Juno Birch Attacks!
Growing up in Manchester, Birch first discovered her love for beauty through the theatre. Eventually turning towards pottery and illustrations, she began using figures to represent her journey through her transition.
Bringing together the most delicious parts of the masculine and feminine, like five o’clock shadows and plump lips, Birch unites the sassier aspects of her identity into unified characters that are equal parts Mars Attacks!, Tim Burton and John Waters—but still effortlessly her own.
What was your first experience with makeup?
My first experience with makeup was probably when I was about 11 or 12 years old. It was before I came out as trans and I decided to dress up as The Joker for a drama club in Manchester. Secretly, I really, really enjoyed wearing the white makeup and big Jack Nicholson lips. I had mascara on too, which was the first time I’d seen my eyelashes enhanced.
If you had to compare your style to a cartoon, which would you choose?
If the Muppets was a cartoon, I’d definitely say the Muppets. My style is similar—with the unnatural bright skin tones and fluffy feathers with animal prints. To be honest when I go out on the weekend, I probably look just like a Muppet. But cartoon-wise I’d say my style slightly relates to Aaahh!!! Real Monsters.
You also make many illustrations. What comes first, the drawing or the sculpture?
I’d say the drawing usually comes first, but I don’t necessarily always plan out my sculptures on paper. Sometimes, I accidentally sculpt something that I like then I’ll draw it afterwards.
A lot of your drawings feature a pink and blue character—which is your favorite story you’ve created with them?
The blue and pink is usually a symbolic combination of the two stereotyped colors for birth gender, and a lot of the time, I like mixing them to make lavender, or mint green, or even a Simpson’s yellow. But my favorite story I’ve created is the supermarket scene. The blue and pink alien women shopping for their ‘human groceries,' like a pair of or bunch of breasts or body parts they fill their trolley with.
Are your ceramics more like representations or alter egos of yourself?
I’d say my sculptures are both representations and alter egos of myself. Some of them are a representation of my confidence, insecurities, self-love, past dysphoria and just stupidity; and some are alter egos, more confident or sassy versions of myself.
Where do you find inspiration?
A lot of my inspiration comes from movies like Mars Attacks!, Brazil and John Waters or sci-fi movies. I’m also inspired a lot by '50s, '60s and '70s fashion, decor and beauty.
What’s your favorite part of the body to sculpt?
I’d probably say the breasts, as they're the most circular and soft part of my characters’ bodies, and they contrast with the squared off heads and broad shoulders, Adam’s apple and stubble chins. But I also love drawing the small feet squished in the crippling tall platform heels.
What’s one pair of heels you’ve created that you’d be most excited to wear in real life?
Probably the cow shoes—they’re fabulous, controversial and so, so tall.
Aliens or martians—which do you prefer?
I like the word aliens better, but martians makes me think of my favorite movie, Mars Attacks!, and the character Martia played by the fabulous Glenn Close.
What are you reading right now?
Under the Skin by Michel Faber.