Paper Planes: A merry band of illustrators

We interview the two creative entrepreneurs who founded Alexander’s Band, a South African collective of illustrators.

Illustrators and creative entrepreneurs Emma Cook and Arnelle Woker speak to us about the inspiration behind Paper Planes, the exhibition they created in collaboration with Design Indaba 2015. Cook and Woker are the co-founders of Alexander’s Band, a creative agency that represents established and emerging South African illustrators.

Inspired by a love for mythology and Penny Miller’s Myths and Legends of Southern Africa (“It’s a bible of awesome stories”), Paper Planes was a talent-packed group exhibition of illustrators who created work focussed on the theme of Southern African mythology and folklore. 

The exhibition featured 44 artists, who each illustrated stories and folklore including the Afrikaans tale of “Die Heks van Hex Rivier”, the classic Nguni tale of the menacing Tokoloshe, and the story of old Van Hunks’ smoking competition with the devil.

“I’ve always loved mythology since I was teeny-tiny,” says Cook “I loved Greek mythology and Egyptian mythology. Its always awesome.”

Woker and Cook built Alexander’s Band out of a love for the diversity of local talent, and with the desire to open up illustration as a career choice to young artists. “I don’t think a lot of people know that [illustration] is a possibility and you can pursue that,” Woker says.