We asked for something a little different, a lot Manchester, and little bit Christmassy – that is exactly what we got when Agathe Dananai submitted her design for the Cotton On crazy Christmas card competition. This design won because it was different, it was a little risqué, and it would stand out against any other Christmas card on your shelf.
We’ve been flooded with thank you’s, messages and Insta-stories of you all receiving your cards! Thanks guys!
As well as having the design printed on over 100 cards, Agathe won a goody bag thanks to our friends at Cass Art, two tickets to the next Art Battle event (thank you for your donations) and a feature on our post.
So we chatted with Agathe about the winning design and her art in general.
Agathe was born in France and after studying Fine Art, she travelled across Europe, studying further arts and running art projects.
Agathe Dananai: ‘After 3 years of studying Fine Arts in Tourcoing (in the North of France) I moved to Brussels and graduated in 2012 in Illustration at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. I lived there for 5 years and co-founded an artist-run-space project with friends, Brussels Art Department (BAD), dedicated to promote young artists within the independent local art scene.’
(That sounds like Cotton On Mcr *wink*)
After Brussels, Agathe moved to London and lived there for two years, before moving to Manchester, where she hopes to start another artist run project.
What we loved about the design of the card was that it felt unique to us, it was so Manchester with the chav on Market Street, wearing Rockport, flipping the bird – it felt almost reminiscent of the past, when chav’s first became a sub-culture, yet still rang true today, as people haven’t really changed. Plus, the card is filled full of Christmassy goodness, the tree, the presents… If you are a Mancunian and need to buy presents this Christmas, chances are you are going to have to walk down Market Street and see this scene. We asked Agathe how she came up with the design.
AD: ‘The design of the card is actually part of a bigger series I’ve worked on called Mccarthy project. It all started when I met 2 Irish cousins in a pub in Camden. One of them had £2000 in cash in his sock, and the other one ended up the night being hit by a hammer on the head. They said they were part of a famous gang in Limerick and showed me their page on Wikipedia. I added them on Facebook and saw them a couple more times. I just loved their aesthetic and what it says about being a gangster in the UK.I’ve work on that series for almost 2 years, and each drawing would take like 3/4 hours, sometimes more, depending on how detailed the scene was.’
We loved Agathe’s style of drawings and illustrations. Looking through her Instagram you see day-to-day life, recreated in a cartoon-like manor, as though you are flicking through an adult-themed comic book based on real thugs. We asked Agathe what type of art she prefers, where does her inspiration come from?
AD: ‘I’m more interested in figurative art, especially drawing and photography, usually something working around portraits, as I feel like it’s something I can relate to. In drawings it would usually be something that is quite naive in aspect and has some kind of dark humour, like in Simon Hanselmann’s graphic novels or what the group of artists Germes Gang are creating.’
So, what’s next for our winner?
AD: ‘I guess ideally I’d like to be able to live off my drawings, through illustrations collaborations and commissions, but also be able to work on other projects like curating exhibitions or running an independent art gallery.’
Massive Congratulations again Agathe, and thank you for a sweet design. We had some decent entries and we’d like to thank all those that took part. He’s a select few of some of the other entries we received.