Fanny Papay

Step into a technicolour dreamworld at the intersection of analog and digital with Fanny Papay, whose fantastical work is the focus of today's Talent...

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Describe your work in three words...
Experimental, surreal, dreamlike.

What first sparked your interest in design?
I have never really been interested in any other topic. There wasn’t one single point when I became interested in design—it’s been a long process.

Are there any particular visual or conceptual references that you draw upon throughout your work?
There are some key visual elements that frequently appear in my work, like vivid colours or gradients, or cloudy patterns. I’m always scrolling Instagram, taking screenshots whenever I see something interesting. So many other things inspire me—from well-known twentieth century artists like Salvador Dalí to more contemporary artists, designers and art directors like Dom Sebastian, Lazy Mom, Aleia Murawski and Signe Pierce. There are also several online platforms which I follow, particularly Dazed and Confused and Toiletpaper Magazine.

My aesthetic is very instinctive, I guess, but the visual culture of the ‘80s and ’90s has a big influence upon it.

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Talk us through your working process—how do you go about bringing an idea to life?

I always carry notebooks with me in my bag, so that I can write my ideas up anywhere. From these notes I select the best idea, and then I start to work to develop it. Usually, my work is photo-based, so I begin by gathering and collecting all the props that are needed for the photo, and then once the photography is done, the post production can begin. 

My approach to the photography differs depending on whether I’m making still images or videos. When I make stills, I’m usually using white objects, and sometimes a white background, because later I can change all colours or pattern on it. If I’m working on a video it has to be a lot more precise, and everything must be perfect first time around, because it’s much harder to change things later.

What role does experimentation play within your practice?

I really like to create exciting material pairings—bringing simple things together to make something really new.

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Tell us about a recent project you've particularly enjoyed...
I recently designed a poster for a techno club called Lärm. My favourite type of work is music-related—music gives meaning to the surrealistic world of my work, as if I were showing the music with the image. It’s like creating a new world which affects more than one of the senses at the same time. I think it’s so exciting.

What would be your dream project?
It could be many things, but maybe the best of the best would be to create an album cover for one of my favourite musicians—someone like Toro Y Moi or Childish Gambino.

What are you working on now, and what's next for you?
Right now, I'm working on an experimental video series with flowers and sulphuric acid. Really joyful work. My next project will be a collaboration, with Adri Kovacs. We will be creating bags about dreams and about the few seconds after waking in the morning, when you are not sure what is real and what is not.
Fanny Papay on Facebook

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