Gregor Koerting is one half of the Shanghai based illustration and design duo known as IdleBeats, who specialise in the production of hand-illustrated art works and screen-prints. IdleBeats hold a central part in the music and arts scene of Shanghai, regularly hosting workshops in their studio, and hand screen-printing gig posters. We caught five minutes with Gregor, who took the time to tell us a little about how he got into screen-printing, his favourite works, and what kind of music gets him going.
S247: First off, where are you from, and when and why did you come to Shanghai?
Gregor: I´m originally from Dresden in Germany, and my wife and I came to Shanghai about four years ago. There is a small art school in Dresden where my wife studied arts, but after she finished her degree it was difficult to find a job in Germany. So we were looking for options internationally and eventually ended up in Shanghai.
'Open Studio' - Poster for IdleBeats’ first open studio day and print art exhibition
S247: Where did you learn screen printing? What kind of artsy background do you have?
Gregor: Back in Germany I did more wall painting and illustrations. However, I also created gig posters for local punk rock bands and just photo copied them. I first got in touch with screen prints at a studio of some friends of mine in Dresden – but really, I was just hanging around there lending a hand from time to time, and mostly stealing their time talking nonsense. Anyhow, it gave me an idea of the process. That helped a lot when I was attending a workshop in Japan three years ago, where I printed my first batches of gig posters on my own.
S247: How did you and Nini (other half of IdleBeats) meet and set up your studio?
Gregor: When I came to Shanghai, I was already into doing gig posters. After the workshop in Japan I was keen to stick with the silkscreen printing, but I couldn’t find a studio where I was able to do it myself. One day my wife found an advert for a workshop held by a studio named IdleBeats.
This was where I met Nini first; we were chatting about our future plans and decided to help each other. From then on, we met up regularly to do some printing under very modest circumstances. Step by step we got our facilities together and the studio turned into a full-time project.
Gig Poster for Duck Fight Goose, Gig Poster for Flat-stock V
Boys Climbing Ropes, X is Y, Ho-Tom the Conqueror
S247: So what are your favourite artists or gigs that you have done prints for?
Gregor: My favourite ongoing project is the poster series for the Sub-Culture parties at Shelter. Not only due to the posters Nini and I created for it; every month a different artist is providing the artwork for the poster we’re printing, it’s exciting to get in touch with other creatives. And depending on the different approaches of each artist, we always have to find new ways to transform the original piece into a batch of hand-pulled screen prints.
Apart from that, I love the Wooden Shjips and their side project Moon Duo from San Francisco. They’re a psy-lo-fi rock band who I did a few posters for. There’s also The Fever Machine, a great stoner-rock band from Shanghai, for whom I did the cover artwork for their latest album release.
'SVBCVLT' - Gig Poster for Moon Duo in Israel
Poster for Shelter's monthly Sub-Culture nights
S247: What do you usually listen to in order to get the creative juices flowing?
Gregor: While drawing or printing I generally like it dark and psychedelic. But apart from Psychedelic Rock, Post Punk and Black and Death Metal, I also like electronic and experimental music. A sub-genre called Witch House gave me a lot inspiration last year. It is a very slow, gothy mixture of everything what the underground music has given birth to over the last 30 years.
S247: What's your favourite part of the day?
Gregor: I love to be at the studio in the morning when it’s still quiet and I’m making my plans for the day whilst having a coffee. I also enjoy the late night printing sessions, though.
S247: Promote yourself. Shamelessly.
Gregor: It’s always worth popping by our studio to check out the environment we’re creating all that stuff in. We’re on 962 Changle Lu, Bldg. 2, Apt. 302. You can see all the prints we did in the past on our website, along with a blog about our current projects and happenings. You’ll also find some general information on IdleBeats and on the workshops we offer.
'In Love with Oblivion' - Crystal Stilts Gig Poster Living in Oblivion' - The Fever Machine Gig Poster
'Dragon Year' - Six screen print with multiple layers of half-transparent colours generating a psychedelic scene