Julian Quaye's haunting and enigmatic figures have curious origins. Quaye says
'Sometimes my characters are influenced by people I meet, or often people I read about. As I work with the painting, I find they become voices in my head of well-known actors playing their part. For example, as I was creating Lou, he reminded me of Kevin Spacey's character in LA Confidential – Jack Vincennes.
'Badger Magraw has the voice of Brendan Gleeson,
'the Rhino sounds like Ray Winston (with a strange mixture of East End and Eastern European accent),
'the Leopard - Patrick Stewart
'and the Elephant is James Earl Jones - the voice of Darth Vader.
'Other character voices that float around in my head are those of Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, Liam Neeson, Sean Bean, Warren Clarke, Maxine Peak and Robbie Coltrane as the Polar Bear.'
About the parallel world inhabited by his characters he says
'All the characters are childhood imaginary friends/ psychopomps and this is where they reside when they are not in our world. Their world is a reflection of our world, so whatever is happening in our history, is also happening in theirs – only slightly differently. The teddy bear that you see at the end of the bed at night - his world is not all cuddly - it’s red in tooth and claw. They are seen in our world by children and others like the character played by James Stuart in Harvey with his 6ft Pooka white rabbit.'