Jake Chapman & Cedric Christie: 'We were asked to customise a pair of Adidas trainers. We changed them into Nikes'

The two artists met at a five-a-side artists' football game in 1999

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Jake Chapman, 49

At the forefront of the YBA movement in the 1990s, Jake (left in picture) and his brother Dinos became notorious visual artists thanks to their shocking subject matter; their work includes 'Hell', which features thousands of distorted toy Nazi figurines enacting apocalyptic visions of torture. He lives in Filkins, Oxfordshire

One thing about Cedric is that he laughs most of the time, even when he's making a serious point about something, so you never know when he is being serious.

Dinos and I met him at a five-a-side artists' football game, in 1999. We were both rubbish, but Cedric tackled very hard. We chatted after and he was smart and funny – a piss-taker, really – and it was infectious.

I invited him to visit us in our studio in Deptford [in south-east London]. He became part of a circle of friends and we'd go to openings and private views together. Most of that stuff happened under the influence of alcohol, so it is difficult to remember, but I know each exhibition had to be sponsored by an alcohol brand, otherwise no one would go.

We worked on a trainer project together early on: we'd been asked to customise a pair of white Adidas trainers for charity – and we painted them and changed them into Nikes. They took them away and destroyed them!

He used to come to play table tennis at our studio. Dinos is much better than me, and the most competitive person on earth, so it was funny watching Cedric laugh his really annoying laugh as he massacred him.

In a world dominated by people trying to forge their identity through a megalomaniac art practice, his sculptures are a breath of fresh air: his work is about the world and ideas – what representation means and how you make meaning – rather than the senseless autobiography that bares its soul for others. And he does it in a funny way. When he likes an idea you've done, though, he can be a bit of a miserable git, and ends up suggesting that you've nicked all the best ideas.

Artistically, he's got too much quality control: unlike me, he takes half a year to get around to doing anything, as he has to try every angle before he finalises anything for good.

But Cedric has an idealism that I don't: he sees art as positive, giving some social benefit, while I would say that Dinos's and my work is antagonistic, and I'm much more interested in accelerating things to their most catastrophic nature: I am much more misanthropic.

We're always having disagreements. One recently was about the final sandwich on a plate: I offered it to him and he took it, and the conversation spiralled into something about social obligation and altruism. While I will always offer it first and hate the person for taking it, Cedric is always disposed to eat that sandwich without any consideration to anyone else, as he is greedy.

But I have such affection for him, and we have had some great nights out. We went to the Groucho [private members' club] together recently, but the only thing I can remember is a hallucinatory flashback of Cedric's head kaleidoscopically moving and laughing at me.

Cedric Christie, 53

A sculptor, Christie manipulates everyday objects such as snooker balls, scaffolding and cars to create sculptures that explore form and meaning. His works are held in the private collections of Anita Zabludowicz and Unilever. He lives in London

It started with a small conversation during a football game. There was a gallery-sponsored five-a-side down at the Southbank, in 1999, and it featured artists from the Victoria Miro gallery – where the Chapman brothers first exhibited – versus this artist-run space, 30 Underwood Street, where I was at the time. So Jake and I were playing on opposite teams. He's a big bloke physically but he's very jolly, and has no aggression. After the match, he invited me to come to their studio. I was making sculptures at the time, which was very different to their work – mine is very minimal. It was a nice, rambling space, with work everywhere – not exactly like a mad scientist's place, but there were things on every surface – either the beginnings or remnants of something amazing.

I became very friendly with Jake – and Dinos – and we had a lot of discussions about stuff. My arguments with Dinos were much more political and we'd instantly oppose one another's views; Jake is less confrontational.

In Hoxton, there developed a whole group, with Jake and Dinos, [gallerist] Carl Freeman and [the painter] Peter Doig, going to cafés together and hanging out and drinking. We had this Sunday table-tennis club, which became this big thing: artists are great when they are not talking about art. And it was a way of competing: in art, you can't judge which painting is bigger or better.

I went to Jake's wedding, and I remember trying to mess up Dinos's best man speech: I asked Dinos to show it to me and when he wasn't looking I swapped it with similarly folded blank paper. I know Jake would have found that funny, but I got caught out by Dinos's daughter, who put an end to the prank.

Jake is in this band called JC Death Trap. I think it's some sort of thrash metal group. I went to see him play once at a gig, four or five years ago. But his music… never again!

Over the years I think he has changed: he's less tolerant now. Stupidity really ticks him off. If you are in conversation and someone says something foolish, he's quick to go, "You're an idiot." Jake is also more honest than anyone I know. But it's not deliberately hurtful, he's just very frank: it's a gift, I think.

'Cedric Christie: When Colour Becomes a Beautiful Object. And an Object Becomes a Beautiful Colour' is at Flowers Gallery, London W1 (flowersgallery.com), from 4 September to 3 October

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