Tin & Ed: “We come in peace”.

Tin & Ed: “We come in peace”.

Tin & Ed create art that lives in a borderless dimension. A mind blowing art and design duo, they work between New York and their hometown of Melbourne, Australia, in what they call "parallel lives in parallel universes". Exploring ways that nature, technology and people connect, their work takes many forms like recent exhibits at the Liu Haisu Art Museum, Shanghai, Artscape Cape Town and the Sydney Opera House, or projects with clients including Apple, Thames & Hudson, Nike, Vice and Tourism Victoria. We spoke with Tin & Ed on creative life in New York, a few favorite spots in the city and embracing the unknown.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

We both grew up in inner city Melbourne. Fitzroy and Albert Park. Ed was born in Melbourne, I was born in a small city in the Mekong Delta, South of Saigon in Vietnam, my family left when I was one.

ON YOUR MOVE TO NEW YORK

We travel a lot but have never lived overseas. We love Melbourne and still call it home but we needed to take a leap into the unknown to continue to challenge ourselves creatively. We’ve been making trips to New York for the past 10 years, they were getting longer and longer and finally it made sense to set up shop. We’ve been here for almost two years now, we flew in with the solar eclipse in 2017. We still work with Australian clients, we like to think we’re based in both cities, living parallel lives in parallel universes.

ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NEW YORK

We’re still in awe of New York, we feel like the new kids on the block here. The energy of the city is inspiring, bewildering, confronting, surreal, it’s a really wild and funny place. For us, New York feels really familiar and comfortable but also completely foreign and alien, it’s a place of extremes and contradictions.

ON WINDOW SEAT OR AISLE

The middle seat! Just kidding, we both prefer the window seat, we have to take turns!

Top: Large scale physical sculpture for Nike AF-1 Battle Force by Tin & ED. Bottom: Tin & Ed studio space. Images courtesy Tin & Ed.

ON NEW YORK CITY AS A MOVIE CHARACTER

New York is all about diversity so it’s difficult to reduce it to a single character or even a single film. We’ve been watching a lot of ‘High Maintenance’ recently, a show on HBO about a weed dealer who delivers to clients all over New York. Through his job he catches glimpses of all these different lives, it shows how diverse, funny and interconnected the city is. This comes close to representing what New York is like, but it’s still a tiny drop in the ocean of what is happening here. The smell of weed is also everywhere you go in New York!

ON CHALLENGES OF LIFE IN NEW YORK

The city can really knock you about so having good friends around you is super important. We already had a lot of close friends in New York so that really helped the transition. There are so many distractions in the city, it’s really easy to lose yourself and get completely swept off course. That’s what has been the most difficult to get use to, the sheer amount of things going on. You quickly learn you can’t do everything and if you try, you burn out really quickly! We both practice meditation daily, it’s extra important in New York to take care of yourself mentally and physically. In terms of work culture, everyone works really hard here, everyone has a side hustle, we’ve always been a bit like that in Melbourne so we fit in really well here!

Travel and creativity are interconnected because they are both about embracing the unknown. Travel forces you to leave your comfort zone and experience other cultures, ideas and people that you are unfamiliar with… For us creativity is the same”. 

ON HOW YOUR TRAVELS AND CREATIVITY CONNECT 

For us travel and creativity are interconnected because they are both about embracing the unknown. Travel forces you to leave your comfort zone and experience other cultures, ideas and people that you are unfamiliar with, that may scare you even. For us creativity is the same, we challenge ourselves to explore mediums, processes and technology that we are unfamiliar with. The unknown whether it be in travel or in work is a really creatively fertile space. Our recent trips to South Africa, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Mexico and Barbados have all fed into our work.

ON RECENT PROJECTS AND ‘WE COME IN PEACE’

We’re currently working on a number of large scale physical and digital installations. One of these projects called “We Come In Peace” is a digital artwork which takes the form of a virtual dance party. We launched the project at Design Indaba in Cape Town earlier this year. The work has grown and evolved and is part of World Pride month at Pier 17 in New York. For this project we’ve been 3D scanning artists, designers, chefs, writers, choreographers and friends from around the world, transforming them into digital organisms and then training their avatars to dance using a live game engine. The project is a celebration of our global creative community but also explores the possibility of a more symbiotic relationship between, us, nature and technology.

We’re also playing with how we can use live data streams in our work. We’re currently developing a strobe light that flashes when lightning strikes the earth. It’s only as accurate as our data stream, right now it only flashes when lightning hits America.

Top: Part of ‘We Come In Peace’, a digital installation that takes the form of a virtual dance party. Hit Tin & Ed’s web link at top of page for more. Bottom: Tin & Ed on stage at Design Indaba, 2019 in Cape Town.

ON CONNECTING WITH LOCAL CULTURE

New York is a city of happy accidents, small incidental moments can connect you with a new friend, collaborator or client, or even an experience or situation you never imagined you’d have. We both try to be as open and in the moment as possible so we don’t miss these opportunities.

ON SOMETHING UNIQUE TO NEW YORK’S CREATIVE CULTURE

It’s a culture of sharing. A lot of people sharing ideas, processes, resources and connections. That is what makes it really special.

You quickly learn you can’t do everything and if you try, you burn out really quickly! We both practice meditation daily, it’s extra important in New York to take care of yourself mentally and physically.

ON WHERE YOU FIND CREATIVE INSPIRATION

So much happens on the streets of New York, it’s a really inspiring place just walking around! There is also a lot of art to see, we try to visit galleries regularly, Mariam Goodman, Gladstone and David Zwirner in Chelsea. Gavin Brown Enterprises, Lyles & King and New Museum in Downtown.

ON FAVORITE FOOD & DRINK SPOTS

Dimes is our regular go to for food, coffee, tea and juice or when we need to get out of the studio. To celebrate we go to Cervos, they have great oysters, natural wine and an awesome lamb burger with white anchovies. Wu’s Wonton King for cheap traditional Cantonese, large tables with lazy susans, ducks in the window, seafood tanks. All three are walking distance from each other! Close to all these is Clandestino, our favourite place for a drink, we met Baz Luhrmann there once!

Top: Artwork for adidas x Pharrell supercolor by Tin & Ed. Bottom: EP & Single Cover Art for Roland Tings, ‘Each Moment a Diamond’. Images courtesy Tin & Ed.

ON ONE THING TO DO IF PASSING THROUGH NYC

The best thing to do in New York is just to walk around. For a quick cross section of downtown we would recommend walking down Grand St. It takes you through the Lower East Side, Chinatown, Little Italy, Soho and then Tribeca. You can see how quickly the city changes from block to block, the people, the shops, the apartments, the culture, a thousand lives and stories flashing before your eyes.

ON SOMETHING FROM AUSTRALIA YOU NEED A FIX OF IN NEW YORK  

Our friends bring us ‘Pizza Shapes’ when they come to visit!

ON NEW YORK IN ONE WORD

Transdimensional!

Playgrounds. Top: ‘Inflatable Futures: A Future of Infinite Possibilities’ is a series of four interactive sculptures that encourage kids to leap into the unknown. Bottom: The New York city playground. Images courtesy Tin & Ed.

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Nuggets in this interview

food and drink

Dimes, New York

"Dimes is our regular go to for food, coffee tea and juice or when we need to get out of the studio".

–Tin & Ed

food and drink

Cervos, New York

"To celebrate we go to Cervos, they have great oysters, natural wine and an awesome lamb burger with white anchovies".

–Tin & Ed

food and drink

Wu’s Wonton King, New York

"Wu’s Wonton King for cheap traditional Cantonese, large tables with lazy susans, ducks in the window".

–Tin & Ed

food and drink

Clandestino, New York

"Close to all these is Clandestino, our favourite place for a drink".

–Tin & Ed

inspiration

David Zwirner, New York

"We try to visit galleries regularly, Mariam Goodman, Gladstone and David Zwirner in Chelsea".

–Tin & Ed

inspiration

Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

"Mariam Goodman, Gladstone and David Zwirner in Chelsea. Gavin Brown Enterprises, Lyles & King and New Museum in Downtown".

–Tin & Ed

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