I WENT TO BILBAO AND ALL I GOT WAS AN ÄTAKONTU T´SHIRT
Ibai and Sara, you have a good time, don’t you?
Sometimes, but most of the time we’re just having a good laugh.
How and where was Ätakontu born?
Ätakontu was born more or less mid-2008, a Saturday we didn’t know what to wear. The disappointment of going shopping and not finding anything we liked made us think of creating our new shirt, “Virgen.”
And the name – where does it come from?
The name is a basque word that is frequently used by the marines of the Biscayan coast. The translation would more or less be “it looks like…” and it is used in cases such as “Ätakontu bobue zarala” = “It looks like you are stupid.”
Describe to the general public what you do, what you like and what you don’t like.
Our project is based on silkscreen prints (serigraphs). Limited editions of our silkscreened and prepared by us at our Bilbao workshop from beginning to end items of clothing, for people who are looking for something special at an affordable price. As for what we do and don’t like… We like art, music, summer, skating, beer, reality shows, religious images… and we don’t like people who don’t have a sense of humour as well as politicians.
That all seems really nice, but I still don’t get it. What is this all about the limits of Art/Not Art that you say you move among on you web page?
Both of us have degrees in Fine Arts and the project started with the moving of part of our graphic work to textile support. Art/No Art? When you take a silkscreen that was made to be seen in an exhibit and you turn it around and print on a commercial outlet like a t-shirt. The eyes that look at that piece of clothing are not the same. We ask ourselves if that t-shirt is art. All of this is Andy Warhol’s fault.
You would then say that art has its limits? (Let’s not get too philosophical, please)
Hahaha, yeah, with think that art has its limits, but what does not have its limits are all the people that have been set up in the art world thanks to connections, because there are quite some things in art shows out there…
I get the impression that you don’t only sell t-shirts and sweatshirts, but an entire concept as well.
Of course, we don’t only sell an item of clothing, we sell Ätakontu. For us it is a way of life, as they say now, a “lifestyle,” haha. We are Ätakontu from when we wake up to when we go to sleep and our clients take a bit of us with every item of clothing.
You have come up with the best name for a collection that I have ever seen: El Obispado de Zurriola (“The Bishopric of Zurriola”). Explain yourselves.
As artists we like to give our pieces titles. The truth is that it is very easy to explain, the print for the new collection is based on crosses and geometric arrangements; the Bishopric is because of the crosses, and the geometric arrangements remind us of little beach huts, for which we decided on Zurriola (San Sebastian’s beach), thus giving the title an elegant touch, haha. We’re that simple.
How did you experience your welcoming at places like the Ego in Madrid?
For us it was an incredible experience, it was the first time that we presented ourselves to something fashion-related, in addition to it being with a collection of cotton shirts with silkscreen prints on them. We met very interesting people that we have met up with in different places and with whom we have good relationships.
It’s surprising that you’re not incredibly expensive.
Our product is focused towards young people who in principle don’t have great spending power, but who want to dress differently or who appreciate the work behind the item of clothing of a young designer. That’s why we prefer to sell 10 shirts at 25€ than 2 at 75€. This supposes earning less and working more, but like this we reach more people.
Do you have nightmares with Fruit of the Loom?
Fruit of the Loom? We have never worked with that brand, we like to work with organic cotton t-shirts, tencel… brands that respect the environment as much as possible and who have well-tailored shirts. Actually, the nightmares we have are thanks to bills, freelance workers, and not knowing if Ylenia will be on the second season of Gandia Shore.
What do you think of souvenir t-shirts, such as the “Benidorm Beach “ ones?
We are fans of them, they are counted among the things we like, they are inspirational.
And of Athletic’s t-shirt with red stains?
Horrendous! With all possible respect for Dario Urzay.
Are you staying in Bilbao or are you thinking of moving somewhere bigger?
For now we’re staying in Bilbao, they treat us well here, and here we have all the necessary infrastructure to be able to produce.
Ätakontu is now working on…
On the new collection and we have started a collaboration with Vans, so this summer you’ll see us hanging out with them
What drawing would you make for La Monda? You can even make it and all…
We would make you a souvenir image of what would be for us the La Monda paradise, based on palm trees, coconuts, cocktails, guys in loincloths, big-breasted blonds, hahaha
We as this question to all the people we interview at La Monda. We give you the first part of a sentence and you have to complete it. So… “the artistic expression as a way of defending…”
The artistic expression as a way of defending… our daily bread.
Interview: Ane Guerra