PWBC lifer and Wayward Gallery honcho James Edson showcases London skate life in new photo show and zine at our 71a gallery.

PWBC lifer and Wayward Gallery honcho James Edson showcases London skate life in new photo show and zine at our 71a gallery.

Poodles. Carving knives. Bucket hats. Neon lights. Just some sights you can expect to see in new photography zine and exhibition Persian Rugs, launching at Huck’s gallery 71a, Thursday, May 8, 6-9pm.

A synthesis of personalities and places, Persian Rugs is the third installment of a zine Wayward Gallery owner James Edson has been making to document his friends and the places they’ve been.

The show will reflect the DIYness of zine culture and the spontaneity of skateboarding, layering up high-quality prints with lo-fi black-and-white Xeroxes and Super8 projections to create the impression of “a zine thrown at a wall”. Staying tight within the crew, Persian Rugs also sees the addition of work from close friends including PWBC skater Snowy and skate photographer Joe Buddle.

We caught up with Edson to find out more.

What is your background and how has it shaped what you do? 
I’m from Sheffield and I’ve been in London for fifteen years. PWBC comes from the house we all lived in, in Brixton. Nine of us lived in a three-bedroom house so it was nicknamed the ‘Palace’ because it was a shit hole. There have been four different houses but were all the same kind of thing, and now Lev and those guys are in a house around Waterloo. I guess that’s where PWBC came from… we were all in a silly gang. Then the Wayward Gallery came about and I’ve had it for five years now. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. I got it through a friend – it was their bike workshop before. He just called me up one day and asked if I wanted to take it over because he was moving out and I’d mentioned it to him a few months earlier that I wanted a space like it. I took it over with two other people at first but we didn’t really get along on ideas, so they fucked off. I carried on and here we are.

What was the progression of the Persian Rugs zine?
I had a show two years ago, which gathered together work from the last fifteen years and was just weird, whatever, all kinds of stuff. This show is based on a zine I originally made two issues of before called Persian Rugs. When I was asked by 71a gallery to do the show it just seemed like a good way to tie it all together. I’ve been talking about doing a third issue for fucking ages and never done it. This installment focuses more on PWBC – documenting a mixture of friends and the places we have been. The zine to accompany it is going to be a bit different to the other issues as they were quite text heavy, whereas this is a visual documentation of the show. The general concept of the physical show is a zine thrown at a wall, with High quality prints on top of really lo-fi black and white Xeroxes.

Inspirations?
Friends really… and skating. That’s about it.

What do you look for when you shoot photographs? Is it natural ‘here today gone tomorrow’ documentary or more posed?
A bit of everything but mainly interesting people, whether they are visually interesting or just generally interesting. People that I like, or people that I don’t like, or just anyone.

Where did the name Persian Rugs come from?
It’s cockney rhyming slang for drugs apparently, haha.

Are there any anecdotes behind the photos? What the hell is Chewy doing in that knife image?
The Chewy photo is in Sicily – he’s sat at the breakfast table with a big tub of weed and a fucking carving knife! It was really funny and I don’t know what he was doing. Other than that it was just meant to be more behind the scenes from skateboarding without skateboarding, but there has ended up being some in there, just because there’s a couple of photos I really liked of Lucien and Karim skating.

I also wanted to include work I liked by some close friends including Snowy, Tom Rum Coke and Joe Buddle. I’m going to blow up one piece each of theirs for the show and put one in the zine as well. I’d like to have put more in but it just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to, plus it costs a lot of money to print. I just wanted to include something by other people and offer them a platform to continue working.  

Do you think skateboarding is ever close-minded – especially towards living in London and being creative?
Yeah totally – it’s full of pricks. But you’ve got to do what you got to do haven’t you? It’s better than being a Northern Stella drinking fighter. Fuck it, I like what I do. If you listened to all the negatives then you’d never do anything. It feels like some people want other people to do nothing and be stuck in the same little shit world. You’ve got to open your eyes a little bit. There are a lot of good people as well obviously, but there are definitely a lot of pricks.

Come down to see Persian Rugs at 71a Thursday May 8, 6-9pm. No guestlist, but when it’s full it’s full.