City Kitty Collab: D7606 and C3
D7606 was the first artist from Europe to reach out to me about doing a collab. His fun colorful images of cultural iconography such as old rotary phones, crayons, and old glass soda bottles became a great jumping off point for my characters to interact with everyday objects. I also enjoy the contrast of using a strong printed piece mixed with my hand drawn work. I knew C3’s drawings from my trips to London. I have always been drawn to the character she created, and the thought out placement of her pieces; finding her girls sitting in the corners of doors or windows. I knew both of their work separately before I found out they are a couple! I was excited to sit down with these two talented artists for my first collaboration with a couple.
A few of my collaborations with D7606 over the past 3 years
CK: Do you want to grab one of your pieces that we can start with as a jumping off point?
D7606: Sure thing! C3, do you think I should grab a telephone or the telephone box piece to start off?
C3: Go with the telephone box, that’s what everyone wants!
CK: C3, what types of drawing materials do you want? I have colored pencils and markers.
C3: Well you have reds so that’s good! Colored pencils will be fine.
D7606: I picked a piece with Twiggy in a telephone box and I went with the orange color because the color is very you, CK! I’m going to grab my bits of paper that I use for collages.
CK: Do you mind if I cut your piece in half before I glue it down?
D7606: Not at all!
C3: Well you got it easy, D. Now you can just sit back and watch!
CK: So did you meet through street art?
C3: We did! When I was in Birmingham I would see D’s work on my morning commute. I was posting pictures of his work on Instagram, and just when I thought I had found them all he reached out to me to tell me about a few I missed, and we started hanging out from then on.
D7606: At first I didn’t even realize she was an artist. It wasn’t till we started following each other on Instagram that I realized that I had been photographing her work as well!
CK: Do you two collab often?
C3: I don’t collaborate in general. But we have done a few.
D7606: Well you’ve done a number of collabs with Wordsmith...
C3: Well that’s true I do love working with Wordsmith!
CK: Now as a street art couple that travels a lot, you see so many different artist and scenes. What city do you think currently has the most thriving street art scene?
D7606: I would say right now aside from New York, if you asked me where do I want to be this week I would say Berlin. I love what Urban Nation is doing in Berlin with their mural curation. They give lesser-known artists walls and really mix it up! Plus Berlin still has all the tags and grime as well.
CK: I was blown away by the street art and graffiti scene the first time I went to Berlin. It’s so freeing as a street artist. The only time anyone said anything to me about pasting up was a Dad and his son who stopped to watch me put a piece up and said “das teddy bear!”
CK: Now D not only are you an artist but you are also known for your street art photography. Riding both sides of the scene you can see how much areas and artists have changed over the years just by going back and looking through your photos. Are there artists that have inspired you as you’ve watched their careers grow?
D7606: Oh god yes! In the beginning, in London, I was looking at artists like Mr. Fahrenheit and Stikki Peaches. Especially in 2012, because of the scene in London before and after the Olympics. Of course, I was also drawn to Shepard Fairey and Space Invader. I use to stay up watching YouTube videos of Shepard pasting up. I loved the buckets and the big rollers with paste everywhere! I was never much for drawing, but a lot of the paste ups I was seeing at the time reminded me of the black and white collaged punk zines I use to help my friend make back in the day which encouraged me to give it a try.
CK: You mentioned that you use Photoshop to make your work where C3 makes all of her pieces by hand. Have you ever inspired each other to cross over to one another’s realms?
C3: For me the paper is a key element to my work. I like working on newspaper and old letters so I don’t think working with a computer would allow me to achieve what I’m looking for in my work. The different paper I use, and the fact that they are hand drawn make each one of my pieces unique.
CK: I’m just curious. With me and Shannon, for instance, I have seen some cross over in our work as we grow as artists and as a couple. We have started working on pieces together as well, but every journey is different. I just don’t know that many couples that are both artists.
C3: Well we do help each other. I’ve really helped D with color; where D is one of my best critics and will push me to create more.
CK: One thing I’m always curious about is what draws an artist to use the street as a platform for their work?
C3: For me it’s knowing that I can connect with people. When someone finds one of my girls I might be able to brighten their day.
D7606: For me, as a photographer, when I find a piece it’s just as much about the placement and the context. I’m really thinking about how my work is going to look through the eye of the lens. I also like the hunt that goes with putting work on the street as an artist and a photographer; it’s a scavenger hunt as far as where to place the work and where to find it.
CK: The streets can give amazing context to an artist's work, but I think it can also become a crutch. Many street artists, myself included, struggle with composition when creating a gallery piece because you have to create a world for your characters to live in.
C3: It all depends what kind of artist you want to be and what you want to say. Placement and context are big aspects of my practice. I will sometimes go to a city and not put anything up if I don’t find the right spot. We were walking around Bushwick yesterday and found one of my girls in the corner of a door from our first trip here in 2015. She had faded into what I call a ghost girl where I can just see the outline of her. I love nothing more when my pieces decay and nature has eaten away at them. For me I would rather see my work like that than brand new so I’m not sure a gallery would be right for me.
CK: I can’t argue with that; we all find our path to the look we want, especially artists that are making their pieces by hand. I was making pieces with Artista Urbana from Spain for a while, and he only paints on old newspaper. I work on a heavy paper because I’m heavy handed. I’ve always been intrigued by artists like you, C3, and Swoon for instance, that make work on paper that dissolve and crumble with such beauty, which is really anti-gallery. We are taught as artists to think and worry about the archival nature of work but that can never be the case with a street artist.
CK: Do you want to start putting down some of these torn bits D?
D7607: Of course! I’ve got loads of them. Let me just pick out a choice few.
CK: Now D, unlike C3 you have collaborated with a bunch of people, and were the first person from overseas to reach out to me about making a collab. What started you collaborating with other artists?
D7606: In the beginning most people contacted me. It was easy at first because I was mainly focusing on the phone box, and it’s simple enough to put someone’s character in there. As I started making other objects like the sunglasses I make I realized I had a lot more options. I could place characters in the lenses of the glasses, place the glasses on characters, or add them onto advertisements on the street. Again, going back to helping my friend make collages for his zines.
CK: Another aspect I’ve always appreciated about your travels is how you both put up your friends work as well as your own on your adventures. It’s an aspect of the street art community that really shows the warmth and kindness of the people involved.
D7606: When I think about what’s in my backpack there’s more work from other people than my own. There are a few of my friends from the U.S. that ended up having a following in London before they ever traveled there because we all help each other out. I went to Amsterdam recently and stumbled upon a paste of mine that I didn’t put up and I never even gave the artist my work.
CK: There is an aspect of the culture that reminds me of trading cards in the way one's work gets passed around if you start sending it out.
CK: C3, Do you want to switch sides?
C3: Sure thing!
CK: You also both travel around to a lot of street art festivals. Do you have a favorite that you keep going back to?
C3: Upfest in Bristol is great but it’s getting quite large now. Though because of the size, everyone from the area comes, so it’s a great time to meet up with friends. Nuart in Aberdeen is a new one, but it’s great because the locals have really embraced the festival.
D7606: It was great showing up the first year in Aberdeen, and meeting the guys from Brooklyn Street Art. They were running the tours around town. There’s also a lot of paste up and stickers happening there as well, which is a nice change from just murals, and it brings in more local artists as well. We actually, over the years, have become the unofficial people pasting up doors and such at a few of these festivals. In Aberdeen they even started pointing us out on the tours which is nice.
CK: Do you introduce yourself to a lot of these artists you cover at these festivals?
D7606: We're not the most social people, and I don’t like bothering an artist while they work, so I reach out to them later on. Sometimes they message back, annoyed that I didn’t say hello!
CK: Are there any artist you want to meet?
C3: There is one for me. I would love to meet Tara McPherson. She influenced me massively, and I’ve always been a fan of her work. We went to her store, Cotton Candy Machine, a number of times over the years, and met her partner once. He brought us up to the roof, and allowed us to paste up on the old location in Williamsburg.
CK: I’ve always loved her work going back to the years I was creating gig posters for bands. I actually showed with her years ago at a poster show in Portland called The Art of Musical Maintenance.
D7606: Well I’ve done nothing here have I!
C3: Well that’s the great thing about printing things out!
D7606: Well all of my work was done a long time ago. Usually at 2 or 3 in the morning when I need to be at work the following morning.
CK: Well I have no strings I can pull, but I hope next time you're in town you can meet at least one of those artists. But for now I’m just happy to sit down and spend sometime with the two of you. I had a blast working on this!
You can keep up with the adventures of C3 and D7606 by following them on instagram at @c_3 and @d7606art