In 2015, Peepshow won an Emmy-award for their work on the tv show, How We Got to Now. We caught up with Lucy, Miles, Pete, Jenny and Spencer at their Shoreditch studio to find out how London’s best-loved collective made it.
In 2000, the group of friends who had graduated university together took the plunge and started a visual arts collective, born out of creative collaboration, and an idea to share a platform. In today’s get-ahead-fast climate, collectives are commonplace, but back then Peepshow were somewhat of a prototype. They left art college with little in the way of a plan, beyond the need to “make stuff”, and to make time to make that stuff.
They started out balancing Peepshow with jobs that “paid the rent”; “Peepshow was there to fuel us [artistically]. We did group shows and joint publications, which always fuelled generating work and non-commercial work,” explains Lucy, the collective’s director.
Beginning with “no real aspirations”, they were galvanised into collaborating after working together as assistants to Graham Rawle for his 4,000 square foot supermarket, where they helped to create huge 3D sculptures. Already friends, they found that working together provided the “support, and resources, and pep talks, and help, and ideas, and all that stuff” that made their work better. Since their conception they have worked with some huge names, delivering illustration, art direction and animation that has granted them a sacred spot on London’s visual arts scene.
They fell into their first Peepshow jobs thanks to their mantra, “Never Say No”. Pete points out that it was “daunting early on”, because they lacked experience and that “without the collective we would have been harder pushed to say yes to jobs”. Working together made them an artistic force to be reckoned with.
© Spencer Wilson – ‘Take Five’ | Yoga
Their longevity and success is attributed to plugging away at it, loving what they do, and working collaboratively, not competitively. They get asked for advice from nascent illustrators desperate to know the secret to their success; to that, they say, there is no formula but don’t worry, it isn’t a race. Work hard and be nice, is Spencer’s advice, and change it up every once in awhile. Give it a whirl, try new things, be curious, and be kind and, above all, keep making stuff.
“It would have been very easy, without Peepshow to just think, ahh screw it, let’s just go and do something else, and get a job, but being in this group makes us think, you know, let’s put a show on!” Pete tells us. And that is exactly what they are doing now.
For the first time in four years the collective is putting on an exhibition of new and personal work at theprintspace gallery (74 Kingsland Road) between November 24th – November 29th with a private view on Thursday 24th November, including dynamic prints and animated graphics. ‘PeepShowRoom’ also marks the opening of the group’s new print shop, powered by thehub.
Buy limited edition prints from £35 here.
© Luke Best – ‘The Wonders’ | Rainbow
A rare opportunity to see the personalities behind the commercial work, the show takes us on a vibrant, colourful journey through the imaginations of London’s most successful illustrators and explores their individual personal practice which is informed by and complimentary to working as part of a collective. Through their chosen work, glimpse their personal preoccupations, fantasies and aesthetics, unadulterated by commercial briefs or outside art direction. They’re returning to their roots of “making stuff” and you’re invited to join them.
Come along for the official opening on Thursday 24th November where Peepshow will present an exciting blend of digital artworks, installation animation and pencil, ink and paint artworks, printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag paper. All works are produced by theprintspace, and available to buy through thehub.
Join us for the private view on Thursday November 24th by reserving your free ticket below.