Behind Sunday Mornings at the River, an interview with Theo & Will

Uncategorized June 27, 2015

A while back, William Pitt and Theo Acworth interviewed us for an art school project. We talked about the past, the present and the future of Sunday Mornings at the River, about roadtrips, daydreams and inspirations.

What’s the back story, how was Sunday Mornings formed?

It made sense really, we share a love for photography, people, stories, travelling and creating. We were both working on separate initiatives after we graduated art school together. So one fine Sunday morning in April we had a cup of tea in the kitchen and decided to combine our strength. SMatR lets us combine all the things we love and makes it so much easier to chat up nice young bearded photographers ;)

What are you hoping to gain with Sunday Mornings (I hate that kind of question), but yeh, your initiatives, if you get what I mean?

We hope to meet some nice like-minded people on the way with whom we are able to drink a cup of coffee in our mobile bookstore.

What is your process for deciding what to do publish? Selecting artists to work with etc. 

The photographers we select are people we’ve been following on the Internet or people we know via art school. We write down the names of people whose work we love and put some of their images together. This is when the hardest part begins; we have to make the pictures of different photographers work together. It takes a lot of rearranging and pouting when we have to remove a photographer all together because their work is great but doesn’t work with the other material we have collected. When we have created a flow we like, we contact the photographers and cross our fingers. We try not to use our brain too much when it comes to selecting work for SMatR. That was the thing we hated the most when we attended art school. You always had to rationalize and put your finger on things. So we just decided to stop doing that when SMatR was born and trust our instincts. We do seem to have a tendency to publish pictures that deal with escapism and freedom in a way and this is something we’d love to explore some more in our upcoming zines.

What happens in a day of the life of running Sunday Mornings? Is there always a ton of things to do?

It involves roaming the Internet for hours. It involves clicking on pictures, more clicking on pictures, writing, designing and brainstorming. We take trips to the woods and come up with new things to do during walks. We take loads of pictures ourselves and we talk to people. Talking to others in the same field is a great way of finding out what they are missing in the mainstream art world and figuring out whether those things are something worth exploring for SMatR. We also daydream a lot about the future of SMatR, what would happen with it if we would hit the jackpot and stuff.

How is Zine #1 going? I see you posted recently that village bookstore is stocking it, i’l have to check that out.

Yeah, definitely check that out. Village is a great little bookstore and we’re happy to be a part of it. Zine #1 is travelling all over the world, and we are still getting bouncy just thinking about that. It’s an awesome feeling to print something in a small town in Holland and watch it end up at Claire Cotrell’s bookshop (just taking the opportunity to name drop a little if you don’t mind haha) in Los Angeles or on someone’s shelf in Dublin. People send us pictures of themselves with our tote from all over the world as well, it’s great fun to see the faces of the people we reach. We sold little over sixty copies at the moment (we run an edition of a hundred), which surprised the hell out of us since we are no marketing miracle wonders. We mainly focus on the creation process, but we love the printed end result so much that it is easy for us to talk about it to anyone who wants to hear it. That kind of enthusiasm sticks and people start discovering us through their friends or social media. The internet is a wonderful tool. You can keep your integrity, keep total creative control and slowly watch a big pile of zines turn into a small pile.

Would you say that working in self publishing has influenced your personal work, and aspirations for photography?

Definitely. I think we always knew the ‘art world’ as we knew it while attending art school, wasn’t for us. So once we graduated self-publishing was the only way to go really. We think it is very important to have complete creative control so we do everything ourselves. From curating and designing to wrapping the zines and writing thank you notes to our ‘customers.’ We publish our own photographs and writing ourselves as well. The Internet makes it possible to reach people who like what you do. It takes a lot of time and commitment, but we really believe one can have full creative control and still make name for oneself.

What do you think about collaborations with other publishers or collectives of artists? I suppose your almost doing this by making the book store.

The entire zine is a collaboration really. We think it’s fine if you want to be a suffering artist on an attic somewhere, cut off from the outside world, but it’s not for us. We need the work of others to grow in aspects of our own lives. Meeting nice people and collaborating with them is an essential part of SMatR, and of zine-making in general.

Do you get a load of submissions for the book store? Enough that you have to edit down? Nice idea by the way. And that you have a van (mobile bookstore) to drive about in.

To be honest, nope, not yet. We both work a fulltime job. The time we have left we spent onSMatR. But we just started out with the bookshop idea and haven’t done a lot of publicity things for it yet. Reaching people is the hardest part when you’re in self publishing. It costs a lot of time to get an audience. Or perhaps we’re just way too shy, but we hope to get more submissions soon!

Where are you heading with Sunday Mornings?

We’re currently working on selecting and publishing artists in our shop and we’re planning on filming a documentary that we won’t spoil too much about yet. We’ll be moving to a new office soon and we’re going to share a house in order to be as committed as we can and make the entire Sunday morning coffee sessions easier. We’re also working on a guerrilla exhibition in the city centre and there are solid plans for a second edition of our zine. So you could say we’re heading in pretty sweet directions.

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