The Strange Case Company showcases the collective work of BAFTA and RSA award winning designers Jamie Durrant and Wayne Coley. Established in 2009, they playfully blend striking imagery with counterintuitive juxtapositions and intricate, fine details. The company produces a range of unique prints that are available to buy via The Strange Case Company website and through select galleries.
Starting with an interest in mysterious objects and the stories – both imaginary and real – that can weave historical items together, Durrant originally launched The Strange Case Company to produce cabinets of curiosities filled with exotic collections of Victorian memorabilia. While these intriguing creations have proved to be highly sought after, however, the production process entails that only a small number can ever be produced. With Durrant being joined by Coley to help steer The Strange Case Company in new directions, the pair decided to distill the ethos of the cabinets into a series of two-dimensional artworks accessible to a wide audience.
Where Durrant’s cabinets collected curious items in a single housing, The Strange Case Company prints continue the tradition of cataloguing, categorizing and displaying the obscure and the reimagined. Engaging their shared interests in all things eclectic and esoteric – from Victorian curiosities and taxidermy to the iconography of Americana and Great Britain – Durrant and Coley have also ensured their imagery is defined by a modern, playful aesthetic.
The prints frequently take historical or easily recognizable objects as a starting point and overlay them with unexpected motifs, forcing the viewer to look again at visual tropes and what they represent. A recurring theme is to take objects commonly associated with macho or masculine obsessions and to inject them with a lighter, more feminine tone. Examples include the Skull Toile series, which combines the striking outline of animal skulls with the floral patterns of toile fabric, and the Plate Series, which features the intricate reworking of both guns and skulls.
Viewing their work as the product of cooly executed design, rather than artistic self-expression, Durrant and Coley both benefited from successful design careers before joining forces as The Strange Case Company. After an interrupted stint at art college, Durrant started work in TV and film production design, including time assisting revered special effects expert Geoff Portass. Durrant then went on to work in museum animatronics and video game design, for which he was awarded a BAFTA. Having originally studied product design at Ravensbourne college, Coley’s career has seen him more involved in the aesthetics and practicalities of interior and landscape design. He achieved an RSA award for his design work for Reebok.