I have been a huge fan of Amandine Urruty's work for a few years now and I feel massively honored that she accepted to illustrate our latest edition's cover on the theme of Cats & Dogs. Originally from the South of France, her work is in line with the greatest surrealists, mixing the odd and the cute in scenes that require you to leave all pre-conceptions behind but are so magnetic that you will want to come back to them again and again. I certainly do!
Here we chat about her work and her thoughts process behind this amazing cover.
I am really honoured that you accepted to illustrate our cover. We worked together five years ago but your work has evolved a lot since. From super colourful human-animals to black & white dreamscapes. Can you tell us a little bit about this evolution?
Firstly, I am delighted to work for Anorak again! My work has indeed evolved a lot and this commission was a sort of challenge for me: I had to find a way to reconnect my work to colour and also to a younger audience, which I had gone away from lately. During my first collaboration with you chocolate edition, back in 2008!>, I was in a phase where I would throw myself in a mega colourful world and my work was extremely vibrant! I produced a lot of colourful drawings, enough to full a 128 pages book called "Robinet d'Amour" (Love Tap), published in 2011. Several personal events and a little bit of tiredness too brought me back to black & white, which was my first love really. It was like going back to my school drawing classes when all you had to do was stupidly copy a Michelango statue! Quite surprisingly, I found that working with graphite gave me more freedom, it is the medium I manage the best and I find it odd that I stayed away from it for so long. For this cover, I asked myself many questions on what material I should use. I even started drawing a picture using actual paint but I quickly realised it was not a great idea from a timing perspective. So I made it using graphite lines and coloured in with the computer!
When I gave you the theme, what thoughts came to your mind?
My first thoughts brought me back to the sort of work I used to do at the beginning of my carrer, where I drew portraits of dogs in various dress-up outfits. I did many sketches, some more complicated than others but at the end I settled for a scene that is closer to my world at the moment. I wanted something that had impact but was also close to my current universe.
I showed it to my son and he said: 'This is amazing, but I thought you were showing me a vintage mag that you had found in a car boot sale that was also called Anorak!' Where did you draw your inspiration from?
That's funny because I knew what I was going to produce was quite different from the very graphical work that Anorak publishes. If I am really honest, I wondered for a long time what colours to use, whether I should go for something ultra modern or more classical. At the end, I went for something a little soft and nostalgic, so your son is right there! My reference was the series of French books called Martine.
A lot of adults have asked me about the significance of the fried egg on top of the Chow Chow's head. Kids, on the other hand, just laugh when they spot it and think it is just funny. I personally think kids have got the right attitude about it but what do you think?
I would love to hear the grown-ups' explanation! For me the egg is just a recurring joke, a little bit like a signature.
Kids just know! And finally what else are you to to at the moment?
I am drawing a lot of new (black and white) pieces for many exhibitions in the Autumn: a solo show in Paris at the
, and in parallel there is an exhibition with the Hey! collective which kicks off September 17th, then an exhibition in Tampa (USA) at
, an exhibition at Brussels with the
, a solo show in Valencia in December with the gallery Plastic and finally another solo show in Portland at the
in December also.
Phew, busy indeed! Thank you Amandine, good luck with all your endeavours, in colour or not!