Exclusive Interview with Paul Serville & Judy Millar



To celebrate the history between two friends, Servilles’ Paul Serville and New Zealand artist Judy Millar, and their recent collaboration on our Servilles Winter 2014 campaign ‘The Art of Hair’, we sat the creative pair down and asked them about their creative processes, their inspirations and reflect on their time spent working together again after all these years.

Read our exclusive interview below!

– How did you two meet?

Paul: It must have been the 70s. You were 21. I was looking for androgynous looking models and people. Judy had beautiful hair, beautiful curls.
Judy: Auckland was very small in those days, everyone knew everyone.
Paul: It used to be artists who said “Can I draw you”, now it’s hairdressers.

– How did the winter campaign bring you two back together again?

Paul: I wanted to have an art gallery-feel about the campaign, possibly in the background, or paintings in the distance, straight away I thought – Judy! We have a good relationship and I love her art work. Judy said, “yeah let’s do it!” I didn’t think she would! I sent her the concept and it has been a great collaboration. ….Getting her lifesize prints up the 7 flights of stairs at the Servilles HQ was a bit of fun…
Judy: I am always interested in seeing my work in different environments. I have no interest in keeping my work in a gallery environment.

– Tell us a bit about the winter campaign.

Paul: I wanted the hair to appear very raw. Very non-hairdressing. One hairstyle was looking too nice, so we puffed colour onto it through a straw! The paintings went so well with this technique we created, there was a real raw-ness to the whole thing. Lots of hairdressers like the refined look, but that’s just not me.

– What are the parallels between both of your work?

Paul: I think work ethic. Judy is one of the top, world renowned painters, but still gets up every morning, is here at the studio from 8-8 every day. Yet, I don’t think either of us has worked a day in our lives! You just feel compelled to make something happen.
Judy: That’s why we’ve been friends for so long. We’re giving everything we’ve got. My mentors are local and international and I think that’s a similarity between us too. There is also a sense of naturalness. It was inevitable that we would work together. I too am always trying out new tools or pushing the material to get a different and new look and feel. It could be something lying around, like your straw Paul. Technically there are parallels. There are aspects of always wanting to mess it up a little bit too.
Paul: I’d like to come in sometime and watch you work, Judy.
Judy: It’s a messy business!

– Who are you inspired by?

Paul: Technical people who are also creative. I’m always inspired by great architecture.
Judy: It’s always easier to talk about people outside of your field. So music is a big one for me. The Velvet Underground and their perfectly planned chaos. people with the ambition to come up with something other, something not seen before. I’m not sure I think the word new is the correct term..
Paul: Or turning it upside-down.

– Let’s talk about colour for this winter campaign.

Paul: Colour is dreamy. Especially all of the pastels seen around right now. Years ago it was “colour my hair, but don’t make me look like I’ve had my hair coloured..” Now it’s completely moved away and people have become brave with coloured hair.
Judy: I find it hard to talk about colour. The colour and the material for me always seem to be as one. It is something you use. Material is coloured, colour is the material.

– What about the word ‘freedom’ in hairdressing and in art?

Paul: As you get older you want more freedom with your work and more of a spirited, uncontrived feel to it. That is just happening. In my training I went through it was very strict. We had to learn how to smash away everything that we’d learnt.
Judy: Freedom is the whole reason. I think there is a movement because we’re tired of money ruling everything. We’ve seen the music industry suffer to that. And I think this is our reaction to all of that.

– What are some parallels you draw between hairdressers and artists?

Paul: Getting an emotion. Getting and/or changing an emotion with your craft.
Judy: We want to constantly see new things. I never use the term artist…

– What do you write on your customs forms when you travel?

Judy: White-wear salesman. Teacher. They’ll never search the bags of a teacher.

– What does winter mean for you creatively?

Judy: When I am in Berlin I feel the impact of winter. Because there is no colour, no light. I think everything, even if you’re not conscious of it, affects you, how you feel, how you move.
Paul: I couldn’t live in a season-less place. I like the crisp cold, and then feeling it get warmer again. I like to get free in the summer so structured hair doesn’t go with summer! During winter people dress up more and the attention comes in around their face and their neck, so your haircut in winter is more likely to be noticed.

– What is coming up for you Judy this year?

Judy: After NZ I am leaving for NYC for ten days. The art fairs are on. Everyone has their best shows, and it really marks the beginning of the art season. After that I am working on a number of commissions. I’m looking forward to some free time in my studio in Berlin. I use Berlin as a laboratory. I time to play and make and test. It’s a special time.