Alasdair and Jock met at Edinburgh College of Art in 2000, after graduating in Animation (Alasdair) and Sculpture (Jock). Their first collaboration in 2008 was an ambitious animated music promo for the Canadian band, Tom Fun Orchestra. The result, ‘Throw Me to the Rats’ was a searing success and went on to win ‘Music Video of the Year’ at the ECMA awards in Canada and marked the start of numerous other collaborations including the multi award winning ‘Bottom of the River’ and, most recently, a music promo for Clinic ‘Bubblegum’.
‘Leggy Stunnerz’ editioned and commissioned by Nobrow marks their first foray into printmaking. We asked them to explain their thinking behind the bizarre and colourful limited edition: ‘We wanted to produce a garish, irrational yet rational book. Quite simply it features a cavalcade of humans in costume and carnival floats which on closer inspection have numerous pairs of legs. Starting off with a wasp, then slowly building into a crescendo – BAM – the book ends, and we are left to ponder about where this strange troupe is heading and what the hell will happen when they get there. For the back of the book we wanted to have a bold stylish pattern that would act as some kind of subverted ‘TV static’ – acting like a withdrawn, dazed counterpart to the heady activities on the other side.’
As the guys usually work with visual narratives in animation, we thought it would be interesting to get them involved in a Nobrow Small Press project and in particular a concertina book. Their process, even though the end result would be presented in a different format, was still based on creating lists (of potential ridiculous costumes for the cavalcade) and then making hundreds of drawings from which they could create the ultimate composition. Drawings were scanned into the computer and edited down until Jock & Ali were happy with the army-like mass they had conjured up: ‘That editing process is really vital to the kind of work we do – being ruthless and always ready to throw things on the scrap heap until only the creme de la creme is left. We both really value distilling an idea’s visual information until all the vital components are left. Final layouts and colour are then argued about until both parties end up in a sobbing, drunken heap.’
Stylistic and conceptual influences include Japanese culture – be it 18th Century prints or classic Studio Ghibli – combined with a love for Alfred Hitchcock, 1960s design, horror films, vaudeville, 1980s soft rock and Vienetta. They also like to carry small elements of previous projects through their current work so, for example, in Leggy Stunnerz you will be able to spot several motifs from their video work, while the cat-in-a-dress character for their video Bubblegum was derived from one of the final drawings produced for Leggy Stunnerz.