Holding Hands with Creature Creature August 21 2019
Creature Creature is an artist duo consisting of Chanel Tang and Ambrose Rehorek. They work from their studio in Collingwood, Australia. Born in Adelaide, Ambrose has a Degree in Visual Arts from the University of South Australia. Chanel was born in Wellington, New Zealand, moved to Australia in 1998 where she did her Degree in Fine Art at Monash University. They first met doing a Graduate Diploma in Graphic Design at RMIT. The two flirted through art until they formed an official union in 2011 under one name. Creature Creature was chosen from a quote in the 1960’s film A Bucket of Blood: “A Creature is a Creature…or it is an artist!” Since then, they have focused on exhibiting art, mural commissions, street art, design and illustration.
Ahead of their second exhibition with Outré Gallery, we spoke to Chanel and Ambrose about collaboration, duality, and the significance of colours and animals in their work.
Interview by Joseph Estorninho. Photography by Madz Rehorek.
Your last exhibition with us, Binary Star, was a reflection of your combined artistic practice. How has your approach to collaboration evolved over the past few years?
When we first started working together, our art reflected our chemistry as a couple and we would look inward for inspiration about the dualism we wanted to represent. As we have continued to work together for some time we are now looking outward to decipher the stories we want to tell as a unique partnership. We are now looking at collaboration in a border sense, not just in our own artistic practice, but a philosophy we want to promote in art and life. We want to advocate these ideals of community and diversity, and hope our collaboration proves there is beauty created by coming together and working as one.
Take us through your daily routine.
We aim to have 9-5 routine to producing art, when we can. As we work project to project, our days and experiences can be vastly different, which is very fun. When preparing for a show, it is a little more structured. We have a studio space in Collingwood and we live nearby, so we walk to and from the studio, we delegate tasks for the day and frequent many cafes nearby. As artists, your mind is always ticking, for new ideas and inspiration so it is not something you switch off at the end of the day. But work/life balance is another thing we are advocates for. We try to have a lot of time for friends and family as this builds on this lifestyle based around community. We need to practice what we preach!
When working through a project, do you thrive under pressure or are you highly organised? Do you differ in your perspectives?
We try to be very organised but there are always things out of your control or slip ups so we try to embrace pressure and deadlines and not be scared of them. This is also another benefit of working as a team. You are never in it alone, you always have the other to pull you up when down. This balance and support is something we try to keep and nurture in our relationship.
How did you develop your integrated visual style? How do you decide who is responsible for certain elements of an artwork?
Our style comes very naturally for us as we have similar taste. We were drawn together initially because of our shared love of art and visual culture so a lot of our style comes from us being inspired and discussing it. When creating our own work, it always starts with a conversation and then we delegate tasks to turn what we have in our head into reality. We both have different strengths as artists: Chanel usually creates the bold compositions and Ambrose is in charge of the finer details.
You have developed a strong colour identity in your work. Why did you choose these colours?
Our colour choices again go back to our expression of balance and duality, yin and yang. We are known of the colour palette of red and teal, these are very complimentary colours in colour theory: red is so intense on the eyes and brain, the teal offsets it. This is why surgeons often wear green or blue scrubs, because their eyes see so much red from blood all day so you need another colour to balance it out. Our new work has very careful colour decisions which we spend a lot of time selecting, alway searching for that amity of combinations.
Animals are often represented in your artwork. What do they symbolise?
The animals we portray are often in packs or pairs and are usually creatures that spend their lives living and working together to receive the benefits from this collective family. We turn to the natural world for many insights and inspiration. As humans, the connection you foster with each other is important in survival just as these other species.
What are some challenges you've faced as artists, either together or as individuals?
The main challenges we face are...commercial work versus our own stuff, dealing with clients, being too busy or not busy enough. These are very common issues of creatives, but it comes with job and we have learned so much along the way and are still learning. For collaboration you can not have a big ego or be too sensitive or precious. You have to remain flexible and open. Having these traits has also helped us in the art world.
What are some of your go-to methods when looking for new inspiration? Do you do this together?
We like to stay active in the local art scene and beyond, going to exhibitions big and small. Also film, music and people, these are all things we enjoy and seek out together.
You have an upcoming show with us at Outré Gallery. Can you tell us how you developed the ideas for this exhibition?
The show is titled Hold Hands, which embodies this message of togetherness. When designing our new work, we wanted to illustrate these states of balance and harmony, through composition, colour and symbols.
Your artwork has been applied in a number of ways, such as visual designs and murals. Is there anything you haven’t done that you would like to do?
We would really like to do more packaging design as we enjoy seeing our work on this application.
Do you have any projects lined up for the future you are particularly excited about?
We have a few upcoming projects that are under wraps. But generally in the future we aim to work more with other artists to extend our collaborative efforts even further.
Thank you Chanel and Ambrose for sharing an insight into your artwork.
Outré Gallery Fitzroy
30 August – 10 September 2019
Opening night 6pm on Friday, 30 August