It’s always quite amazing when someone is motivated to make art inspired by what you do. We have been so privileged to experience that here in Farringdon and stunned by the creativity that has come from some very talented individuals. Whether that’s illustrations, photography or fashion collections the calibre of these creations have been remarkable. Today we’re excited to reveal a piece of art that is now installed in the club and wanted to take a moment to share the story behind its creation and the person behind it.
Last year during our closure we received a message from Stathis Lazarides, an artist, DJ, and club promoter. As the resident DJ and artist booker at Mykonos club Cavo Paradiso, Stathis has dedicated most of his life to club culture.
Stathis contacted us to explain how he’d made a wooden installation piece based on our own logo design, created using the Japanese Shou Sugi Ban technique. This is a traditional technique that involves a complex method of wood burning. When we heard the reason for him using this method, we were touched by this thoughtful concept.
“It’s the idea of trying to destroy something with fire but rather than destroying it, the fire makes the wood stronger.” Stathis told us. In creating this piece, Stathis hoped it would echo our struggles and subsequent success in reopening.
As we mark the anniversary of winning our licence back, we’re proud to unveil this new artwork piece inside the disco. The installation is now permanently located at the bottom of the main staircase of the club – keep an eye out next time you visit.
Ahead of installing this stunning piece, we spoke with Stathis over Skype to hear more about the construction process of the piece, his work at Cavo Paradisos and some of his other projects.
Can you introduce yourself briefly?
My name is Stathis Lazarides, I am 46 years old and I originally come from Greece. I have been a UK resident since the mid-90s, I started DJing at the age of 16 and I have been involved in electronic music since 1993.
What’s your relationship to fabric?
I don't have a specific relationship with fabric, but I’ve been many times since 1999. I also performed at WYS! once a couple of years ago.
What inspired you to create this artwork?
I have been involved in clubs for most of my adult life and have seen the changes and the challenges we had to face in the past, as well as the challenges we are facing today. I was saddened hearing about the fabric licence troubles because I understand the importance of nightclubs and I wanted to give something to a venue that has given so much over the last two decades. At the time I was experimenting with the concept of Shou Sugi Ban, a Japanese practice of preserving wood by burning it. I had a few installations done, as I have an avid interest in fusing garden design with conceptual art. I found the idea of burning wood was a fitting idea to the troubles you endured as a club. It’s the idea of trying to destroy something with fire but rather than destroying it, the fire makes the wood stronger. This technique has been used on barn buildings to make them waterproof. So the piece is a wish from me to all of you to be as strong as the wood after the fire. It’s a quicker way of saying ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
Can you describe the process behind it and how long it took to create?
I use recycled wood from a social enterprise in Birmingham where they give work opportunities to young people with mental health issues. The piece is made from old fence posts, which are cut into different lengths and then screwed together on a piece of plywood. Once the shape is achieved (in this instance, the fabric logo), I use a blow torch to burn it until there's ash coming out on the edges of the wood. I let it cool down and use a preserving oil with a brush to seal it. The whole process took about one week.
Where can we find other examples of your art?
I am currently working on my portfolio and a website for my artwork – this will be launched in late 2018.
Can you describe what your job at Cavo Paradiso involves?
I've been a resident DJ since day one, I've played alongside Carl Cox, John Digweed, Laurent Garnier, Louie Vega, Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice, Marco Carola...to many to mention. I also book artists, and handle production and marketing. I’ve worked in many different positions over the years so I don’t just see myself as a resident. I always had an interest in how a club works on different levels and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to do so at Cavo.
How is the general attitude towards clubbing in Mykonos and Greece? Have you noticed any changes in the clubbing landscape since its beginnings?
We have been at the forefront of the local scene since day one (we are celebrating our 25th season next summer) and the changes have been tremendous in many aspects of the job. There has been a gradual shift towards festivals and daytime events over the last few years in electronic music and this is having an impact on traditional nightclubs. But we learned how to navigate through all the changes and we are the leader when it comes to nightclubbing! We believe that clubs are incredibly important in our scene and we cannot survive or imagine a future with just festivals. We cannot break boundaries without experimentation and without clubs there is no experimentation. Three years ago this idea pushed me to creating my own club concept, giving a framework for young and undiscovered talent. Clubs are the birthplaces of this scene and they can play a very important role for the future if we focus on them.