boys:

Oscar Torrans

14 Feb 2017

A couple of years ago when I was doing some club work I asked Joshua Gordon(who'd been spending a lot of nights on our couch in Pim Street) if he knew any designers around Dublin who weren't so ''designery''. He linked me back - http://oscartorrans.tumblr.com - a sick timeline of personal drawings and graphics that seemed to play with a kind of cheeky schoolboy aesthetic. Pizza, weed leaves, yokes and boobs as well as posters for raves and DIY tshirts. Safe to say I got my wish and more - I met a special sicko who I learned a lot of what we see in Pussys from. 

We met and ended up collaborating on some big club stuff before I asked him to do the visuals for ''this thing I was working on called Pussys''. I didn't really know what it was at the time but I thought ''it would come out soon and we'd be doing it monthly''. Did we fuck. Fast forward 18 months and here we are with Issue 1. Interviews, Art stuff, Stories, Culture shit, a collection of Tshirts and Hoodies, a Retrospective of Queer rave flyers, and a site by ItsOkay. What the fuck else? Most of it designed by Oscar and all of it packaged in his original identity - After all that it felt only right to interview him about the whole thing. Love ya Oscar! <3

Where did you grow up? what were you into?

I grew up in Bray drawing and watching WWF/cartoons/anything with laugh track. And when I was a bit older I was into graffiti/skateboarding/metal/Hiphop.

When did you decide you were gonna be a designer?

Looking back it’s very predictable I ended up in design, both of  my brothers are designers. In primary school I made comics and zines to sell at school fairs. I’d spend my time redrawing band and skate logos and when I was in bands I was more concerned with how our album would look rather than making the songs to go into it.

I was obsessively into graffiti and being a graphic designer is the logical step when you decide to sell out from that. When I realized you could put photos into Microsoft paint I made my own posters for my bedroom - A4 collages of Slipknot, Spongebob, D12 and The Simpsons but making a living from that had never crossed my mind as a possibility.

''I was more concerned with how our album would look rather than making the songs to go into it.''

Where did you find your alternative culture?

Are your referring to that picture of me in the system of a down t-shirt and Korn poster you found...

Like I said my school was pretty liberal it wasn’t that out there alt at the time to dress like that...Nu-metal was king.

This was the beautiful time when Snoop and Dre appeared in Limp Bizkit videos Eminem's Anger Management tour featured Papa Roach, Xibit, Marilyn Manson, Korn  and DMX. I listened to my older brothers music from young age and was more into skateboarding than football maybe that informed my lifestyle.

You either wore a Slipknot hoodie with long hair or an umbro tracksuit doused in a gallon of Brylcreem and Joop.

''You either wore a Slipknot hoodie with long hair or an umbro tracksuit doused in a gallon of Brylcreem and Joop.''

There's a charming kinda ladishness to your work. But then you’ve always always been v up for the weird queer stuff I've thrown at you - where does that come from do you think?

A lot of what we’ve worked on together in the past is in the realm of the club world. The best clubs I’ve been too are gay clubs and dance music and club culture has it roots in the underground gay scene.

It’s not something that phases me, I have gay friends. I’ve heard other people of similar age in Ireland talk about it who went to Catholic schools it does seem to be a bit  more alien to them, not in a homophobic way but just something they don’t fully understand.

I went to a multi denominational 'Educate Together' primary school - one of only 2 in the country at the time - which was mix of people from different backgrounds and religions with no overarching religious teachings. Secondary school was also pretty progressive we had openly gay teachers who were most people favorites. There was still stigma surrounding it but you cop on as you get older.

Yeah Ireland did become the first country that voted for gay marriage by popular vote last year but we're still uptight about sexuality and gender roles compared to some European and American cities; and The Church still has a claw on Ireland. We’re breaking away bit by bit with Repeal the 8th movement and marriage referendum; But we should be fighting harder for total separation of church and state.

"I’ve heard other people of similar age in Ireland talk about it who went to Catholic schools it does seem to be a bit more alien to them, not in a homophobic way but just something they don’t fully understand."

Any comments on like gender/sexuality in youth culture today?

In regards to gender roles I think Ireland is being lead by young people.

It’s usually considered a concern of feminist and LQBT people but a discussion is starting to happen around the role it plays in male suicide in Ireland - young men feeling unable to fulfill an alpha role. Maybe now gender roles will be looked at more seriously as it’s no longer a fringe issue to a male-centric view.

In the 70’s my mother was told women don’t climb and to be careful about exercising as she might start to get muscles and that wouldn’t be very womanly of her…so we’ve at least come a long way since then. (s/o to Mary Robinson)

Hopefully we can reach a point where nothing is expected of people other than to be themselves.

''In the 70’s my mother was told to be careful about exercising as she might start to get muscles that wouldn’t be very womanly of her…so we’ve at least come a long way. (s/o to Mary Robinson).''

On designing Pussys

When you first approached me about the Pussys work almost a year ago it was just a loose idea. Unsure if it was going to be a nightclub or a magazine or a set of talks…it ended up being all of them. A rough idea was something that appealed to those who don’t subscribe to the male archetype - The Weirdboys, Queerboys, Loverboys & Ladgirls.

I had been finding it tough to grasp at a central point from which to work outward from for the identity.

The posters pasted around the city to start a buzz were taking the idea of challenging gender roles and projecting Pussys with the same bravado as a lads mags.

Appropriating the images you find in lads magazines and combining it with references from outsider culture from queers, artists, stoners, skaters, and generally what we were interested in.

The logo itself is subverting the word pussy and making it aggressive and proud I wanted it to look like it was saying “yea I’m a pussy so what I’ll still kick the shit out of you”.

"Appropriating the images you find in lads magazines and combining it with references from outsider culture from queers, artists, stoners, skaters, and generally what we were interested in."

Pilly Willy

The concept for Pilly Willy was awesome and taking the ethos of Pussys and combining it with the raw sexuality and hilarity of the flyers from the underground Irish gay clubs of the 70’s-00’s was a lot of fun.

Using badges of Irish machismo like scramblers, tribal tattoos, sportswear and re-contextualizing them through rave and gay culture influenced by the flyers.

An interesting thing about the use of boy racer culture throughout, was finding out that it was something you and the other lads in your school in Galway were very into growing up. Also pointing out how campy the graphics are..

"Using badges of Irish machismo like scramblers, tribal tattoos, sportswear and re-contextualizing them through rave and gay culture influenced by the flyers."

Your stuff has loads of references to subculture(drug culture, rave culture etc); or when those things cross into pop culture. Where do you look for your weird references?

I like referencing preexisting iconography because of the weight they carry, particularly if there is a duality in the meaning.

The identity I did for the Pilly Willy exhibition was a dream as the Mitsubishi logo is my favourite symbol ever. So once I heard the name for the show there was no question what it was going to be.

The Mitsi is a symbol for an iconic automotive company and also the international symbol for ecstasy and rave culture.

In secondary school people who were trying to be hard would have it tipex’d on their bag sometimes with XTC in the 3 points even though they  had never tried it. Come to think of it a lot of my personal work comes from what people tipex’d onto their school bags.. band logos, mitsis, weed leaves, dicks and boobs.

I remember very little from class but I guess they sunk in. They immediately grab people as both funny and nostalgic. Maybe I should do an exhibition of them - ‘The iconography of the Irish public school system’ haha

I love stumbling across the obscure and overlooked in the everyday and highlighting it. I made a tshirt with a roached dart ticket and that was probably when i first started doing it in my work. I like a reference that only a specific group will get.

"Come to think of it a lot of my personal work comes from what people tipex’d onto their school bags.. band logos, mitsis, weed leaves, dicks and boobs."

A big chunk of your work is club visuals - flyers, posters, branding. What is it about that dance music-design relationship that you like so much?

My friends and I got really into dance music in around 2005 listening to trance and hard house then graduating to electro, techno and house later on. I’m 26 now so it’s been over a decade, from spending nights in crappy souped up cars listening to Lisa Lashes to Berghain. So I feel pretty comfortable with clubs and clubnights as its been a big part of my world for so long.

I remember someone saying to me my that my posters were very weird but the whole thing is soo weird! 600 people in a dark basement at 3am listening to pounding techno off their heads is very bizarre and out of place when compared to the rest of life. I think the poster should reflect that.

You always have a good feel for little crews doing shit around da world. Who are you excited by?

It’s hard to narrow that down, I’ll just keep it short with some locals. Grape Magazine are great really like what their doing. Myself and Simon did the District identity and website and it’s been cool to see how far the have come and are setting a good standard. The new CLU EP and videos are sick. There’s a load of other stuff but I'd be here all day listing them off.

If you could do the visuals(artwork/merch/whatever) for a superstar who would it be?

Aphex Twin or Kanye…or maybe Enya. I ended up in a rabithole last night on the internet exploring her role in hip-hop and R'n’b. She was sampled by The Fugees and Mario Winans for their biggest tracks and also by the likes of Lil B and Yung Lean.

Its funny to think that a Celtic singer who lives in a castle in Killiney is influencing  Lil B and Yung Lean.

''Its funny to think that a Celtic singer who lives in a castle in Killiney is influencing Lil B and Yung Lean.''

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