Jobe Burns—Concrete Objects.
Jamel Duane Alatise: Hey Jobe.
Jobe Burns: Hey.
JDA: Tell us a bit about yourself?
JB: I’m twenty-three, developer and maker of products using digital processes through traditional process––in design as well.
A combination of digital process, traditional process, and fusing them two together to create a new aesthetic.
JDA: On that very same note - you’re not just like a multimedia artist using different materials, exploring materiality?
JB: It’s more so about processing how I can find a link between something that’s traditional that feels still very artisan, but feels also kinda outdated with the way things are going – so it’s finding a way of how can we use this new technology to create classic feel-pieces, I suppose, with a modern twist.
JDA: Do you wanna comment a little bit on you and Sam Ross, and how that came about? You guys have mutual friends anyway?
JB: That was kinda like.. very organic. Yeah we have mutual friends. We would just say hello, but nothing to hold any conversation.
And then he saw some work that I had made, he hit me up, and we met up for a few conversations and spoke about our ideas and different products, what we wanted to do and then it kinda just developed naturally into “yeah - we’ll make some products” and then we continued to use concrete, and Concrete Objects was born.
It’s very organic the way its all come together. And now it’s ended in a company that works day to day and it’s good. The company’s a company now, it’s very organic the way its gone. We’ve got a lot more stuff to come.
Coming from small products now to small-scale furniture. We wanna focus on spaces as well as opposed to just individual products.
JDA: Like the actual environment?
JB: Yeah, but still keeping it as Luxury/Art opposed to just purely functional.
It still sits in that luxury realm and we focus a lot on materials, actual process.
Everything’s handmade so it holds that value and weight, so theres no replicas, everything is an original, every piece is individual.
JDA: You’ve spoken a lot about being processed based as well. Does that mean you ever take your eyes off a product?
JB: In experimenting, yeah. I try not to start with the product, although, as of recently I try to think of a product/idea directly.
I like exploring and I suppose Concrete Objects is a company that exists through my research.
And the products that I actually want to make is still undergoing; I wanna focus more on time and experience as I believe what we’re trying to do is - as independent creatives - free up our time––it’s not all about money.
If someone offered you £40,000 per year doing something you like but you had the opportunity to earn £30,000 doing something you loved, you’d pick the £30,000 right? You create more time for yourself and it frees up time to do what we really enjoy.
I want to focus on product that improves experience and improves time in just our miscellaneous activities throughout the day. Like in integrated systems, an integrated product that works seamlessly without even having to think.
So you’ll get on a bike and not have to think about how to ride the bike. I want to create a product like that.
JDA: Yeah - Its just intuitive. Okay so also, moving this quickly on—
JB: Open Forum.
JDA: Yeah – comment on that?
JB: The Open Forum… Again, its kind of tying it all back to the whole process and the idea that I want to create time. So what I’m going to be focusing on is how people – kind of stuck in this generation – see the hype of people initiating everything through social media.
I’m bringing it back to actual process and initiating ideas through a process. So integrating my process through digital rendering, 3D printing, traditional casting and moulding, and then exploring through materials and textures.
That’s the process that I wanna offer over the three days. So people’ll come in with an idea, and I’m going to put them through a process and at the end of the three days, they’ll finish with a product that they’ve come in with as an idea.
JDA: So a workshop?
JB: It’s not a workshop how you see larger companies do workshops, like starting with a shoe and customising it or whatever, it’s not relatable in a sense – people can’t just do that and think ‘oh yeah, I’m a designer now’ because its cool.
And its not relatable, I’m literally starting with an idea.
You come in with an idea and you leave with a product. Within relativity, any material you want.
It’s more so about bringing it back to the artisan, bringing it back to the process as apposed to being about the online front.
Although I believe social media is important, I still wanna promote process over social.
JDA: And over product ultimately.
JB: Yeah, yeah exactly. You might not even come out with a product, you may come out with a piece of art.
JDA: Or even just an understanding of how to generate a piece of art.
JB: Exactly, and bringing a new appreciation for what you’ve purchased – you might not, but it brings appreciation to the work that we make as artists and as designers, so it brings a new level of appreciation to what you consume.
JDA: Word, word, yeah. When you actually understand the process a bit more.
JDA: So, also last few questions.. why the focus on material, like, where did that kinda begin, materiality for you?
JB: I don’t even know, I mean it’s kinda just an innate attraction, it draws me to things, textures and materials are just something that I feel makes up a product and it gives a product a new type of language.
If you have one product and you have the same product in two different types of material, the language and understanding is completely switched.
That’s how we create language, through materials, or colours or textures. So I guess that’s what I’m just drawn to naturally and the making of objects. Materials.
JDA: When you say language, you don’t necessarily mean spoken?
JB: No, I mean visual, sensory language. How its feels, you know, you could feel––you could see through things – both look clear, one’s glass, one’s plastic, they’ve both got two different experiences.
It’s kinda like, as a maker you have to focus on materials cause initially you work with time, you work against time – it’s like ‘ah, what can I make that’s quick, easy to use,’ so I used plaster or concrete. That developed that language.
As time progresses I can delve into more materials. We’re starting to use resin, its a lot more of a thought out, detailed process but then I might use something like marble.
Eventually, you know there’s a lot more time, it takes a lot more energy, it’s a lot more of a thought out process. Materials is like an innate and necessary thing for me.
JDA: Dope, that’s awesome. Any final thoughts?
JB: On anything? Or?
JDA: Yeah, or like well, what I actually ask people is like, ‘Yo if you can speak to the whole world right now whats the one thing you would say?’ Like right now in this moment.
JB: I mean for me right now it’s about taking my time.
I think there’s such a huge pressure that comes with feeling like you have to accomplish certain things or you set yourself goals and for me, I’ve done that multiple times and I’ve ended up on a different route and feel like I haven’t met that goal and I think naturally the pressure just becomes so weighted.
I started to feel a lot of pressure, uni, work, personal work, surviving. I’ve started to realise now that I’m having to slow down, fine tune the journey, manage my time, organisational as well, organisation is such a big thing in anything - small scale, large scale.
I mean I’m trying to run three separate projects now, it’s a lot of work and the only way I can do it is organisation. So I feel whatever you’re doing, just organise it - being a scatty yute is not good.
JDA: Haha word, thank you. Oh one more question, one more question. When can I have some Concrete Objects?
See images here:
Transcribed by Kayla May Cosgrove
Edited by Jamel Duane Alatise
Photography by Jamel Duane Alatise