In The Frame: Rob Lowe
Rob Lowe, also known as Supermundane, is a graphic artist whose signature geometric images have been published and exhibited worldwide. He works out of a vibrant studio in Havelock Walk, an artists’ community in South East London.
Cubitts are big fans of sesquipedalian words, like supermundane. Why did you choose to call yourself that?
I had to look sesquipedalian up! I chose Supermundane quite a few years ago now. My real name is Rob Lowe so, especially growing up in the 80s, I have had a life of people saying, “like the actor?". I wanted something to hide behind, and I thought the word sounded fun and memorable. It means beyond the world, not really boring, as some people think.
You’re a graphic designer by trade. How did you get into the industry?
I'm trained in graphic design but I haven't done it commercially for at least 5 years now. I still design things for myself but I spend most of my time making graphic art now. I've never had much of a plan and I hadn't heard of graphic design whilst at school (in the 80s). I was only really good at art at school so I wasn't sure what I could do. Luckily I ended up on a Graphic Communication course and it all went from there.
What’s the strangest job you’ve ever had?
I designed an album cover for Juliette Lewis (the Hollywood actress, now singer). That was quite weird as it involved me visiting her hotel room on my own to collect topless photos of her (and the rest of the band). We would spend a lot of time on the phone. She would ring me up at odd times and usually start the conversation with, "I'm so excited Rob!!!"
We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re endlessly inspired by the Cubitt brothers and the architecture of our neighbourhood, King’s Cross. Where does your inspiration come from? Are there any people, or places, you’d count among your muses?
I take inspiration from everything. I feel very lucky to live in London and have access to so many amazing art galleries. I also go to gigs a lot, generally in smaller venues. I'm a big music fan and that must influence me. I'm also a book fan – my flat is full of them. All these things come together to have an effect on my work. I’ve just finished reading a book called Modern Love by Constance DeJong, published in 1971. I bought it from the Camden Arts Centre – mainly because of the cover, but it turned out to be a wonderful book. It plays around with structure in a way I haven’t come across before, in particular using repetition of paragraphs.
What’s your favourite place in London? And why?
I started swimming at Tooting Bec Lido last year and swam through the winter. It was the first time I did this and the pool isn't heated so I experienced swimming in water colder than I ever have before (the coldest being 0.5 degrees). I go three or four times a week and it's such a wonderful place that changes everyday, whether it's wintry sunrises or lovely sunny summer days or even cold, rainy days; it's a place that always makes me happy.