We had one of our wonderful Volunteers Kirsty Wilson interview a very special contributor about what he does and his connection to the festival.
What’s your background?
I’ve been drawing little pictures and trying to get people to look at them for as long as I can remember. I don’t think there was that defining moment of “Im going to dive into illustration for a career” but my foundation studies in Art and Design really focused my love of drawing, and at Solent University on the illustration course, drawing was all I did.
Since I graduated in 2009, I needed a break. For the first several months I travelled around Europe - sketchbook and ink at the ready - and drew everything I could. Once I returned this love of architecture and travel fed right back into my work and I was off, drawing like a beaver on acid. My final (degree) piece was included in a local exhibition at The Bargate Gallery in Southampton, and subsequently made it into the AOI Images 34 catalogue and exhibition. From there onwards I sent out sack-loads of 'self-promotional packs' to prospective clients, magazines, newspapers etc. with some successes, and uploaded my work to any respectable portfolio website that would have me violate it. A brilliant string of exhibitions and commissions followed into 2010 from magazines to a very well-known clothing company.
Currently living in Southampton, and when not drawing away in a darkened room, I am irritating the neighbours listening to music, or out seeking new commissions.
What influences do you have? Have they changed over time and if so why/how?
The world around me acts as my main source of inspiration. Any amusing situations I find myself, or others in, I make a note of and draw it up later on. My images are also becoming increasingly sarcastic, and I like to think this is a reaction to all of the surreal situations I find myself in, utilising these to (attempt to) portray a sense of humour in my work. The world at large takes itself too seriously – I just want to create images that make people smile. This has been my main aim all along.
What’s the process from having an idea and putting it to paper and getting to the end result?
If I’m on a commission, I will research my subject and grab as much information as I can. However if I’m creating an image for the pure joy it, I will grab my sketchbook and draw out whatever comes into my warped mind straight away. It’s then a case of importing it into my beloved mac, colouring and releasing it upon the world.
What piece of work that you’ve done sticks in your mind and why?
I seem to have become most known for my pictures of dinosaurs and wrestling bears, which is nice. Everyone loves dinosaurs.
What are you doing for the Ejectorseat arts festival?
For Ejectorseat I have been giving a wonderfully loose brief to create all the imagery needed to create promotional material, posters, and the events booklet. A brief with as much freedom as this one meant that the images delivered to Ejectorseat included dinosaurs, guitar-playing-monsters and enough bright colours to fill a rainbow, which I like very much.
Are there any particular preparations you will have to do beforehand?
Book the day off work.
What do you think the benefits are of a local arts festival?
The fact that is a local festival will mean bringing out all of the people in Southampton who share a passion for illustration, music, food, film, comedy, poetry and photography. Having all these nice folks in one place on a (hopefully) sunny day in Southampton will be a great way to mingle and gain inspiration from all of these fields.
Why is Southampton such a good place for this kind of festival?
With all of the open, green space in the city-centre parks, and the amount of ‘creatives’ that reside here, Southampton lends itself to this sort of event beautifully.
As an illustrator what do you hope to get out of the festival?
Any exposure of my crazed scribbles is always most welcome, but more that that, the Ejectorseat brief for the festival imagery was fun! A commission with such freedom is not one to turn down. As for the festival itself, I hope it is packed. I hope that instead of going to watch the Saints game, they’ll come down to the park and mooch around in the sun, looking at pretty pictures, talking to the artists, poets and designers, taking in the local bands and relaxing in the park.
…I also hope they’ll buy my drawings so I can continue to buy the ridiculously expensive pens I am all too fond of.