© The Artist


Justine Smith (1971 – )


86.5 X 112.5 X 28.5
Accession number


I began making papier mâché animals when I was at art college. They were partly inspired by Egyptian cat coffins and mummies at the British Museum in London. The creation of papier mâché figures started off when I made figures of some of my friends. The theme developed and I began to make more totemic pieces or charms that light-heartedly represent aspects of everyday life, both real and imaginary.

It was whilst walking across my local park that I became fascinated with the different characters of the dogs I encountered. When making a new piece I take photographs of the dogs, thereby getting a feel for their ‘personality’ by the way they interact with my camera and me. I make sketches and then a wire frame around which the sculpture of papier mâché is formed. The final layer is paper taken from the cartoons of the Beanocomic, a British classic. The mischievous, playful and colourful stories in the comic add vibrancy to the piece, representing the character of the animal itself.

The Beano was first published on 30 July 1938 and contained stories and cartoons for boys and girls. Over the years it moved to become a cartoon strip comic and introduced the world to Dennis the Menace, Lord Snooty and Rodger the Dodger. Visit the website at www.beanotown.com.

Reclaimed Recycling in Contemporary British Craft and Design, The British Council 1999