Oh Papa is the illustrating alter ego of Caitlin Duennebier an American creative from Massachusets who’s transplanted herself in London by way of an exchange programme at University of the Arts. Since graduation she’s been working hard building a base of freelance clients that come to her for witty, slightly grotesque drawings of shirtless, hairy-legged hillbillies getting themselves in all sorts of trouble with bare-breasted crones. We fell in love with Caitlin’s work for her brilliantly crude renderings of human faces. In a few simple brushstrokes she’s capable of creating the most malicious, toothy scowl on a fleshy pink head; a skill we reckon is pretty worthwhile.
Anyway, more importantly than our assessment of her work, here’s what she had to say for herself…
Where do you work?
Panther House Studio building in Clerkenwell. It’s hard sharing a studio with panthers.
How does your working day start?
I usually make a list of crucial things that need to get done that day, check emails and accumulate strange images I find online. Clients often want small changes to an illustration so I spend most days drawing, scanning and photoshopping. With my own work I gain inspiration from odd things I see or hear day to day. I’m a real people watcher. I tend to write down things I’ve noticed in the morning and pin them to the wall.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I tend to have four projects going at once. I work on one depending on my mood. Sometimes I may be feeling a bit experimental and other times I want it to be very clean and perfect. I used to think I could only work in one medium but have embraced anything that will make the piece look as I imagined. I have a notebook full of grand ideas but my best work starts with a vague thought that ends up painting itself.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
Usually walking my dog, George, in Victoria Park. You’d probably see me awkwardly trying to pull him off a beagle named Henry – they are in love.
Would you intern for yourself?
Yes! Especially if it meant doing extensive research on hobos and pulling faces for myself to paint.