Ferrari described how a typical Toiletpaper image comes about, beginning with rough sketches or simple ideas bounced between himself and Cattelan. By way of example, Ferrari showed me some representative drawings—heads exploding into nuclear mushroom clouds, or men being kicked in the groin.
These lo-fi inspirations are translated into incredibly slick photographs during intensive studio sessions; each issue of Toiletpaper takes between 5 and 10 days to complete. The goal, Ferrari said, is a “re-elaboration of what you see every day,” but “seeing it again in a surprising way.” Their creative process can be appropriately surreal, as he described: “It’s a bag, then you make a hole, you put a cat inside….”
Animals have, indeed, been prominent in the studio. In one image, a gang of snakes writhe atop a sculptural assortment of cymbals. (“They were moving and often escaping from the set,” Ferrari recalled. “All the girls were screaming.”) In another, an assortment of kittens, ducklings, and one smirking Chihuahua pose inside antique food containers. “We love animals as much as we love humans,” he said. “It’s always a challenge because you don’t know how it will end. We have a very devoted animal trainer.”