Decode Magazine

Front Cover and inside interview for Decode Magazine.


When did you start doing graphics?
Even though I’ve done lots of different jobs, graphics has always featured in someway. When I left school I trained to be an aircraft engineer. In my spare time I would play in bands and get involved in theatre stuff. I would always be interested in producing all the publicity material and designing CD covers. Later on, I managed a ‘Quicky-Print’ shop in London. It was like having my own small studio. I would draw cartoons and create CD covers using a typewriter and a colour copier. Graphic design finally surfaced as my vocation, when I came to Bristol. I was working as an Arts Administrator at Circomedia, the Circus school based in Kingswood, and I began producing flyers for their productions. I started thinking why couldn’t this be my job, rather than something that had to fit around everything else.

Where do your images and concepts come from?
Most of my ideas come from the world around me. Seeing and collecting those funny and odd things that occur in everyday life. Anything from, a discarded glove on the pavement, to crazy mums doing the school-run in their 4x4’s. I’m trying to make sense of what seems at times a very senseless world. Basically I would rather create something, than become just a passive consumer, moving through life without putting anything new into the world.

Who is your inspiration? What is your inspiration?
Most creative people spend most of their time walking the thin line between trying to create interesting and inspiring work, and paying their bills. This need to justify themselves in terms of commercial potential eventually often destroys anything truly inspiring. Having said that, I’m inspired by by artists, filmmakers and musicians who are good at what they do. Their work is moving, compelling and leaves something with you. Personally, I’m inspired by the idea that I haven’t yet worked out how to make the best work I can.

So what are you, a Graphic Designer or something else?
When I did my Graphic Design degree at UWE, I was excited by the fact that the title, Graphic Design, could accommodate so many mediums and possibilities. During the course I mainly concentrated on producing moving image work combined with soundtracks that I had produced. People are always asking me, “so, what are you”. To me this is such a nothing question, designed by people who want to suppress creativity and protect their own interests. Now I am creating work that is mainly centered around illustrated images, all I know is that it feels exciting, and I feel motivated to produce good work. In a way, the creative processes are very similar, whatever medium the finished article is.

Software vs Drawing
I don’t think it’s necessary to able to draw or use software. For me, a big breakthrough has been having the confidence to find my own voice and style. I discovered it in music much earlier, but visually it’s just starting for me. Personally, I don’t think I can draw. I can use software, but in another 5 years time, when we are on Photoshop 15, I’m sure my 5 year old nephew will be able to use it much better than I ever could. In the future I hope I can be more bold, more experimental, take more risks and convince clients that this work will offer them something much more than just an image with a Photoshop filter slapped all over it.

What has been the response so far?
People’s feedback seems really positive. Obviously, this work isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. I think that’s a good thing. It means there isn’t a confusion about where this work potentially belongs. I recently exhibited at the Boston Tea Party. Sometimes I would go up there, just to sit and have a cup of coffee. I would over hear people talking about the work. Not specific stuff, but the fact it sparked some form of debate in people felt like a really positive reaction.