The Dutch art collective Antistrot — seven artists who create single works together — just opened their first American solo show, at the Sara Tecchia Roma New York Gallery. The Bryant Park Project visited the group's studio last week to record the artists finishing their latest giant canvas.
The members of Antistrot found each other while studying illustration at the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam. They bonded over a shared dislike of their professor (Professor Strot — hence the name Antistrot) and of what they perceived as their peers' restrictive views of art-making. As a joke, the members began to draw, simultaneously, as a group.
Their first collaborative project, a cut-and-paste-style magazine, shows a strong graphic style coupled with what they call a rejection of morality. Galleries and then museums began to invite them to show their unusual work.
Ten years later, most members are in their early 30s, and Antistrot still draws and paints as a group. They work standing next to each other, "attacking" the canvas from all sides. The paintings are inspired by obscure comics, fashion magazines, old photography books and other sources, all reimagined in each member's distinct style.
As the work comes together, the artists discuss current events, pop culture, things that piss them off, other artists — anything that interests them. They say the conversations become a part of the creative process. The magic of Antistrot is that each piece is a surprise, not only to the viewers but to the artists themselves.