We were both brought up reading a lot of books, without realising their influence on our choice in illustration and the creative industry. Books such as The Jolly Postman, Clarice Bean and The Queen’s Knickers. There are also particular TV shows like Art Attack that were on weekly and we both agree inspired creativity from a young age – running around the house helplessly looking for toilet paper tubes in order to make a castle! The content of the books growing up was so important, it taught valuable life lessons, while the illustrations allowed you to connect with the book at a young age. I think we are one of the last major age groups to be brought up within a less digitally dominant upbringing.

The first time we properly met was at Halloween in our second year of uni in Manchester. After we both had attended the same party dressed as aliens, we decided to call ourselves “illustraliens”. After that Halloween we pretty much became best mates. When it came to third year, we had so many conversations about what we wanted to do after uni. We wanted to keep the momentum of our practice that we had created in the uni studio. From there came the idea to start a collective, and Small Fry was born.

The name came from a meal Maisy read off a bar called Common’s menu in the Northern Quarter – and immediately thought it would be a sweet and humble name. Small Fry are primarily a two-man collective, the aim being to work together to put on events that will act as a platform for other creatives. As well as this, we want to start creating publications under the Small Fry Collective umbrella, and most importantly be an exciting support network for us post-uni. It is so important to keep our practices and connections going with fellow students after we’ve finished, and Small Fry will hopefully allow us to do so.

There have been a lot of times throughout the year when we have asked each other for ideas and opinions and to work things through together. We are very similar in the way that we work through problems and hash them out; that’s why we’re so compatible to have a collective together. We sit back to back in the studio, so we genuinely know each other’s work inside and out and can easily hash problems out together. Journals are also a massive part of both of our practices – I think if you tried to read them you would think we’re mad. We both write down, stick in, document and draw quite literally everything that could become of use. This documenting in the future can help solve a creative problem.

For the next year we’re both staying in Manchester, as we’re getting Small Fry progressing. We’re currently organising and discussing future events and what Small Fry can be within the creative industry in Manchester.

 

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