Interview with Lana Alana from Animaux Circus

From sticking up paste ups in leafy Surrey. To getting down and dirty with a spray can in the famous Leake Street tunnel. This is the upcoming journey for Lana Alana. One third of the popular design and mural grouping Animaux Circus. She is preparing to take part in the Femme Fierce all female takeover. Due to take part in the famed graffiti tunnel on International Women’s Day Saturday 8th March.

The event is something that Lana is looking forward to. “I woke up one morning and I thought I’d just go on twitter. I always get carried away by this sort of stuff. One link leads to another and another and you can just go on forever it’s great”. This led to Femme Fierce which piqued her interest. “I started to google it and just thought wow what a cool project” she told me.

Lana at her studio in Stoke Newington
Lana at her studio in Stoke Newington
An Animaux Circus sign hides behind some of Lana's colourful art
An Animaux Circus sign hides behind some of Lana Alana’s colourful art

Lana Alana and Animaux Circus

Normally operating as part of the multi-faceted design and street art crew Animaux Circus. This year represents a spreading of the wings. The Femme Fierce event is an enabler to that. Still an active part of Animaux Circus it’s an opportunity to work more individually as well as in a collective. The event in Leake Street will really be the first time that Lana Alana has painted a large scale mural alone. “I’ve always really done it with Animaux Circus” she tells me. “Or I’ve always gone painting with them and our work has sort of merged together. Whether it’s supposed to or not so I’m quite excited about just seeing my own design”.

Animaux Circus formed when Lana and her friends Margot and Rory met at university in Farnham. Studying Graphic Design they realised that their styles could work well together. The name comes from a shared love of animals. One place a number of animals can be seen together is in a circus. The French angle on the name is a recognition of the different nationalities within the group. Lana and Rory are English and Margot is French. Their first project together was a series of paste ups around the leafy suburbs of Surrey. “I don’t know if you’ve been to Farnham? But it’s a bit posh” she laughs. An inauspicious start to street art perhaps, but from there the seed was sown.

Paints and Pens all the hallmarks of an active studio
Paints and Pens all the hallmarks of an active studio
A cool little Sloth painted onto the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch
A cool little Sloth painted onto the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch

Art Inspirations

Meeting Lana at her studio in Stoke Newington it’s clear where she gets her inspiration. Sharing a space as she does with three other artists. One of Margot’s bears takes pride of place on a wall by her desk. Nestled amongst drawings of frogs by Rory and colourful signs written by Lana herself. The three merge their work together well. It’s interesting to see up close their individual styles. Then how they are combined within the frame of a larger mural.

“We really like tropical stuff and we’re really interested in travelling and other cultures, their patterns and painting. Trying to take inspiration from a lot of stuff like that” she told me. “We like Mexican painted walls and we like African patterns and all sorts of stuff like that. We like to do things which are quite jolly and upbeat. You don’t always feel that way especially in London on a day like this”. It’s been raining a lot by the time we meet. “We like to do stuff which just makes us and hopefully other people a bit happier when they look at it”.

It’s clear Lana really enjoys painting as part of a trio. The synergy present in the work of Animaux Circus is clear to see when the finished work is presented. Intriguing then to see what Lana will produce as a solo artist. Albeit for just one event initially.

Lana Alana Gallery

Lana Hughes in her studio where a lot of the Animaux Circus magic is created
Lana Alana in her studio where a lot of the Animaux Circus magic is created
Some of Lana's work at the Queen of Hoxton
Some of Lana’s work at the Queen of Hoxton. Photo thanks to Lana
Coolest car ever by Animaux Circus.  Photo thanks to Lana
Coolest car ever by Animaux Circus. Photo thanks to Lana
It's all about the bees and honey, great example of signwriting on this large piece.  Photo thanks to Lana
It’s all about the bees and honey, great example of signwriting on this large piece. Photo thanks to Lana
Tropical Mural by Animaux Circus
Tropical Mural by Animaux Circus
The circus in action
The circus in action. Photo thanks to Lana
One of my favourite pieces by Animaux Circus
One of my favourite pieces by Animaux Circus. Photo thanks to Lana
Lana Alana (Still)

The second article in the Inspiring City series of interviews looking at Female Street Artists. Lana Alana was interviewed at her studio in Stoke Newington on Tuesday 28th January 2014. She will be taking part in the Femme Fierce Leake Street takeover on Saturday 8th March 2014, International Women’s Day. Other articles in the series feature Steffi Bow and Artista.

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