How We Met: Toiletpaper

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari’s biannual art magazine is much loved by the creative world for its seductively surreal imagery. We speak to the duo about the decision to set up shop together, and why a typical Toiletpaper shoot could be compared to an orgy

Before they first collaborated on W magazine’s annual art issue in 2009, both Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari were already well-established names in the creative world. Cattelan was best known for his absurdist artworks depicting everything from celebs to taxidermied animals, while Ferrari had shot campaigns for the likes of Nike and Mercedes-Benz.

A year on from the W magazine project, Toiletpaper was born. Working alongside the biannual art magazine’s Art Director Micol Talso, Cattelan and Ferrari have carved out a niche for themselves crafting images that fuse the vernacular of commercial imagemaking with witty tableaux and surrealism.

Cattelan and Ferrari’s unique approach to imagemaking has also captured the attention of commercial clients, including Kenzo and OkCupid, for whom they recently created its playful DTF advertising campaign. Here, the duo discuss what a day in the life of Toiletpaper magazine looks like, and how to make a creative partnership stand the test of time.

Maurizio Cattelan and Pierpaolo Ferrari

Creative Review: How did you first meet?
Maurizio Cattelan: One day my camera broke and Pierpaolo lent me his, and that’s all! Speaking seriously, the founding Creative Director of W magazine Dennis Freedman asked us to create a fashion shoot with the model Linda Evangelista in 2009. Dennis was so happy with it and, most of all, so were we. So we thought it would be a good idea to give things a try, and so that shoot was the very beginning of our ongoing collaboration.

CR: What was the idea behind Toiletpaper when you set up the magazine?
Pierpaolo Ferrari: Our secret is that [when we were bringing the magazine to life], we always pretended to be in a kitchen. Each Toiletpaper image is like the recipe of a delicious and at the same time lethal dish. We both have a checkered apron and loads of ideas and recipes, coming from our family traditions. Toiletpaper is the result of these two culinary tastes mixed together.