Interview: Gurpal Gohler

Words by Charles Odugebesan

I had been talking about wanting to speak to an artist for a little while and by Mid January, I had finally been pointed in the direction of one. But I didn’t really view this as just an ‘interview’ with someone. 14HQ is about providing a platform for those without one to showcase their talent and that’s exactly what I wanted to offer!

I met abstract artist and creator Gurpal Gohler briefly in late January, told him about 14HQ, what it is we do and exactly how I wanted to showcase his work. I gave him my new pair of Adidas Yung-96’s and without any guidelines or instructions, I simply asked him to ‘do your thing with them!’ Reason being that an artist of Gurpal’s ilk, is mainly focused on tangible expressions of their work. So offering my new kicks as a canvas seemed to make sense. Fast forward to March when we met up again and I was more than pleased with the results!

I wanted to add little touches – the threading above the sole and the splash effect on the tongue to give it that abstract effect. I kept it all black, I didn’t want to add to many colours. And at the same time I still wanted them to look wearable… I hope you like them!

Most definitely man! Where did the love of art come from?

My mum. She wasn’t exactly an artist but she was really into art and she got me into it as well. And so I do abstract art. But I can do scribbles, line drawings, fine art etc. 

So you’ve got a lot of range then? Is that an important thing to have?

It’s just about how you’re feeling really at the end of the day. Different sort of art makes you feel a different sort of way. And art can be so many things and have so many different meanings so don’t limit yourself.

Are there any muses you have or any artists/creators that inspire you to create?

Definitely Virgil Abloh

14HQ’s mantra is ‘Creativity Knows No Limits’. Being able to meet Gurpal, a creative who subconsciously adopts the same approach in all aspects of his work was refreshing to see. I could even draw similarities between us personally the more we spoke.

At Uni I studied Maths. I was always into art but I never really saw it as something I could do just because of the way I was taught to graduate, get a job and live in the system – a very traditional, rigid ideology in most African and Asian culture. It’s not (our parents) fault though because it’s all they really know. We’re the ones who have to push those limits and show them that there’s another way of doing things – we being the first generation from our families that were born and/or largely brought up in the U.K.

With Gurpal today was his friend and fellow creative director of their upcoming lifestyle brand Apply Pressure, Münz whom I invited to speak on their brand a little more. 

With this brand the market we’re trying to break into is about sustainability and at the same time luxury. In terms of our clothing, everything is 100% handmade and we wanted to give them that limited feel. 

So where do you guys see the Apply Pressure brand progressing to?

So currently we’re in the process of making all types of clothing (hoodies, T shirts, tracksuits, jackets) where all of our art incorporates back into the brand. Hopefully (Apply Pressure) will help us branch out into so many different lanes like interior design for instance.  

Interior design? Tell me a bit more about that…

There’s only a limit to what you can do if you GIVE yourself a limit. If you look at photos, shows and settings for the big fashion brands, everything you see in that setting is created by that brand. Why can’t we do that? Everything from the property, the lighting… the whole visual! Why can’t we get to the point where that is all made by us?

As aforementioned, the imagination with which Gurpal spoke with was wonderful to hear. And much like this conversation, part of this artist’s make up was capped with a real dose of confidence. I guess if you really believe in what you’re saying you can definitely achieve it. You’ve gotta have really good taste to be able to pull all of that off!

True, but if you have good taste you can make anything.

Credit to Gurpal – a young creative with a vision and a work ethic bereft of boundaries and limitations. And if that’s not enough, he’s also a wicked customiser of trainers!! Follow his work here and be on the look out for the development of his lifestyle brand Apply Pressure.


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