Container plus is a collaborative group based in London, currently three people working together. Their work is a combination of illustration, photography, set design and animation. They have produced work for an outstanding number of clients including The Baftas, Gallo Wine, Topshop, London Design Festival etc. They have also experimented with their own personal projects for fun, which is admirable and it proves that they are really passionate about producing work. It shows that they are willing and eager to push their ideas further and develop more skills. This really shows in their work, as a variety of skills are required to produce their breathtaking pieces. That seems to also be an advantage about working collaborately because you can not only learn off each other and exchange ideas which helps developing your individual learning but you can also allocate the skills that you can’t do or don’t have any patience for to someone else who might be much better at that particular skill. Also another vital point was if you decided to collaborate with people, it’s best to keep it to a minority and people who you can rely on, the more people you add to your group, the more people you have to please.
Luise from container plus came to give us a talk on how they as a group, work so well together. She gave us an insight as to how collaborating with other people works and what compromises and sacrifices you had to make if you were thinking of going down that path. She mentioned that to be able to work together you have to be a good listener and sometimes you have to go along with someone else’s ideas rather then enforce your ideas on other people, even if you do think your idea is much better, if the majority of the group decide on a different concept, you have to just go with it and make the most of it! There is no room for ‘big egos’. She also discussed about dividing money on jobs and added ‘sort out money issues before it becomes an issue’. She made the valid point that you all have to have the same level of commitment as each other in order for you to have a healthy working relationship and environment. You have to also keep your working relationships separate from your personal life, for example Luise doesn’t see Nicola or Patricia outside the working environment because they feel they need that break from each other.
Container plus specializes in creating playful, atmospheric fantasy worlds. They create 2d and 3d designs. I think the combination of the two is what excites me most about their work and they seem to create these worlds with such enthusiasm and inventiveness. Their influences seem to base around Art Nouveau and Aubrey Beardsley but Luise commented on how having long conversations and reading magazines from Art Monthly to Heat which also have an effect on their work. She also discussed how they are quite loose with the way they work, they like making a big mess and then at the end of the project; they then tidy their work up with Photoshop.
The work that I liked the most was the fairytale set for advertising shoes. I love the way they have combined the real objects in this case the shoes but then they have created a set of paper characters and environments. I think the style in which it has been produced is very unique and convincing. In a lot of my influences or subjects that I’m drawn to tends to be the theme of fairy tales. I’m also interested in using photography in my work and I just adore the way they have taken the opportunity to use lighting to create the mood and atmosphere in these pictures, this is something I like to experiment within my work. The lighting gives the fairytale a very dark and sinister feel to them for example, in the ‘little red riding hood’ image. I really like how the woods look really threatening and ominous. The scale of the elements in the set seem to be very small especially the little characters, they come across as very delicate which could help contribute to the vulnerability that you feel towards the them. The fact that they have been created in 3d makes them so much more realistic and alive.
Another piece of their work that I find really inspiring is the London Design Festival work, I think because it’s a sculpture which is situated outside where lot of the public can see it. I’m also inspired by the concept behind the artwork. The idea of the seven deadly sins pouring out of the teacup and the notion of Pandora’s box being opened. I really like the black and white colour scheme to this piece of work; the traditional drawings on the teacup stand out and the viewers are able to focus on the detail. I really like the way they have used the different levels to emphasize the effect of all the contents pouring out of the teacup. I think the overall composition is very clever and exciting to look at.
Another piece of work I really like is the evil twins projects as they seem so playful and different, perhaps that’s because they use a live model in their work and I really like the way they have experimented with different environments and materials. I think the illustrations combined with the photography are really effective.
From listening to Luise’s advice on collaborating with other people, I was quite excited by the prospect of working with someone in the future as I’m scared of becoming someone who is isolated and who’s ideas have dried up. I think it was nice to be proven that it is possible for illustrators to work together even though there are challenges that you have to face.