WHAT YOU WANTED TO BE WHEN YOU WERE A KID
When I was a little kid I wanted to be a comic book artist, then when I was a bit older I started wanting to be a rock star, then a ‘fine artist’. Then in my mid-twenties I started wanting to be a comic book artist again. I guess I got distracted for a while. I also really wanted to be in Star Wars, just a minor background character would have been fine.
FAVOURITE MEDIUMS TO USE
Most of my work that I do at the moment is hand drawn then digitally coloured and for me that’s the best way to get the look that I want for the majority of the time. I was fairly slow in taking up digital processes but now I don’t know what I’d do without Photoshop and Illustrator.
I really enjoy painting too, I mainly only do it when it’s impossible to use digital colouring. Though for example recently I’ve painted a set of Russian dolls, a large scale mural for a web design company and a window display at a gallery, but if I had more time I’d like to do more painting.
MOST MEMORABLE CREATIVE MOMENT
Not so long ago I woke up and realised that I’d dreamed pretty much a whole comic book. The storyline was almost completely formed. It still needs a bit of work but I think it could be quite good. That was pretty cool. Felt like I was maximizing my productivity!
As far as times when I’ve actually been awake go, one of the most memorable recent moments has been the opening night of Kollektiv Gallery in Kemptown. It was such a great project to be a part of, there were so many lovely artists involved and it was really brilliant to see it all come together so well.
BEST PIECE OF CREATIVE INDUSTRY ADVICE
Keep working. I’ve heard it lots of different times from lots of different sources but I still think it’s the most important thing to keep in mind. At the end of the day it’s always going to be your work that people judge you on. The only way to keep improving is to keep working.
WORST PIECE OF CREATIVE INDUSTRY ADVICE
I am getting more and more disillusioned with the big emphasis on networking that everyone seems to have. Maybe that’s just because I’m rubbish at it! It’s nice going out and talking to people but as I said above, I think the most important thing is doing the work.
A lot of my major influences of recent years have been comics artists. Herge has been a huge favourite since childhood and has had a massive influence on my style. Daniel Clowes has been another big one, from a visually stylistic as well as a storytelling point of view. Also from a narrative angle the Hernandez Brother’s Love and Rockets series really stands out. Nobrow Publishers, too, have put out so much great stuff over the last few years.
FAVOURITE PIECE OF WORK TO DATE
The personal piece that I’m most happy with at the moment is ‘Hallelujah House’, I completed it a couple of months ago and it took a lot longer than I’d normally spend on a single image but I think its got a complexity to it that I’d like to work towards more often in my illustration. Each floor of the building represents one verse of the song ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen. It’s such an amazing song full of interesting references and it’s one of those rare songs that everyone has heard. I’ve kind of simplified it into a story of one dysfunctional relationship, but that’s how I read the song as a whole.
My favourite commission I’ve had so far was from a guy who asked me to create a one-off book that told the story of his relationship with his girlfriend and ended with a marriage proposal. It combined storytelling and illustration which I always really enjoy and I got to hand-bind the book which I love doing. She said yes, which was a relief to hear! It was a nice feeling that I was able to help in such an important part of someone’s life.
I’ve got a couple of Graphic Novels in my head that I really want to make. I’ve got pretty clear ideas of the story lines and how I want to draw them, I just can’t spare the time right now. If someone would like to give me some money to focus on one of those for a couple of months, that’d be pretty ideal. Otherwise I’ll keep working on them in the odd spare hour and maybe they’ll be drawn in a few years time.
WHERE YOU THINK YOU’LL BE IN 20 YEARS TIME
Wildly rich and incredibly famous… Ha, maybe… Twenty years from now it’ll be 2033! Hopefully we’ll all be living on a space station by then, getting served cyber-cocktails by robot butlers.
WHAT YOU THINK YOU MIGHT DO FOR THE VALENTINE ART SHOW?
I I’m generally a bit cynical about the whole Valentines Day thing (it just seems like a bit of a money-making scheme), so I think I’ll try to subvert the usual Valentines imagery in some way. As it’s going to be displayed at a tattoo convention, I might try to work in a bit of a tattoo feel to it; a couple of my recent pieces have used elements from traditional tattoos so maybe that would work. I wouldn’t like to commit to anything at this point though – I like to keep my work open to change for as long as possible.