On the origins of the clown motif, Tuttii explains, “I just love the whole outrageous, mischievous performance side to clowns, of not having to take life too seriously and being able to have a laugh”. The act of performance is a central part of their lives, when they are not at the salon they perform as video art duo CandyKONK, and are part of all-female ‘urban tribe’ Haus of Sequana, who have brought their multi-sensory performances to art venues including the Barbican Centre and Wellcome Collection.
Tuttii is the hairdresser at the helm of the salon, while Toni handles the visual side of the Tuttii Fruitti brand. Named ‘Tuttii Fruittii London LadyBoi Hair Sculptors’, the salon is the latest incarnation of their business, which has existed in various forms over the years – none of them conventional. For the last 4 years, Tuttii ran her salon out of a caravan which she transformed into a unique hair studio. Until recently, it was located in the schoolyard of the former Tidemill School in Deptford where she, along with several other artists, lived as property guardians. They were forced to leave the school and caravan when redevelopment of the area led to the school facing demolition to make way for luxury flats. A sad but increasing reality for many Londoners, Tuttii and Toni reflect on the crippling effect of rapid gentrification on small independent businesses like theirs. “It’s so hard to start a business in London and have the money to survive” Toni says, “there are so many people with brilliant ideas and they just can’t make them happen. That caravan was a really amazing gift for us. Without those 4 golden years of building a business and name for ourselves we wouldn’t be here today”. Tuttii adds, “alternative creative spaces are becoming so hard to find in London. Everything is so controlled now, every piece of land has got something happening on it”.
In a happy twist of fate, the barbershop which Tuttii had had her eye on for years became available to rent at the exact same time that they were forced to leave the school. “Literally as soon as we were evicted we saw the sign in the window for this shop” Tuttii explains, “it was a bit of a blessing in terms of timing. I used to walk past this shop nearly every day and I’d always say, “this is going to be my shop one day” and it was just amazing that the universe delivered”.