and how I see the world. I’ve never been good at talking about my feelings so instead I paint them on canvas and put them out there for people to see. I think a painting can express things that you can’t find the words for, it’s almost a reflection of my thoughts and people can read it however they want. Whether it offers a sense of hope, fear, confusion, I just want to make people stop and think for a minute and go away with a changed perspective on something.
COTW: Have you sold any piece of artwork yet? If so, is it something you would like to develop into a business like DS?
RS: I’ve sold a few paintings to friends and given a few out as presents but its definitely something I want to become more involved in. Art is my passion in life and my aspirations are definitely to get noticed for my paintings. Gallery space is the ultimate dream I have, putting my paintings up in a proper gallery is a dream I’ve had for as long as I can remember. Being recognized as an artist and having people come and see my work would be the biggest compliment I could get and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to display in galleries in the future.
COTW: Deadscene is promoting local artists like Luke Pickett. You’re a bass player yourself. What place does music have in your life? Why did you decide to promote musicians/music nights?
RS: Music is a huge part of my life; it’s just as much of an outlet to me as art is. I’ve made some of my best friends through playing music, promoting music and watching bands live. I started promoting gigs in school when I was 16 and that is when my love for the behind the scenes side of music began. Promoting gigs gives me a chance to put on the bands I enjoy listening to and gives me a buzz knowing I’m running the show. Playing music was hugely rewarding and most importantly fun, its like an audible art form and instead of getting emotion out with a paintbrush, I can do it with a guitar.
COTW: What are your plans for the near future?
RS: The future is looking very exciting for me at the moment. There’s a lot of interest in the clothing and in the coming months I will have catalogues ready and be wholesaling to shops. I have plans to step up the music side of the business and become more involved in management with the band Between Broken Ashes and there are plans in the pipeline for a record label and tours. I’m also working on a lot of new paintings at the moment in the attempt to get gallery space this year. 2007 should be a very exciting year for Deadscene and myself.