These are the type of comments I’m faced with from the so called better half when I show him choices of artwork we could possibly hang in our home. We’ve lived in our Victorian terrace for almost two years now. People who come into the house think we've either just moved in or we’ve been robbed. The walls are bare and the ‘homey’ feel isn’t quite there yet. Little did I know when I started what I called ‘Operation Homey’ (basically my excuse to buy things for the house) how difficult it would be for me to find artwork we BOTH liked, until I stumbled across artwork by El Famoso.
‘Wait… stop… let’s see that one again’ said my husband as I scrolled through what felt like the 100th option I showed him. It was Tat Girl in red. I love Tat Girl. Her demure eyes. The cigarette casually hanging from her pouting lips, and the juxtaposition of her girly bow and demure eyes with her bold tattoos. She not only made me long for a cigarette and put my mascara on, she made me want a tattoo, and I’ve never wanted one before. If you stare at her long enough, you can almost convince yourself she’s staring right back at you waiting for you to either look away or apologise to her for staring so intently. What my husband liked about Tat Girl? The fact that you could see her boobs ever so slightly…. Typical…. But I didn’t care. We finally agreed on one piece of artwork which meant we were one step closer to making our home look like a home and not a mental institution.
Pictured here, the Fairhead brothers at Lik Neon in Brick Lane XX Richard (Left ) Chris (Right)
El Famoso was started by two brothers Richard and Christopher Fairhead. The Fairhead brothers are prime examples of the quote I’m constantly seeing on Instagram. “Love what you do and never work a day…’. Their passion comes through their work, and their modern approach to business has enabled them to make a living being the creative souls they are. El Famoso really is a labour of love for the Fairhead brothers. ‘El Famoso's first official collaboration was a solo show and live mural called 'Gods Sketch Book' in 2011’ said Chris Fairhead. ‘It’s probably our favourite show to date, although, we didn't have a clue what we were doing we managed to sell out of pretty much everything. We started working together to make sure we had an excuse to work on more personal projects that we find more fun to do as opposed to some projects which is more about meeting a brief without any creative input. In recent years the creative fun side is starting to take over as a full-time business. We are selling prints over the world and working on lots of exciting live mural projects most recent in China for 'Levi's', East and South London for pop up shops like 'Eastpak' and 'Barcardi'. The humble brothers fail to mention the work for other big gun's such as Barclay's, Farah Vintage, Investec to name but a few showing the corporate world has even picked up on their successful relaxed approach to making a passion into a business.
Pictured here in Beijing when they collaborated with Levi’s. They promoted a new range of patches to accessorise Levi garments.
I always like to know about the artist before hanging their work in my home, so I asked the Fairhead brothers a few questions….
Where do you get your inspiration?
We collect our inspiration from lots of genres and mediums, a few that tantalise our minds and fingers to draw stuff are: warriors, monsters, Gods, Witch craft, animals, hand painted signs, Mr Kipling, toys, party food (nibbles), Jonny Cash, Russian Criminal and nautical tattoos, tribes, comics, heroes, screen prints, killer robots, bad films, graffiti, posters, black & white, fantasy, folk and some other bits and bobs.
How did you come up with the Name El Famoso?
El Famoso translates to ‘The Famous’, The Fairhead brothers sounded like bad English pub wrestler tag team…. ‘The devils lunch box’ and ‘underwater knife fight’ came real close.
Who are your favourite artists and why?
I think we couldn’t narrow it down to a few as there are so many old and new artists that motivate us to create and evolve our ideas and work, all very different but ruddy brilliant. A few that float our boats: Basquiat, Jon Boam, Richard Estes, Freako Rico, Mitch Blunt, David Shriley, Robert Rauschenberg, Lucy Kirk, Stevie Gee, Cachete Jack, Brecht Vandenbroucke, Ted Parker, We Are Fatherless and Steven Harrington.
Do you think Instagram has changed the way people buy art?
It’s definitely made a massive impact, being able to share and follow artists makes art and design so much more accessible. Its real nice seeing people like and comment on new work and sketches and being able to buy it up with ease to whack all over there walls at home.
Better together: the Fairhead brothers working on a boy's bedroom. 'A couple saw a mural we had done in a coffee shop called Mousetail in Whitechapel and got in touch to crack some bears dancing for there expected baby boy. It was real good old fun.’...Said Chris
What kind of home do you envisage your prints hanging in?
Any one with pure taste…. and at least one standing wall or some where
to lean a frame will do.
What is it like running a business as brothers? Does it make business decisions more brutal or truthful?
We both have similar humour so taking the pi$$ out of each other helps the truth come out subtly…. It’s pretty easy working together so we will keep on doing it… for a bit.
What advice do you have to those who are just starting out in business?
Be polite and personal to people you approach to collaborate with. Try and work with and meet new people all the time and don’t work with family.
Polite. Personal. Collaborate and creative. I think we couldn’t have chosen a better print for our first piece of artwork to be hung in the house…. Now to get around to buying a frame for Tat Girl and convincing the husband to hang it is another matter.
El Famoso prints are available on our website in the Wall Art section. Click here to shop.