Illustrative duo Good Wives and Warriors (known to their Mothers as Becky Bolton and Louise Chappell) are readying themselves to take over Swarovski’s Regent Street window come July 16th. We had a chat to these talented and thoroughly accomplished ladies ahead of their London stint.
Are you looking forward to adorning Swarovski’s Regent Street Store?
It will be interesting working in such a central and visible location. It is not a street that we often walk down during the day and I imagine it will be pretty busy!
You split your time between installations and design commissions for companies like Swarovski, Absolut Vodka and Comme des Garcons. Do these feed into and inform each other, or do you approach commissions and fine art projects with entirely different mindsets?
The mindset is definitely different though I imagine they must affect one another. Every time we make a new piece of work, whether it is our own artwork or a commercial job, we learn something. We are rolling stones gathering a lot of moss!
You both went to Art School in Glasgow, but you’re now based in Berlin. How does being based in such an idiosyncratic city influence your work?
Both Glasgow and Berlin are really interesting cities in which to live and make work, as is London. The pace is very different in Berlin and there is so much going on, hopefully the influence won’t be a lack of productivity!
The fact that you guys work as a duo is pretty rare. Is it always a harmonious partnership?
Of course, as with any two people, there are moments of discord but we are very lucky that they are few and far between. As you say, it is quite a rare working situation and we realize how lucky we are to have each other!
Mandalas are prominent in your work – how did you become interested in this art form? Are you interested in the Hindu and Buddhist heritage?
We became interested in the topic of mandalas after we had already made a few unintentionally. After a friend pointed out that the drawings we were making looked like mandalas, we were drawn into the subject. Mandalas are universal images produced across many cultures and religions and because of this are both accessible and intriguing.
Are you daunted by the big religious connotations?
Not especially. Both of us are on the agnostic side of atheism but are interested in different religions and cultures. Perhaps as we approach the subjects from a fairly neutral position we are free from attempting to make any great statements with our work. We are equally interested in the scientific and natural world and how everything meshes together. I think our work is more about a personal and imaginative space in between these topics and not a direct comment on the subject.
This heaviness is counterbalanced with a great sense of fun in your work – we love the Rover Renaissance Experiment. Do you enjoy contrasting whimsical illustrations with more difficult subject matter?
Definitely! We are both drawn to big questions and difficult topics, such as quantum-physics and string theory, but are fully aware that we lack the academic knowledge and understanding to adequately explore the subjects. Instead we revel in playing artistically around the edges of these subjects, decorating the periphery!
The illustration for Swarovski features some beautiful and iconic London imagery. Are you guys inspired by all the excitement in the city right now?
London is a beautiful and iconic city! Representing London is always something we enjoy and the Olympics is a rare event for a city. It is great that we get to be involved in the hype in some way.
Good Wives and Warrior’s first design will start being painted on the evening of the 16th July and will remain in place for a fortnight. The process is repeated on the 31st July providing even more visual wonderment. Use the hashtag #IconicLondon or go to the Facebook page to get involved.