Liz and Kate Pope, otherwise known as 'The Pope Twins' have a sibling relationship which is more like best friends. Living only a stone's throw away from each other and working together five days a week, drawing and collaging over cups of tea! We were thrilled when Liz could take the time to sit down with us to dive into their artistic background and share the secrets of their collaborative methodology...
Where are you (both) currently based?
We both live in Chesterfield Derbyshire on the edge of the Peak District. Kate drives over to my house every morning, just five minutes away. We work in a spare bedroom/studio at Liz's house!
Are you trained or self-taught?
We went from Chesterfield art collage to Staffordshire University together, both studying surface pattern design. Kate mainly enjoyed experimenting with colour and pattern and I focused much of my time on illustration. We were given lots of live briefs with companies such as Marks and Spencer's, great preparation for a career in art after uni.
That is definitely great preparation! How did you go on to become full-time artists?
Both of us were lucky enough to show our work at New Designers in Islington shortly before graduating. Such a good spring board for trade to pick up fresh work from students. We both got small briefs through the post and naturally helped each other. We then decided to team up with an agent, Advocate who we've been working with for the last 15 years!
Are there any mediums you prefer?
We experimented with so many mediums during our degree, drawing, illustration, collage, layering techniques, and so we've continued to do so in our artworks today! We love to mix everything up a bit.
How do you approach a collaborative piece? Do you each have an area of expertise?
I am at my happiest just simply drawing with pencil and paper, so I'm often the sketcher! I then pass the drawings over to Kate who will apply colour and pattern. We find this works perfectly for our commercial briefs, unless we are really busy, then we both chip in anywhere we can! For one off art pieces though we go our separate ways a little.
Do you have a signature style?
My work is definitely more illustrative, always with a naive line quality. Kate's is quite bold in colour, often creating a patchwork landscape in her paintings. Our commercial projects are quite collage based, which is often described as a signature 'Pope Twin' thing!
The Pope Twin Thing is definitely adored by many. Where or who do you draw inspiration from?
Our inspirations mainly come from our travels, we are always out exploring in our spare time. We both love Cornwall. Kate loves Thailand too, especially the food! And I enjoy city breaks, London and Barcelona have so much culture to soak up. We often piece together unusual little colour ways from our travels too, which can create some exciting results.
Lovers of Cornwall - you're ladies after our own hearts! What's your favourite place down here?
My favourite place in Cornwall is Padstow, I have a bright green VW camper van, and we've found a great little campsite in walking distance to the Harbour. Kate has a soft spot for St.Ives, she loves the hustle and bustle, and takes lots of pics here for her paintings.
A VW camper! How marvelous! How about at home, what's your style like there?
Kate’s home is modern, with quirky splashes of colour, including a bright pink splash back in her kitchen! Mine is an older Victorian terrace, which we are still restoring ten years down the line! We both love our gardens too, we get it from our mum who has extra green fingers!
Any favourite eats?
Somewhere that serves Thai and triple cooked homemade chips!
We're with you there! Triple cooked chips, yum yum! What’s been your coolest ‘pinch me’ moment?
Our coolest 'pinch me moment' would have to be when 'Wanda's First Day' came through the post. It's the first book we ever illustrated, for Chicken House. We were so excited to see the little characters in print!
How wonderful. What’s next for you ladies?
We've just created some exciting new pieces for Whistlefish based on New York and Dubai, and can't wait to add to this collection in 2017! Will also be busy over the next couple of months illustrating a crossword book for children and more colouring books for adults.