Shane Sakkeus is busy. Really fucking busy. As one third of design collective Trust Fun! Sakkeus battles psychedelic algorithms in the morning, produces a fashion/comic book hybrid in the afternoon and works for clients such as London Fashion Week and Topshop in the evening. On his lonesome he’s a publisher, art director and graphic designer whose current responsibilities include redesigning Oyster Magazine, rebranding Josh Goot and answering way too many questions from Pedestrian. We pestered Shane incessantly to get these answers back but now that we’re privy to his workload, the tardiness is completely understandable. Prepare to feel lazy everyone.

P: Hey Shane, what projects have you been working on lately? Oh man… as Trust Fun (with Jonathan Zawada) there’s Petit Mal #3. We launched it at London Fashion Week. The street party was shut down by an angry aging hipster who rounded up the 20-odd occupants of the local mosque to help convince us to shut it down. We’ve been working with the British Fashion Council on a Petit Mal-esque London Fashion Week publication. We’ll also soon start on a range of branding stuff for FW10 London Fashion Week. We are working on a (literally) huge job for Topshop in London, and also doing guest posts on their blog. Apparently we are also the Creative Directors of POP magazine’s website. We also just finished the rebranding of bloodorange in Elizabeth Bay.

And how about solo prjects? I’ve also just started on the relaunch and redesign of Oyster magazine. I recently designed the prints for Josh Goot’s SS10 London Fashion Week show. As you may have guessed I didn’t really sleep much in the lead-up to London. Now we’re plotting the prints for next season. I’ve been working on Josh’s rebranding as well as the branding for his new GOOT line and also his upcoming store. I just finished another issue of Stab magazine and I’ll start work on the next issue in a couple of hours. I’ve been trying as hard as I can to maintain a habit of regular posts on plus61blog.com. I recently upset a photographer with my poorly crafted writings so I now suffer from a kind of fear-based writer’s block. The blog is a supplement to plus61 which is a showcase of Aus/NZ photography that I co-publish. The next edition is currently underway. There’s also another secret project which is soon to come alive in L.A., a couple of smaller branding jobs locally and some t-shirt prints…so much shit really.

As you mentioned, you’ve Art Directed publications such as Dazed and Confused Australia, Follow Magazine, and Stab Magazine – what do you see as the Art Directors most important role? to display information coherently or to define a strong visual aesthetic? The most important role of an Art Director would be the job of gracefully walking the tightrope suspended between your own ego and that of everyone else. That means publishers, editors, writers, photographers, stylists, advertisers, and readers. One particular acrobatic faux pas saw me manipulate a photographer’s shoot to my own tastes. Although I maintain aesthetic righteousness, the fallout included legal threats and coverage in our national broadsheet. Another incident almost resulted in a fist fight with a certain figurehead of notorious surf gang. Somehow I stood my ground. To have my cause of death cited as “argument over picture edit” would have been terribly unfortunate.

How did Trust Fun form? Rather organically. Jonathan and I initially met through a Polish social club and we became friends. Then as our respective practices evolved, certain jobs and ideas gravitated toward one another. Sometimes the boundary between us blurred and we needed to name the blurry bit. So we called it Trust Fun.

Do you prefer working with other people or alone? How does working with others change the dynamic of your creative process? Both are great. Working with others doesn’t really change the dynamic for me. Is that bad?

If you could work with anyone who would it be? I’m totally happy working with Jonathan and Mark Vassallo. Also, Stab guys Derek Rielly and Charlie Smith are writing some of the funniest shit out there – it’s always a pleasure to read their insolence and commit it to print… but otherwise R. Kelly, Richard Feynman and William Eggelston.

What inspires you outside of design? Mostly coffee, the colour pink, and ultraviolet light. Translucent greens and blues. And the whales out front of my joint right now…

Petit Mal is one of the craziest fashion magazines we’ve ever seen. How did you guys settle on a fashion/comic hybrid? And why does it work? It first started way back when Mark and I were working on Follow magazine. Mark was getting in these great backstage shots from Antonello Trio and we basically needed to find a good reason to use as many of the shots as we could. Mark had the great idea to make a comic out of them. So we did… he’d decide on the shows to use, I’d get my mate Adrian to write it and I’d lay it out.
After Follow, we wanted to start another magazine. But it was just too hard to get it off the ground and it kind of died. But, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, I decided to take Mark’s idea of the backstage comic and run with it. Mostly because it was the most bizarrely reckless concept out there. Once the name fell into place something felt strangely right about it. At some point, Jonathan wanted to be part of it and he was the perfect fit…

Petit Mal works because the fashion world has been consuming itself for decades now and it’s begging for a whole other item on the menu.

The Production process for Trust Fun’s Glory Scarves has been described as “a mathematically valid fractal, painstakingly created by entering a series of numbers and equations into a computer, creating a potentially
infinite variety of form, colour and detail”. Are all the prints just a byproduct of chance? Or are you trying to create textures/shapes/colours you see in your head?
It took 6 months of entering numbers into the program before it spat out a good fractal. So I suppose there was a vague notion of what we wanted – kind of impossible to visualise with our feeble brains – but when we saw it we knew it was right. Since then a certain parameter has been set and into that we plug in as much randomness as we can until something aesthetically clicks. I’d like to say that they are direct readings of out chakras but that would be a lie.

Career highlight? Producing Mark Magazine #3 with Justin Smith and Mark Vassallo – that thing still blows my mind. 500 pages of tweaked autobiographical surrealist insanity that somehow coherently exudes a dark beauty. I spent 6 months living with Justin on the beach at Cottesloe WA putting it all together. The cast of characters behind the scenes were easily worthy of another 500 pages.

Can you describe your work space in three words? Ocean cave-tunnel.

What does the future hold for Shane Sakkeus? A quick swim and hopefully no more traveling til Summer is over!