Before we begin, let me preface by saying that I’ve never conducted an interview in my entire life. I leave that sort of thing to Kerri. That being said, I discovered Rainworks!, a group of friends creating water-activated street art in Seattle, Washington and was thrilled when the group’s founder, Peregrine Church agreed to take some time to chat about the project. Rainworks! creates fun, upbeat messages and graphics around the city that are invisible until they are hit with water.
Can you tell me Rainworks’ origin story? How did this all come about?
A few years ago I saw this video that was going a little viral on YouTube. It was about this material that repels water and I thought it was pretty interesting. I thought maybe someone could use it to do something cool.
I can’t help but notice your accent, where are you from?
Seattle. A friend of mine from Australia is staying with me for a little while. I’m trying to make them more comfortable and I figured I could use this interview to practice my accent.
Do you have a day job or are you a secret billionaire a la Bruce Wayne?
[laughs] No, no, this is my thing now. I traveled around doing magic for a while but now I just do this.
Magic as in…magic magic? Like, sawing people in half and pulling rabbits out of hats?
Yeah, exactly. I like to do things that make people happy. Now I just do Rainworks. We’ve been getting some commissions now, which is great. I do whatever I can think of to make the world a little sillier.
Are you into street art in a big way? If so, who are your favorite artists?
Um, no, not really. I love things that make the world a more interesting place. I love creating novelty and inspiring other people to do the same.
What’s something that you hate about doing Rainworks? How do you get past it?
Hate about it? Nothing, honestly. I mean, we have to go through this process to preserve the floating parts of letters when we make the stencils. It’s really time-consuming and tedious. As for getting past it, I mean, we are working on a better process, but for now I just kind of deal with it.
What’s the most beautiful thing that you’ve ever seen?
[the Australian accent is now gone] Um, wow—hard questions much? You’ve seriously never interviewed anyone before?
No, and sorry. Just whatever comes to mind when I asked the question. We can come back to it if you want.
No, no, it’s fine. There was this one time, I was heading north on 99 [in Washington] and it was a really beautiful, clear day. I was between these two mountain ranges, on my left were the Olympics and on the right were the Cascades. It was just this overwhelming effect of being surrounded by this awesome…geography. Yeah, that was really beautiful.
Any plans to go international? The UK perhaps? They get some rain.
We’ll go anywhere. Wherever we are commissioned. We have something in the works for France, actually.
At this point, we get a bit off topic of the interview and start talking about the point of Rainworks! and the messaging. We also discuss some other street artists using alternative mediums like 3-D printing and resin casting, to which Church responds, “See? That’s awesome. It drives me crazy when people don’t try new things and say that they are bored.”
Okay, so back to the questions. Let’s say that you can’t use any superhydrophobic coatings for a day. What other medium would you like to try?
I actually just tried this thing the other day, with mirrors. I took a bunch of really small, like 2×2 mirrors and positioned myself north of this big building in downtown Seattle. So, the light was hitting south. I set up the mirrors so that the light reflected and made this giant image on the side of the building. Yeah, that was pretty fun. I don’t know, stuff like that.
I have to ask about your name, it’s my favorite bird. How did you parents choose it?
Oh yeah? It’s my favorite too. Well, obviously, I guess. My parents are like, these huge nature lovers and really into birds. Plus, my dad had a friend since childhood named Perry. So, yeah. That’s really how that happened.
Note: Church is in the process of publishing his process, materials used and downloadable stencils to make Rainworks! an open-source project.
Photos Courtesy of Rainworks!
Check out this video below and see Rainworks! in action:
Read the 5Qs and see how Peregrine answered our speed round of questions, HERE.
You can find out more about Rainworks! by visiting www.rain.works