Good morning Magpies. Today I have an entertaining (if slightly bonkers) interview for you, with a crazily creative band of 3 from East London who call themselves Animaux Circus.
Hi Animaux Circus! Tell us who you are and what you do.
Hello, we are an illustration, mural and sign painting trio who met at university whilst studying Graphic Communication together. Each of us loved each other’s artwork and we went on to have many nights of drawing mad circus performers and animals together to decorate the small town we were in. Upon graduation we realised that we worked really well together and 3 years later, here we are. These days we can mostly be found at our studio in Walthamstow where we come up with millions of stories about our delivery man, a place called Drytown Tennessexy, a bad taxidermist and many others…
Each of us works independently as well as in the collective; we bring our skills and passion for typography, graphic design and painting together to create large scale, colourful designs.
What are the advantages of working as a gang of 3?
When one of us asks “Blue or yellow?” the others exclaim “green!” or “purple!” but in the end we all agree on orange, which was probably the better choice anyway…
Some of the projects we are commissioned to do need 3 people, to hold up wobbly ladders and feed each other power bars and coffee in turn to ensure we can paint all day long. It’s also good to know that if you go overboard with a piece of work, as it is so easy to get carried away, that another one of us will walk over and simply ask “What have you done to that?!”
I love the signage work you’ve done for Wood Street Market and Limpopo Butchery in Walthamstow. Tell us more about it – how did you secure this marvellous commission?
It’s very enriching to have the opportunity to work with independent businesses that are not directly related to the creative industry. Our studio is on Wood Street, so we were approached by people from the Borough Council who were looking to commission local artists to design and create signage for a range of shops along the street. We said ‘yes’, of course!
Your collective work has a touch of the dreamy surreal about it. Discuss.
The strange atmosphere floating around Animaux Circus (imagine a dark corridor, the neon lights are flashing, green swirly smoke invades the space, and a giant cat and its sloth friend are DJ’ing, playing old Elvis tunes under a disco ball) is created by the combination of our imaginations – our three brains mixed in a cauldron to come up with images and designs that we would never have created alone.
Who would you love to work with – alive or dead or even imaginary?
Can we only choose one person? It’s difficult to choose – maybe Kevin Spacey (because he has really good taste in music)? Denver the last dinosaur? Michel Gondry? We also would love to work in Mexico because they paint many walls (and they make good guacamole and tequila.) And we love painters such as Mr Penfold, Malarky, Dusty Signs, Roa & Flox – all of whom we would love to paint some huge, colourful pieces with; that would be great!
Tell us about your studio-shop.
It’s good to have a studio where people can pop in, have a coffee with us and talk about all sorts. We meet some very interesting characters in our little shop, and get the privilege to work with some of them on personal commissions. When we first arrived our studio-shop was looking bright, shiny & slick. 6 months later, we are certainly at home in this space, with colourful paper and sketches everywhere, stacks of paintbrushes and pots balanced precariously in all directions and pictures of cats and aliens hung up on any space available. And a few Philip Seymour Hoffman portraits dotted around for good measure.
What do you enjoy about drawing?
We enjoy creating fictional tales with brightly coloured pens to make people happier, or sometimes to scare them, to make them wonder and imagine; to tell the world about small dusty corners where something very interesting is happening but ordinarily nobody would notice.
We love the idea of creating something from only pen and paper, to take your pencil to a blank page and create a whole universe of aliens or taxidermists that may never have existed if we didn’t have these silly, too-much-coffee evenings once in a while.
What projects will you be working on in the upcoming months?
Bad taxidermy comics, a laser-cut woodland 3D collage, the design of some brightly coloured Fiesta-themed advertising (aie aie aie!), a circus themed dress-up photo booth for the Wood Street Fiesta where we will be making life size illustrated bears and tattooed lady and man suits for people to be photographed in. There are so many exciting things coming up! As well as our personal mission to decorate the city with lion tamers and sad ice lollies.
Lastly, would you like to run away with the circus? Or the zoo? Just wondering…
A circus, yes, but only if:- Lana and Margaux get to wear the Lion outfit and Rory gets to jump through the hoop of flames!