I am going to take you exclusively behind the scenes of our first cover shoot ‘9 lives’ for issue 03 ‘Cats and Hags’. As Editor, I created all of the set design myself in my studio space.
The concept of the shoot was to create a junk inspired kingdom belonging to a deluded cat queen.
For this scene I bought two shades of grey paint and literally painted every quirky prop I could find. I then took a special white marker and drew the outline of each shape. I cannot draw at all, but found this technique extremely relaxing and relatively easy, which was surprising to someone who struggles with even drawing stick men. I used a black pen to create some low lights and more outlines. After finishing this scene I was rather sick of grey paint, but in bulk the scene looked very effective.
Originally, this scene was actually meant for another editorial inspired by one of my favourite children’s books. I created all of this hard work for the publication and in the end they rejected my concept because Old Tat was not child friendly enough (blame it on the nipples in issue 01…) which was heartbreaking. However I truly believe everything happens for a reason and this scene was able to reach its true potential in an even more creative way!
This scene was built with a lot of paranoia and a steady hand. I built the glass tower infront of the garage door which often gets a lot of wind blown through, so I would pray each night before the shoot that the tower would still be standing. The structure was use with some old glass shelves and a skanky bit of carpet which I painted orange. I then used food colouring to create different shades of orange in some of the jars. I like to think of the character in this scene as a cat piss collector.
The gold fish were added last minute and hated being in the small bowls. As they thrashed around they would splash poor Maisie the model in the face!
I picked this toy pram up in a charity shop for £2 months before we had even planned our cover. I had no idea what we would use it for but could not turn down such a bargain.
My grandmother helped by sewing ref fabric which matched the table heads scene over the original seating of the pram. The tricky part was getting the cat to stay in the pram. The stylists were extremely paranoid he was going to run off with their very expensive necklace.
I wanted to create more of an installation rather than just a backdrop. My 3D tower was achieved by starving my recycling bin and collecting copious amounts of plastic bottles and other lightweight junk. I built my tower from the bottom up, ensuring it had structure and told a story, rather than being flat in shape.
Bleeding rose wall was achieved by dried ivy leaves, synthetic roses and splodges of wet paint. Rather than going for a tradition fairytale feel for the roses, we wanted a dramatic touch. My floor is still stained.
Heads in table:
This scene was destined to be a double page spread but it was not until I was constructing the table decorations in my head that I realised we could literally wrap the image around the covers and have a unique cover.
The scene was inspired by a series of ‘head in jars’ portraits I shot at University. I had already experienced how to saw a hole in a table and thus this scene was extremely easy for me to create. The difficult part was getting my cat Tiggy’s head into the table.
Inspiration for plants scene:
One thing I learnt doing this set was that plants are ridiculously expensive! They now make a nice touch in my living room.
Toys and cats:
I was thrilled to find a toy cat who looked extremely similar to my own cat baby, Tiggy. He hated the toy – he hates anything cuter than him.
The black Persian cat is also a toy, which stands up and from a distance looks extremely realistic. It makes for a great prank to scare my granddad.
Words by Loo Loo Rose