Studio Visit: 'Lumiere Brothers' Scott Aigner and Derek Clem
Studio Visit appears first in print, in Sunday editions of The News-Gazette. Here, Melissa Merli visits with Scott Aigner and Derek Clem, the Lumiere Brothers. In the Aug. 12 newspaper, we'll have a visit with songwriter and musician Margaret O'Brien of Monticello.
Q: Why do you call yourselves the Lumiere Brothers?
A: Scott: We wanted to choose a name to represent us that has a history of connection to film. Also, the idea of long-lost brothers. When we first met, we found all these similarities between us. We have the same favorite film (Steven Spielberg's "Hook"), and we found we had the same misconceptions about a lot of the same films. We were making work that was similar — it was all about film and our relationship to it since childhood.
Derek: A lot of it came out of nostalgic memories of watching movies.
Q: When did you first meet?
A: Scott: In 2006, during our undergraduate years at Eastern Illinois University.
Derek: Actually, before we met at school, we met at a punk rock show in Chicago.
Scott: I was going to Northern Illinois University.
Derek: And then he transferred to EIU.
Scott: And we stayed there all the way through undergraduate and our first master's degrees. Then we both split for our MFAs.
Q: Where did you go for those?
A: Derek: I was at Illinois State, and he was at Ohio State. We were both in painting and drawing. When you make it to our show at Indi Go, it won't look like that. We do a lot of video, digital photos and screen prints. Out of everything, there will be one drawing and just a few paintings. All the rest will be digital videos.
Q: Is all your work related to Hollywood films?
A: Derek: Yes, usually mainstream movies.
Scott: We like our work to be really accessible.
Q: Do you each create your own work too?
A: Derek: I'll do something on commission every once in a while.
Scott: We keep our commission work separate. I would say the past two years, it's been very steady, working collaboratively.
Q: Do you make a lot of work based on scenes from movies?
A: Scott: A lot of the work seems to come from that.
Derek: Not just special scenes or stills but the overall feel of the movie. These projects are kind of performative. There are documentaries of these performances when we project movie scenes onto ourselves so we can take the place of the characters.
Q: Oh, yeah. I see you as the Ghostbusters in that print.
A: Scott: Imitation is a big part of this work. I always think about when I was growing up, playing Ghostbusters with my friends. So there's a big element of wanting to be like these characters. Who would not want to be like the Ghostbusters? Obviously, we can't be in that movie. This is a way of making it happen.
Derek: We always try to make two of each piece. So in this one, I'm Ferris Bueller, and in this other one, Scott is Ferris Bueller, so we can both be the coolest guy in the movie. It's kind of a play on the lead actor and the supporting actor.
Q: Do you make work that comments on other media besides movies?
A: Scott: It's been movies for a long time. It's not just movies; we also make work associated with Hollywood in general, the ideas of fame.
Derek: And fandom and celebrity.
Scott: The different cultures associated with film. When most people hear or read our artists' statement, they find it interesting. It's a way to create an identity about the work, to give it more of a personality.
Editor's note: "You've Got a Friend in Me as Performed by Randy Newman: New Works by the Lumiere Brothers" will be on view at the Indi Go Artist Co-op, 9 E. University Ave., C, through Aug. 23. For information, visit http://www.thelumierebrothers.com.