Lana Hughes, Margaux Carpentier and Rory Elphick are the wonderful minds behind crazy cool design studio Animaux Circus. Renowned for their colourful, imaginative murals and signage, their shared appreciation for animals, folk tales and magic, drew these three creatives together producing an unmatched sparkly force. Their vibrant markings can be easily spotted on streets and signs around the world, including appearances at Lovebox festival, Battersea Power Station and Pick Me Up.
We teamed up with Animaux Circus to produce three exciting designs for our new collection of greetings cards. The guys were lovely to work with and were kind enough to let us pick their shiny brains!
Can you tell us a bit about Animaux Circus & how it all started?
We actually realised the other day that we’ve been working together for 5 years! It all started at the end of University, we were looking for some light relief from the long hours working on our final major projects. So after a couple bottles of Sainsbury’s finest basic wine (ooh la la!) we started to draw strange circus animals and after a couple more bottles decided to paste them up in the streets around town – wading through muddy rivers to paste creatures under a bridge in the sleepy little village of Farnham. Fast forward to our graduation, we then moved into London & rented a very small, very chilly studio space in Walthamstow. Where we began some of our first projects & met some of our first clients.
Your designs are so brightly coloured and fun, where do you find your inspiration?
We love to travel and find a lot of inspiration on our trips abroad. We have a big love for Mexico, the colours and patterns used especially (Not forgetting the food)! On a recent trip to Bali, It was great to visit the local museums and galleries to see Indonesian artworks, read about the history & culture – we loved the old works exploring Hindu Mythology. We are inspired by the other illustrators and typographers around us in everyday life too, there are so many greats out there!
How do you create your ideas and can you describe your artistic process? Do you all work together etc?
We generally start by bouncing ideas around with each other, if someone has a strong idea we let them take the lead. Initially the idea will start as a sketch and depending on the output, we then get to work painting or sketching within photoshop/illustrator. It’s then passed around to the other members to add their own style into it – whether thats an animal, some type or pattern work. Depending on the project, this initial piece will then be translated into large scale, on a wall, or into print form.
Why do you think interesting signage is so important?
Signage is a huge part of a business, whether its a small sign in a window or a huge sign above a shop, you need a sign! It lets people know who you are and what you do. A few years ago, we were lucky enough to create our first sign for a Butchers – they had been open for several years but had never had a sign. The sign may not have brought them more customers but it did showcase their character and finally gave them an identity.
We see hundreds and thousands of images and adverts on a daily basis, you often have only a few seconds where the customer will decide if they will enter your shop…and so signage is very important in creating your brands identity and correctly representing what you are about as a business.
That’s a difficult one! We each have a different way to work… Rory is very much a digital illustrator – so when he’s not painting on walls he’s sat at a computer screen getting swirly eyes. Margaux loves to use inks, colour pencils and felt tips (as well as screenprinting) and Lana loves fancy calligraphy pens and One shot paint for signs! Together though, we love spray painting as we can all go big and dance around each other! Cha cha cha!
What’s next for AC?
AC has gone global! Lana and Rory have moved to the otherside of the world for a while, they’re currently in Melbourne hoping to find new walls to paint and other artists to collaborate with. But back in the UK, we’ve been working on some signage for Lovebox Festival, and will be running workshops at Citadel and Green Man festival over the Summer months – so if you’re around come join in and paint with Margaux!
Take a look at the Animaux Circus designs, along with the full collection of Evermade greetings cards here!