Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

OTP short-forms: Ollie Dove



An interview with the London-born photographer and risograph artist.

We talk Skid Row, Robert Crumb and car boot sales.

OTP What’s important to you?

OD Doing my artwork - that’s my main priority. I don’t live in London anymore and I'm around nature a lot - that’s become something really important to me.

I still read a lot of books from Housmans in Kings Cross (where I’m from) but I prefer tv. When they turn Schopenhauer or Céline books into cartoons I’ll be really happy.

OTP 'THIRTEEN IN NINETEEN SEVENTY EIGHT' is the first release from your press GOOD THINGS - It documents the London punk scene form your mother’s perspective. How was this project born?

OD Yeah that's the first zine on my new press. It was cool to just do something super simple and personal to my mum. Just her photos of her punk friends, in her teens and that's it.

I've been getting grief from someone who saw a poster on the wall and got upset about the dates not being exactly right. The photos are taken from 1977-1980, crucify me! 

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Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

OTP You’ve collaborated with New York No Wave photographer Julia Gorton and iconoclast British punk artist Jamie Reid - what was it like to work with them?

OD Me and Julia have been friends for a few years now. Her and her family are some of my favourite people on Earth.

We've had two art shows together at the Doomed Gallery in East London (RIP) and released a few zines. We've got some new projects in the works too, which I'm excited about.

My parents used to take me to Jamie Reid shows when I was a little kid - I remember in primary school I wrote ‘no death no glory fuck forever end of story’ on one of the playground slides and got sent home.

It shocks me that barely anyone I talk to knows who he is because I regard him as one of the most important subversive artists of our time. Buy his new retrospective book - it’s incredible.

OTP The first GOOD THINGS art show in Los Angeles looked like a great success - what do you make of the city? 

OD Yeah that show was so fun. It was at Descontrol Punk Shop in Downtown LA. Descontrol is the best, some of the best people I've ever met.

I first went to LA a few years ago. I was flown out by Obey for a bunch of photoshoots. Everyone says people in Los Angeles are fake, I had the exact opposite experience. People were way friendlier than Londoners - maybe it's because I'm British.

I love Los Angeles but damn, America needs to sort out social housing. Me and my cousin walked around Skid Row I've never seen anything like it. 

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Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

OTP I saw a Danny Fox contact sheet on your instagram - did you visit his studio while you were there?

OD I met Danny through my friend Kingsley Ifill. He put me in touch with Obey. That contact sheet was from a group show he was in at Saatchi.

Every time I've been back to LA i've visited Danny in his studio. I'm a huge fan of his work. Getting mashed on California weed and looking at his paintings for hours was a great experience. 

OTP I read that you’re also a big Robert Crumb fan, why is his work important to you?

OD I love Robert Crumb, I found his work in the library in my first year of art school and it just clicked. My grandad had all the first issues of Zap comics.

I love Robert Crumb because he's a maladjusted introvert, he’s sickened by the modern world and his life revolves around art. I can completely relate.

I like his critique of America, human nature, capitalism and mainstream culture. Obviously it's difficult when you look at some of his work which is considered misogynistic - but people are complicated, artists are no exception.

An old friend gave me one of the first presses of his sketchbook pages, I've hunted on eBay for years and collected small exhibition pamphlets.

I've got a lot of Crumb stuff but if I was a millionaire, I'd walk straight into David Zwirner and buy the whole lot.

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Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

OTP Which artists you are excited about at the moment?

OD I love all kinds of work, but at the moment I'm really interested in social critique or work that comments on the climate crisis. I love aesthetics for the sake of aesthetics but right now it isn't enough for me.

I've been looking at these artists a lot: Eike König, Brain William Green, Peter Kennard, Gee Vaucher and Cali Thornhill DeWitt.

OTP A number of your works seem to have been produced with a ‘Nintendo camera’ -when did you start using this format?

OD I've never been able to afford ultra expensive cameras like Leicas or Contax's. Contax's used to be.. not cheap, but affordable - that ship sailed a long time ago. I decided to just embrace junk cameras. I Googled 'kids camera, junk camera, bad camera etc.’ until I found something interesting.

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Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

OTP What’s the best thing you’ve ever picked up at a car boot sale?

OD They're great in the countryside because old people sell stuff really cheap. Also it ain’t played out because it's in the middle of nowhere.

I've collected Mickey Mouse toys for years. I've got a Mickey Mouse lunchbox from the 70's, tons and tons of old Mickey Mouse stuff. I'm also into collecting shit pamphlets - I'm a total pack rat.

The best thing I ever got though was a John Cooper Clarke 7-inch (Innocents EP) for a couple of quid.

OTP Any closing words for the reader?

OD Yeah! Anything to keep you disconnected from reality is beautiful.

Also, check out all these artists: 

Alex Herzog, Soft Skin Latex, raw tape Glasgow, Susan Te Kahurangi King, Jane Pain, t4mconSucia Rata, Oscar Reynolds, sal hernandez, Austin Durant, Powerplant, mobshity, fuckfletch, Lucas Boland, Rob Whoriskey

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Photo: Ollie Dove, courtesy of the artist.

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