EMA and ANACAO interviewed on their Island for Misfit Toys

July 13, 2011

A summery apolocalypse, exiled and reject toys all in graffiti and illustration; our fear of impending disaster is lifted.

The Island of Misfit Toys, derived from the story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, is a home for those which have malfunctioned or broken the mould. Obviously the misfits are the cool guys, each hold their own character and are more valuable as accidents, a trigger for inspiration.

French Graffiti artist’s, painters and illustrators EMA + ANACAO have pooled their eclectic artistic visions and styles and exploded this within Archipelago Works, Sheffield. With 3D droplets a.k.a ‘Drop Men’ made from black pvc and stuffed, wall painted neon comets and clouds harking back to 80′s sci-fi visions, and beautiful screen-printed paintings of the misfits. This is a poetic vision of the future, both optimisitc and cataclysmic.

Have you worked together before?
We met three months ago! We both moved to Paris, and moved into the same apartment block, a very nice coincidence! We have the same tastes in illustration and painting.

EMA, you started graffiti when you were young?
Yes I started graffiti 20 years ago.
ANA; And I lived in the centre of Barcelona, working alone with stencils and typography in the streets. Then I made an exhibition in the South of France at the same time, for women, it was quite old fashioned. I’m not from street art, my father is a sculptor who uses clay. I learnt from him, and became a painter.

At Archipelago the work takes on 3D form, with a sculptor in the family, Ana, is this more your inclination?
I really like paint, especially oil painting. I chose it randomly and I want to master the technique to suit my subject.

Oils are an old fashioned choice for painting a subject like sci-fi!
ANA; Yes for this show, normally I paint faces, music, fashion.
EMA; using an old fashioned technique to represent contemporary subject…

ANA; In Barcelona, I did an illustration for Lamono, a magazine and I was then invited into a group show with Catalina Estrada on the theme of Addictions. I’ve also done work with my family, we had an exhibition in Paris, ‘Engagement Dans L’Exil‘, a homage to my grandfather who was a Spanish resistant.

So did you plan this exhibition from Paris?
EMA; Well, I think Ana found the theme first, inspired by her boyfriends’ collection of rare Japanese toys, like ‘Dada‘ and ‘Ultraman‘. The title of the show is found in the story of ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, the island where all the misfit toys go that no-one wants. It’s the story of the broken or problem ones. But we wanted to make a show which is fun, not too heavy and decided to use purer colours.
ANA; our shapes are weird, with bright colours…

You can see how you have inspired each other in the compositions, in how you have worked – some pieces look like an archive or display of toys and ideas.
ANA; In one work, the painted toys are made to look like stickers.

Which is synonymous with your fly-posting, You work a lot in the streets with a passing audience. Painting on the walls echoes this less static presentation of work.
EMA; We improvised as we needed to approach this together, so we did it close to the opening. We wanted to develop an atmosphere to insert people into this world.

I love the dropmen, various stuffed teardrops with faces. Where did they come from and have you made other pieces in 3D / from material?

EMA; They are the first! I have an upcoming French exhibition with Kid Acne in September and we want to make more sculptural work. I want to take many, many buckets and do something really big! But I don’t put the drop men in my paintings, they are in my street art. I have to work differently in the gallery. My background is more graffiti than street art, though some point make more difference out of this than I do. I used to write my name on the wall, regular tagging but I was always open to try different things.

I lived in New York and had an exhibition in which I made a Drop Men paper installation . I had to cut out 100 pieces of paper in the shape of a drop, but I had a lot of waste and hate throwing away paper. So I drew faces onto these and starting fly pasting. Then I returned to France and was a little bored so started pasting more in the streets.

How do you get away with fly pasting? Do people accept it more than graffiti as Art?
EMA; Compared to regular grafitti, people kind of like you pasting pictures onto the wall, especially in Paris in association with fly pasting political slogans. But they look terrible painted over! For some reason grafitti is still more frowned upon.

Are you pleased with the finished result of ‘Island for Misfit Toys’?
EMA; I think we work very well together, I’ve done collaborations before which didn’t work as well. It’s a small show but we really enjoyed doing it! Now we’re going to check out the current John Martin exhibition at the Millennium Gallery, it’s a weird coincidence with our show in Sheffield. We’d recommend people to see both!

The Island for Misfit Toys continues at Archipelago Works, Sheffield until 30 July 2011.

Interviewed by Jane Faram


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Related and Recent