Artist Interview: Max-o-matic

July 01 2016

Cooper: Born in Buenos Aires you currently reside in Barcelona. How much longer will this be your home, is there a place you would rather live? Why did you decide to leave Argentina?

Máximo Tuja aka Max-o-matic: Buenos Aires in 2001 was not the most friendly place on earth to live in - social and economic crash, violence and not many opportunities. In that context Barcelona seemed a nice place to start a new adventure.

Since early 2002 I’ve been living here and working as a designer and illustrator in this beautiful city, and I can see myself living here for a long time. I´m not good at making long term plans, so I never know what I will be doing in ten years, but Barcelona right now (and for the last twelve years) is the place in the world that I want to live in.

How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in Barcelona?

Barcelona has a lot of art stuff happening all the time. It´s not London or New York…but there´s a scene and lots of people making and showing interesting stuff. But as I´m a designer, collage artist, illustrator, frustrated musician, father (most important!) and a (lame) mid-distance runner… I´m in busy mode almost all week and I do not take advantage of everything that´s happening in the city´s art scene. I should…

Anyway, Barcelona is a great place to live and work, no matter if you´re into the art world or not. Beach, mountains, nice people, great weather, cultural activities, good food, great architecture. I love this place.

Your signature work involves the transformation of various raw visual materials from the real world into creating an imaginary one.  In fact, you were recently published by Gestalten in The Age of Collage. Would you mind elaborating on what attracted you to collage, and the use of illustration and text as elements of your work?

I arrived to collage while studying at the University in Buenos Aires, when I read about the early XX century Avant Garde movements. The first time I saw the work from artists like Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Kurt Schwritters, et al. my mind was completely blown. The raw approach to art, the anti-art statement, the “disrespect” towards the artwork and the possibility of making art with daily objects was something that deeply inspired me and invited me to try it for myself.

Around that time I was editing and designing fanzines, and when I needed to use imagery to illustrate the texts we wrote, collage became my natural way of visually telling these stories. I felt that creating new stuff from forgotten material was a bold statement and a fun way of expressing my ideas.

After starting my professional career in the design business, illustration became the place were I did my most experimental work and where I wasn’t worried about commercial success, I just did what I wanted and liked. That helped me to develop a personal language and discourse which also elevated me professionally as an illustrator and collage artist.

About The Age of Collage, it deserves a small comment at least - it´s more than an honor being part of this book. It´s a selection of the best collage artists worldwide… I´m really happy that my work is featured along with such talented people :)

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

I´m restless, very curious and I´m really open to mistakes.

Is there a through line to what you bill as the “organized chaos” that is your art? And what do Marx and Engels have to do with all of this?

Organizing chaos is the main task of any collage artists. From millions of possible images (a universe of chaos), we decide to use only a few and combine them in particular way to make our discourse visible through them. We are editors of reality and builders of new worlds. We are twisting the world we know to make a new one come to life.

Marx and Engels are just two icons that I used very often in my early years of work. I was deeply influenced by the tons of texts about Marxism, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism and many other “isms” I had to read at university. It was something between an homage, a joke and a call to my previous self.

Do you predefine constraints for each work, or is your process mostly without limits?

I love to work with limits. Most of the times I invent secret (and stupid) rules of production to create my collages. Collages created with 3 pieces and two main colors; collages crated with the letters B-D of an encyclopedia and a skate magazine…these are some rules that I impose on myself to create collage series. Limits are boosters of creativity and I love working with them.

In commercial work this is not always possible because of time and concept limits. In commercial work the brief is at the same time the limit and the inspiration. You have to make the most of the story that someone else wants you to tell.

Process or end result?

Both. I don´t like unpleasant process with nice results; nor fun process with ugly results. I want it all!

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

I guess so. Art is a healthy way to exorcise my demons. Also it consumes a great deal of my time, so it became a big part of my personal life. To be honest, making art is fun and i just can’t not do it. One way or the other, I always end up making projects (where art is somehow related). Until now I could not escape from it, even when I tried. But I´m not thinking too much about “art” (as a big word) or thinking of my role as an artist…I´m just doing stuff I like.

What do you do with your scraps?

I keep them as long as I can and I almost always used them in the on-going series of collage I´m working at the time. After that series is finished, small scraps are thrown away and the big ones are kept filed on my scraps archive. Scraps saved almost all of my collages from me hating them. Scraps are the essence of freshness.

You’ve previously shared with me some of your guitar work. What is your relationship with music, and are you still making it?

I love music. I´ve always been a music fan and a lousy guitar for just as long. But as happens with art and collage, I can´t stop doing it for a long time…so I try to play and have fun making music every time I can. My latest music project is so bizarre that I´ve done it under a pseudonym -which of course i´m not going to reveal now :)

Does your work carry a message, or provoke any desired response?

My work carries lots of messages and is open to many interpretations. I don´t like straightforward declarations. I like first, second and third rounds of discovering details, hidden messages and ideas. My desired response is always making the viewer ask: “What is this guy trying to tell me with this?”. As the great collage artist Charles Wilkin told me recently, “a good artwork is the one that asks more questions than answers” - or something like that.

Tell us about the last commercial gig or commission that you turned-down, and why?

Six years ago I turned down a piece for the New York Times because I simply had no time to do it. I was sure they were going to call me again… but they didn´t. Since then, I think long and hard before turning down a project…

And to be honest, I can´t remember which was the last one I turned down. I´m quite lucky because lately I have nice project proposals.

What were you doing before you committed to pursuing art as a profession? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

Along with working on my art projects I´m a graphic designer working on branding, packaging and communication projects. I am really happy doing this work too. It´s a more rational counterpart to my collage work. If it wasn´t these two professions… I could be doing almost anything related to books, writing or music (ha!). I would never be a doctor, a lawyer, a mathematician, or an engineer.

If your home was on fire, what three things would you save?

My wife and my son. Nothing else matters.

Any recent, current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

Since 2011 I´ve been working on a curatorial project with my friend and collage artist Rubén B called The Weird Show. With TWS we´re putting up collage shows around the globe, and editing and publishing online and offline. After our last shows in Madrid and Berlin, Next April we´ll open our 10th show in Madrid and Berlin, and our 1st show in the USA at the Invisible Dog Gallery in Brooklyn, NY followed by a May show in Montreal, Canada. Also, we´re about to publish our first book with the works from some of the artists that showed their work in our 2012 shows in Latin America.

Final words?Thank you very much. 

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Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014

Artist Interview: Jesse Draxler

July 01 2016

Cooper: Originally from Freedom, Wisconsin, you currently reside in Minneapolis having recently returned there from a stint in Los Angeles. Where is home to you?

Draxler: Currently an attic in Uptown, Minneapolis, MN, USA.

How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in MPLS?

Right now, very cold. 

As a city I generally like Minneapolis. As far as arts - it seems most of the money to be made by an artist in Minneapolis is through the grant system which gives the arts an academic feeling that I don’t particularly enjoy. That being said, I haven’t dove too deep into the community, I try to spend most of my free time making work

Why did you decide to leave Los Angeles?

Still kind of figuring that out. Wasn’t for me at the time.

With the migration to LA and back has anything changed or evolved from this change?

It made me realize how easy it can be to leave.

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

Understated and over opinionated.

Do you have insecurities and doubt, or have you found your confidence or acceptance?

Insecurity and doubt are driving forces at times, so yes to both. Moderately confident. Accepted in certain circles, sure.

Do you remember the first time someone referred to you as an artist, or vocalized their appreciation for a piece of your work? Can you describe the first piece of art you traded for cash?

No to all of this, haha. I can’t remember shit.

What were you doing before you committed to pursuing art as a profession?

I wasn’t doing much. I graduated high school, moved around a little bit, obtained a BFA, didn’t think much about the future.

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

I would probably be making something else. I like making things.

Your work is fairly moody, seems to favor black and white and the transformation of various raw visual materials. In fact, you were recently published by Gestalten in The Age of Collage. Would you mind elaborating on what attracted you to collage, and the use of photography as an element of your work?

There’s many reasons but foremost I like the immediacy, you can put together a complete image; a complete thought or concept, without laboring over materials or time consuming processes. It’s ideal for me because I like to make a lot of work. As an article a friend of mine shared with me the other day stated, quantity equals quality. It doesn’t always do what needs to be done though. It’s my go-to method, but it also has a lot of limitations.

Would you describe your personality as methodical, spontaneous, reactionary, or? How is this reflected in your work process?

I had no idea how to answer this so I took the Jung Typology Test™ online. I came up INTJ. The same personality type as Stephen Hawking, Nietzsche, Jay-Z, and Ted Kaczynski (The Unabomber).

Are there times where you’ve gone overboard with your work?

As in overworked a piece, sure. If you’re not overworking a piece every now and then you’re never finding your boundaries.

How do you preserve the narrative and the desired composition?

Restraint. When something falls into place it just is, I don’t do anything to actively preserve - I just leave it alone.

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

I don’t differentiate between the two.

How does your studio or workspace enhance or hinder your creativity?

I have a lot of space and keep it minimal and clean. That physical clarity seems to enhance my creativity.

Any mediums you’d like to explore that you haven’t already?

Yes, all of the mediums.

Any specific people you’d like to work with?

I’m creatively open to anyone and anything if I feel it’s worth it.

Final words?


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Cover photo of Jesse Draxler by Madison Dubé

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014 

Artist Interview: Alexey Luka

July 01 2016

Cooper: You are currently living in Moscow, are you from there? How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in Russia?  Would you prefer to live elsewhere?

Luka: Yes, I’m from Moscow where you are very far away from a lot of interesting things. 

Not sure I would want to live anywhere else, I love my city.

Spray cans, acrylics, or paper collage, you seem to transition so seamlessly between mediums. How do you create such surreal characters and abstract forms without losing your identity in the work, is the secret your color plays?

Maybe the color, but I always start with a sketch on paper. When the sketch is done, I then choose what technique I prefer to use for realizing it. But I do have some recognizable details that I try to use in most of my works.

Did you go to art school or formally develop your techniques?

I studied architecture for 6 years. So that’s why I prefer geometric shapes.

What would you want greats like Kazimir Malevich and El Lissitzky to see in your work?

Hah. I think if they found something interesting or funny it would be great.

Do you see yourself as an artist, a graphic designer, illustrator, or as something else entirely?

I see myself as a person who is interested it different ways of art.

If you had $250 to spend in two hours, how would you do it?

Depends on the situation, but I think I would buy a ticket to Saint Petersburg.

Does your work carry a message, or provoke any desired response?

Not sure about a message. But my works are like an everyday diary. A chronicle of what I see around me, around my friends.

My works are like a puzzle - people try to find different recognizable shapes that are mixed with abstract geometry. It could be anything, a man walking with his dog, or a large family waiting for their lunch. There is always a story to be found in my works.

I try to show typical situations from a different angle.

Where do you find cultural inspiration?

There are no limits, it could be found everywhere.

How much time do you spend on commissioned design work versus personal studio projects? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

It depends. As a freelancer, I can spend a month or two only for commercial works then 3 or 4 for personal. So it’s unpredictable.

What is your relationship with the Internets as it relates to art making?

I think it’s great that I can find a lot of information, share my works with other people around the world, watch what other artists are doing. So it’s perfect for communication with friends and other people.

Can we expect to see more installation or perhaps photography from you, what’s next?

Right now I’m working with some wood collages and some sculptures. About what’s next we’ll see, but I want to work in different directions.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Artist Interview: Pat Perry

July 01 2016

Cooper: You recently returned from speaking at OFFF festival in Barcelona, having logged 2,500 miles of the United States aboard hopped freight trains before that. Have your exploits outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan made you a better person or art maker?

Perry: I certainly hope so, but who’s to say? I can only speculate about what kind of person I’d be if I’d anchored down in Grand Rapids more. I would be cleaner, I know that.

The tone of your work reflects a most pensive mood. Is your art your medicine?

It’s not as much medicine as it is just the excrement of a long digestive tract. It takes me quite a while to process and make sense of all these brief flashes and little clues flying past my eyes day after day after day. More lately, it seems like there’s a whole other world being ignored that urgently needs to be thrown into the cultural pool through people like me who make pictures. I feel lucky to keep catching glimpses of these quiet, endangered, romantic puzzle pieces, but they drive me crazy at the same time. I feel responsible to acknowledge them. Every time I’m able to do that even in a small way with pictures, it settles my stomach for a short while.

Would the late Hunter S. Thompson have considered you a Gonzo journalist?

Its hard to say, I’m not really that cool.

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

I’m not making art lots of the time. Artwork is one utensil that I’ve been trying to use to dig at the heart of the beast. If I wasn’t making art, I imagine I’d be using a different utensil, or maybe just ripping into it with my bare hands. I’ve been writing more in the past year than ever, working on various campaigns to combat major energy extraction projects, and keeping busy just trying to exist while not having a permanent home. I’m excited about becoming a better storyteller. The challenge of dodging all these black holes is keeping me plenty busy, and the artworks are just weird recordings of those trials and challenges. Minus the strung-out metaphors, my answers are; baking bread, fishing, learning to build houses, sewing, celebrating, playing songs, learning to sail, and learning to ID trees.

You’re an active member of The Beehive Design Collective. Do you feel a responsibility with your work, and what role does it play with respect to preserving your morals?

I feel a responsibility doing anything that has an audience watching. On one hand, there are these people around me that set the bar really high to make artwork that is poetic, simple, raw, and explosively self-expressive. Then, there are these other folks that are fully committed to doing practical, transformative work that will reinforce and proliferate these huge overarching social movements. Both schools of people are inspiring me constantly and if I stay diligent, I hope I’ll find a way to marry both approaches.

It’s so unpopular right now in the “art world” to be making work addressing issues in the way that the Beehive’s posters are. It scares me all the time, because I feel convicted to push those social topics further in my personal work and in my work with the collective. I catch myself though, because the work we’ve been making isn’t for the art world. Our audience, especially in the Beehive, is not art collectors. We make those pictures for people who are voiceless, and trust us to help share their stories. We are making those pictures for ordinary folks. It’s a bottom-up approach. I approach my personal projects and pieces a little differently, but I think the two worlds will constantly influence one another. If I’m writing a play with my personal work, the urgent landscape of what time it is in history should always be the backdrop, even if I’m just writing a simple love story.

Your work involves a lot of ballpoint pen on paper, and leads mostly to illustration and painting. Would you mind elaborating on your interest in photography and film making?

Pardon the melodrama here; When I look back at all the pictures I’ve nonsensically shot, it’s close to what I think might flash across my eyes in the minute or two right before I die. Like the world sitting me down and saying, “Remember these things? Remember how I surprised you? Remember how pretty I was and how bad it hurt sometimes? Remember these people you loved? Remember when i stopped you dead in your tracks? Did you feel me go by?”

Those pictures hold a lot of truth for me, and its a selfish hobby mostly.

Are you particular about the conditions of your surroundings when you are creating? Do you have a studio?


What is your relationship with music as it relates to art making?

I really love music, art aside. Everyone claims to be a music lover, because everyone should be. I guess listening to music encourages me to be less nervous putting my feelings out there. It’s terrifying to throw your insides out on a platter, whether you’re making art, writing music, or answering interview questions at three in the morning while you sleeplessly ride the greyhound bus. I also really love playing country songs with my friends on porches and in dining rooms. We all sing regardless of the notes we can’t hit, and it super fills up the spots that aren’t filled up by picture making.

Tell us about the last commercial gig or commission that you turned-down, and why?

I’ve been turning down almost everything recently, mainly because of time. I’m full and just want to finish some long term projects I’ve committed myself to. It’s screwing me financially, but I’m good at living low-key. I’m hoping to eventually get more on top of selling originals, but that’s also too time consuming to handle right now. My print sales have helped a bunch though and I’m so grateful to all the folks who’ve supported me that way. Overall, I’ve made peace with doing commercial projects from time to time, but its a little too heartbreaking for me to be primarily making pictures for advertising. I love editorial work, and would be happy doing more of that in the future.

Would you describe your personality as methodical or spontaneous? How is this reflected in your work process?

Methodical, like fishing or hunting. You take a guess, plant yourself in a spot, but you can’t control the current, the wind, the weather. All of this has been an educated guess at best. I always take notes though.

How has your work changed over the years? Are you making the art that you want to make?

Lots of ways, It’s changing all the time and I’m so okay with that. My visual vocabulary is more reliant now on pieces of real life around me than on appropriated styles and copies of copies. I still like to draw lots of the same things that I’ve always liked to draw though. I think the difference is that I’ve slowly been learning why. Im starting to understand the symbolism behind those things. I don’t need to have gotten it right the first time. I’m making what I want to, but my ambition continues to outrun my abilities. I fall short creating the transformative work I’ve been shooting for. I still don’t know if its something that’s even possible to do through overly-rendered representational cartoons and illustrations. It keeps me busy though. Little victories here and there; that’s what’s keeping me motivated.

I watched this Gregory Crewdson documentary recently and he was saying that he thinks every artist really only has one true picture that they work their whole life to accurately convey. They make that picture over and over again. I think there’s some truth to that. I am making the work I want to make. It’s taken a long time for me to learn how to have the courage to turn down distractions so that I have space to make the pictures I actually want to.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Artist Interview: Luke Ramsey

July 01 2016

Today, we get a peek inside the head of Canadian artist, Luke Ramsey.

Cooper: You grew-up in the countryside of England, lived in Taiwan, and currently reside on Pender Island, British Columbia - but where is that place you call home?

Ramsey: Home is in my heart with friends and family close by. I consider Victoria, B.C, Canada as my hometown.

Whether personal, public or commercial, your work makes way for orcas, dinosaurs and other characters. Is there a through line to what you’ve referred to as the “organized chaos” that is your art?

My ideas are like an oxymoron who walks into a bar and orders a punchline. As far as drawing goes, it’s like riding a wave- a line in time.

Does all of your work start with illustration? Do you consider yourself a graphic artist, fine artist, or?

I consider myself as an image maker, drawer, thought provoker, pot stirrer, bird watcher.

When did you decide to pursue art as a profession? What were you doing before? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

About 6 years ago I went full-time. My last day job was working in a gas station renting out videos and dvds before retail rentals went bust. I’d love to know what I’d do if I wasn’t making art. I guess I’m too hooked. Maybe it would be cool to not make art for a year and see what happens.

Paper, wall or video? What are the limitations of the other two mediums?

Paper is always my first pick- so direct, accessible and intuitive. Walls are fun, but aren’t always smooth, well lit, easy to access etc. Video requires memory, uncreative patience and finickiness.

If your home was on fire, what three things would you save?

If I saved anything it would just be a reminder of all the other things I lost, so I guess I would let it all burn and stop collecting stuff. Go someplace warm and live naked.

Process or end result?

As the ol words say - the journey is the destination.

Are you particular about the conditions of your surroundings when you are creating?

Sorta. It all depends on what I’m working on. I like working in solitary and I like working in the public with people asking me random questions.

What is your relationship with music?

I probably could enjoy silence more, but I am a music maniac. I love all genres, and everyday discover something new. Lately I’ve been really into rap battles and freestyles.

You have said that you are not a street artist. Where do you find cultural inspiration?

The web of life - online and off.

You co-founded Islands Fold with your wife Angela as an artists’ residency and zine publishing platform. Who are you currently collaborating with and on what?

Islands Fold has been on hold since we had Angel Chen here in the summer of 2012. The most recent collaboration I’m fond of, was with Qavavau Manumie.

Congrats on your last show Off Lines, it really felt like a proclamation. Do you feel a responsibility with your work and what might we expect to see from you next?

Thank you. I think creative expression is a beautiful thing, but it’s not an entitlement, so maybe that’s where responsibility comes in for me. I think Mother Nature is making the most incredible art I’ve ever known. In her company, I often ask myself, what’s the point of making art? I’m trying to see bigger pictures, which is kinda funny considering my work is narrowed-in on little details. As for next year, I’m finishing up a sci-fi illustrated story called IS? I’d like to put it out soon. After that, it’s all blowing in the wind.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Interview with Christina Magnussen of Gala, and Hans Christian Oren of Oh Yeah Studio

July 01 2016

For many years the two of you worked together as Oslo based design agency Oh Yeah Studio. Today, Hans Christian Øren continues to run Oh Yeah Studio, while Christina Magnussen has recently gone on to found design & illustration agency, Gala.

Cooper: Are you both from Oslo? Where are you living now? Is there a scene in Oslo?

CM: I’m from right outside Oslo where I grew up on a small island. I’ve been living in Oslo the past 15 years where I have my office and apartment. The design and illustration scene in Oslo is quite small, but very good. We have loads of good designers here, like Heydays, Non Format, Anti/Grand people, Bielke & Yang, Yokoland, The MVM and all the illustrators at byHands illustration agency. There’s always a design venue to go to, which is nice.

HC: I’m from the west coast In Norway and grew up in small industrial town called Høyanger. There it is only 2000 inhabitants. Very nice town, but I was very eager to see the world and the biggest town in Norway was Oslo. I live in Grunerløkka now. It is almost in the center and was by the way ranked one of the best neighborhoods to live in the world. It is absolutely a scene in Norway. I see both students and freelancers doing really good work now. It is more than just few companies in Oslo that deliver, but companies and freelancers all around Norway. And that is cool I think.

You both graduated from the acclaimed Central Saint Martins in London, right? What is the best thing or realization that you took away from your time there?

CM: I studied graphic design at Westerdals and illustration at Saint Martins. After finished school I stepped away from the mac for a year, not knowing what to do. I then started just playing around realizing that the two disciplines goes hand in hand.

HC: I also studied Graphic design in Oslo and Master in Visual communication. Me and Christina met at Westerdals, but it was only after a few years we started working together. One of the great things was of course Christina and number two was to find an occupation that I love. Westerdals was great, it was a school that focused on concepts, not only design. What was said was important. And I remember particularly one comment from my teacher and it was “good enough is not good enough”.

We have seen an exceptional quality of work flow from within the walls of Oh Yeah Studio since 2008. What made the two of you decide to divide and conquer? What were each of your reservations and motivations for doing so?

CM: We split up because we where a couple as well as partners. After working together for so many years we figured it was better not to have a design studio together. We do projects together still, from time-to-time.

HC: The truth is that she was really difficult and annoying :) No, there was no problem. It was just that we had different goals for the future. We respected each other’s opinions and are still best friends. Many people are impressed that we are still good friends. We’re both relaxed to such things, so it was entirely natural for us. We still help each other out when one of us have a problem, a question or just some comments on a work.

How did the two of you work through creative differences?

CM: Ha, let’s see, we had quite some differences when working together, but also the same urge to create the best we could. So somehow we worked it out, giving and taking.

HC: Everything was fine but it was not like a walk in the park. The conclusion is simple: It was fun, but at the same time exhausting. It was some differences and maybe we sometimes was to honest to each other and after a while it became a bit tiresome to bring a relationship into the various jobs / projects.

I can only imagine their was a high degree of trust, inspiration and positive tension between you, do you miss that dynamic?

CM: As I work alone now, I do miss a partner. It’s easier to work alone but you don’t have someone to back you up and give you feedback on things. I am on the lookout for a partner, but it has to be the right person with the same goals and passion.

HC: Perfect answer.

What would you want greats like El Lissitzky or Gunnar S. Gundersen to see in your work? How does the surrealism and abstract nature of your work translate to communications design?

HC: That would be awesome! I am not sure what they would say, but hopefully they say something like “They’re on to something”… It is not always we have the freedom to make this. We also have some clients that just want an identity or a layout. But sometimes it comes clients that have a brief, but just want our expression and we can do whatever we want. These are of course the jobs we want all the time.

Christina, please tell us about Gala? Did design and image making just get more personal for you? What are you currently working on?

CM: As Gala I still do both graphic design and illustration, not that different from when I worked at Oh Yeah Studio. But I have more freedom now to do other things. I did a lot of drawing before, it’s more graphics in my work now, which I really like to do. I just finished designing a book and a magazine, but I also do illustration projects for byHands, my illustration agency. Mostly for the commercial industry here in Norway.

I was initially drawn to Oh Yeah Studio for the underlying aesthetic, only to become a believer after quickly realizing that you’re willing to bring your work to most any design discipline. Hans, is there any medium that you haven’t tamed, and what might we expect to see from you next?

HC: I’m not sure really, but I will still have the philosophy, aim to seduce, inspire and create emotional responses to all visual projects. Still do projects that is for the greater good, like helping organizations and donate work for a good cause.

I’ve worked with you guys on a number of projects now for IdN, adidas and Society6 Minutes, always a great experience and a pleasure. How does collaboration fit into your ideological expression and how did you convince James Martin of Vim & Vigor to work on the motion graphics for your S6 Minutes piece?

CM: Collabs are always fun to do, working with- and getting to know other creatives. If you have a good progress and communication, the outcome is always interesting. When we worked with James Martin, we all ready knew him through his website and other social medias. He actually wanted to come to Norway and work, he lived in Finland at that time. So he was very keen on doing something with us, he actually moved here a couple of years ago and got a job. So we meet from time to time and, yeah, this collab was very fruitful.

HC: Good answer:)

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

CM: Hard to say, but when I grew up I wanted to be a vet, so maybe living outside the city working with animals. No deadlines or projects gone bad :)

HC: I don’t know. I think i would work with charity organizations or other activities serving the common good. Design is absolutely my dream job and hobby, so it is difficult to pick another occupation. So it is perfect to contribute design or illustration to charity organizations sometimes.

Are you particular about the conditions of your surroundings when you are creating?

CM: It comes quite naturally, after a while you have a set of tools you use, but I try to develop these things from project to project so I don’t keep making the same stuff. But clients often have an idea of what they want, after seeing my work, so it’s not always easy to do new things, especially when deadlines tend to be tight.

HC: Good answer. Just want to add the workflow. I don’t think we have a workflow that we follow every time. But personally I am kind of everywhere and try to get a picture of the feeling I want to give. And then i just follow the intuition. I always think about the possibilities even the unrealistic ones and do a lot of research, maybe too much. After this I have a brainstorm and try to find a concept. While I am trying to come up with a good Idea I have to visualize them at once to see if the the idea has the potential to be visualized in an unique way.

Hans, can you tell us about THIS IS NOW, what inspired this exhibition?

HC: The exhibition THIS IS NOW started first with a funny thought, and that we may have thought was unrealistic. After a while it was enough considering and I decided simply to do it.

The exhibition was named “THIS IS NOW” to indicate the relevance they represent in our current time. All are experts in their respective creative fields, and have left a deep impact in the industry’s recent years. These leading creators have staked out the future directions and trends and their work is described as iconic. 

THIS IS NOW was a poster exhibition which initially was to showcase some of the best creative in design, illustration and motion in the world. The aim of the exhibition was to both inspire the creatives and students who want to work in this field in the future. We chose 15 creative people and agencies that we thought would inspire designers to date. The set I chose was Jasper Goodall, Jesse Auersalo, Hvass & Hannibal, Sawdust, Ice Cream for Free, Dvein, Deanne Cheuk, NAM, Vasava, Hey, Sam Green, HelloMe, Serial Cut, Hort, and Non Format. There are of course many more out there, but maybe it comes 15 new this year?

Another thing that was important. The idea that this was an art project that was not reserved for the upper class. Good art doesn’t have to be expensive so prices were at a reasonable level. It is also how to say that visual boundaries have never been closer to each other. I’m not trying to create discord between the institutionalized art world and the rest of the creative sphere. This is what our young generation are interested in. According to the textbook is the difference between an artist and a designer that a designer gets paid. But it’s wrong. Art is very much a commercial product. Artists also live to get paid for the work they do. Not that this is so very important, but it has annoyed me a bit for a long time.

What is your relationship with music as it relates to art making?

CM: I like music, but I don’t have a certain relationship towards it. Of course I listen to a lot to music, when working. It can bring you up and give you energy to work, but I also listen a lot to radio shows, like Radioresepsjonen and Radiolab.

Hc: I agree.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Artist Interview: Ruben Ireland

July 01 2016

Cooper: Born in Amsterdam you currently reside in Worcester, England. How much longer will this be your home, is there a place you would rather live?

Ireland: I don’t imagine I’ll be here much longer. Since I left London I’ve been moving around quite a bit, first going back to my hometown, then a year in Cyprus and now here in Worcester and I still don’t feel like I’ve found the right place to settle. I really miss London in fact, I’m considering moving back towards the end of the year.

How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in London?

London is an interesting place for anyone to live but really hard to define. Each day is different, depending on your mood. I used to say it was the loneliest place on earth to live, as there’s a kind of social overload, with so many people crammed together, people are naturally less open to interaction. But having moved around a bit and getting a bit of time away, I don’t see it like that anymore. I think it’s just easier to settle for that perspective, but totally possible to break through it, with a little effort. It’s a great place to meet interested and like-minded people and you’re never far away from something fun to do.

It’s also made up of a really diverse range of settings, from industrial skylines to Renaissance architecture. I’d say working there as an illustrator or artist has it’s ups and downs. The endless amount of creatives trying to make their way there can make you feel quite lost as an individual, but this is probably healthy in the long run as it forces you to stand out. It’s also an endlessly inspirational experience. There’s definitely no room for the mundane in London.

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

That’s a really tough thing to do. I think if I begin defining myself, I’ll be less open to moving forward with my work. so I’d rather look at my career as a work in progress.

Your work combines a variety of traditional techniques and digital processes, mostly in your signature black and white style. Would you mind elaborating on your interest in the veils and headpieces that adorn your predominantly female subjects?

I’m combining symbolic elements, which together describe an idea, mood, intention, place and/or time and the headdresses and veils are a part of that. For me, I’m particularly drawn to animal headdresses because they can talk about the inner workings of a person, whether cautious, fierce, stoic or anything in between, there’s usually an animal which seems to embody one of those dispositions perfectly.

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

It has yes. It’s definitely been tough trying to find a balance, but I’m lucky that the people close to me understand and support what I do. It’s unlike most other jobs where I clock off at the end of the day, so my personal life and professional life have become synonymous.

There’s also a really extreme duality in the lifestyle this profession creates, like right now I’m sitting in an apartment in San Francisco, enjoying a coffee and overlooking the city, but that wouldn’t have been possible unless I locked myself in my studio for several months getting work ready to show. I wouldn’t change any of it though.

What is the best thing or realization that you took away from your time at University? If you could go back in time would you re-enroll?

I might re-enroll if I could go back in time, but with hindsight I wouldn’t take it as seriously as I did. I think if I’d have enjoyed it more, I would have gotten more out of it. In the end, the stress of trying to make good work for the teachers meant I made pretty bad work. That’s something I’ve learned whilst working professionally - that you have to really enjoy the work, otherwise there’ll be nothing special about it.

When did you decide to pursue art as a profession? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

I’ve wanted to be an artist for as long as I remember. I think the realization that it was a career came after I started making the work, because money is really a secondary factor to being creative, it’s definitely not something people get into art for. So I really don’t know what I would be doing if I weren’t making art.

How has your work changed over the years? Are you making the art that you want to make, and is it true to the underlying values that it reflects?

I’ve become far more detail oriented in my work, where a few years ago I didn’t care as much about the quality of my lines, now I work in a magnified state, on larger images and make everything clean and sharp. But this is more to make sure the work prints well and stands up to close scrutiny.

In terms of my aesthetic and subject matter, there’s been a slow change, which I enjoy, rather than sudden shifts in style and subject matter. I feel like I’ve been working with the same ideology since the beginning, but finding new areas within that world to explore as I go on. It’s definitely the work I want to make.

You’ve worked on a number of album sleeves, including your Father David’s most recent album A Twist Of Time which was dedicated to your Mother. What is your relationship with music as it relates to art making?

Listening to music and making art go hand in hand. It helps me to get into a good flow, so I listen to a lot ofSynkro, Seekae, CFCF and Djrum lately whilst I need to focus. But I love anything and need music playing almost constantly in my studio to keep me happy. I’m really enjoying Keaton Henson at the moment as well. He’s a great storyteller.

Would you describe your personality as methodical or spontaneous? How is this reflected in your work process?

Actually I think I’m a mix of both, which is why I have this duality in my work of messy and random textures alongside very clean digital work. I always start my work very wildly and without restraints and then spend the rest of the time cleaning up my mess and organizing everything carefully.

Any mediums you’d like to explore that you haven’t already?

I recently took a ceramics evening class where I live, which I enjoyed immensely. I didn’t make anything particularly interesting, but I learnt a lot about the medium and definitely want to see what I could do with it given more time. I’d really like to translate some of my existing work into sculpture form, I think that could be really exciting.

Tell us about Out of Body, the upcoming group exhibition that you curated and will be contributing to?  Any other current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

Out of Body is made up of 14 artists, including myself, with a very broad theme of ‘the human/nature relationship’, which I suggested could be interpreted very broadly by the artists. It was my first curation and I didn’t really know what I was going to do, but I knew if I chose artists I really enjoy, the show was bound to turn out great.

From the finished works I’ve seen so far, I’m over the moon and really excited to start hanging the works this week. In the future, I hope I get another opportunity to curate a show, because there’s a long list of artists I admire and wish I could have asked for Out of Body, but unfortunately had no space for.

I’m also going to be working on my first solo show opening next year at Atomica Gallery in London . But until then, I’ll be focussing on a few more personal works to add to my portfolio, as it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I’m eager to work more specifically with some of the new products released this year.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014 

Artist Interview: Wasted Rita

July 01 2016

It's my pleasure (more than I could have ever imagined) to sit-down with Portuguese artist, Rita Gomes aka "Wasted Rita".

Cooper: You grew-up in Águas Santas, Portugal and currently reside in Porto, but you seem anxious, how much longer will this be your home? Is there a place you’d rather be?

WR: Not at all. 2013 is being a unanxious life changing year. The only place I want to be is where I am right now, and there is now time I’d rather be than present. Traveling helped me open my eyes to the positive side of not so good things. Nowadays I’m aware that living in Portugal - besides the crisis, young unemployment, lack of opportunities and interest in culture - is a bless.

I’m also certain that Lisbon will be my new home and location as soon as I have time to stop in one city for more than one month in row. The world is too big to stop though. I’ll based in Lisbon, but I want to go everywhere. USA, Canada, Australia and Paris (again) are in the top of my sweetest desires.

I know that you just returned from China, and have travelled abroad quite a bit as chronicled on your photo diary WASTED RITA GOES TO. How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in Portugal now that you have an outsider’s perspective?

The constant traveling helped me learn to appreciate the good things about my own country. The bad thing is all these good things about it are all the things that are not related to being an artist in Portugal. What I mean is: artists living and working in Portugal have 6% chances of make a live out of art or being financially independent. Illustration or art in general might be seen as a forever-teenage hobby for adults; and the bad thing is that most artists don’t respect their profession enough to feel able to say no to people who treat their work in such a disrespectful way. So, we are kind of trapped in a vicious circle.

I’m lucky (by lucky I mean I work hard and manage to make it through) enough to work mainly for magazines, projects or institutions outside of Portugal. Having my art spread all over the internet helped making my name recognizable in many countries around the world - even though that also leads to other kind of disrespect for one’s work when it comes to plagiarism and work appropriation.

But I guess this is not a portuguese problem, for what I’ve learned so far this year, it is spreading all over the countries. With the huge difference that in Portugal the chances of having financial support for any art related project are much lower than most countries I’ve visited in Europe.

You have to be an authentic passionate smart ass and never get tired of trying - then, working for other countries might help a lot.

When I look at your work, I feel like I’m watching a story unfold, it feels very personal and sequential. Is this conscious? Who will play you in your movie

Not conscious at all and that’s probably why you find it so personal and sequential. It is a daily release of feelings - I like to call it a free psychiatric appointments with myself.

It had to be me playing myself. I wouldn’t let anyone else go so deep into my mental and emotional crap - even though I regularly share my work with an unhealthy amount of virtual people and I’m aware of how easy to relate it is.

You have found a seemingly massive audience for your art, is it punk to have so many people identify with what you are doing?

My work is not an attempt of coolness, it’s more me trying to deal with my own problems. If there are many people feeling what I do - cool; if there weren’t - cool anyway. I’d have to deal with it.

For me punk is doing what you love, the way you want, with your own values and not being trapped in others’ judgments or criticism (though being open to it).

Hey, labeling things, Justin, that is exactly what punk should not be at all.

When did you decide to pursue art as a profession? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

Back in high school, when I had to decide between arts or medicine. Basically, when I was a kid I had two big passions: drawing and dogs. I used to dream about becoming a veterinarian and save all the abandoned dogs from the streets. At the same time, drawing was always the thing I spent more time doing, right after breathing, eating and sleeping. One day my parents told me an average veterinarian income was not as good as I thought it would be - trying to convince me to become a surgeon instead. That’s when I decided that If I wanted to struggle with money forever I should go artist all the way and give my parents a proper heart attack. Mission accomplished.

After that everything - illustration and writing - happened very naturally.

I read somewhere that you had your own record label Not Just Boys’ Fun, tell us about how/why you started it? Clearly you have punk values and perspective, is it possible that you are the incarnation of the 7 Seconds song by the same name, or is that coincidence?

I used to date the boy behind one of the biggest punk record labels in Portugal, and even though I helped him a lot, I always felt that I wanted to do my own thing. Besides that, I was a huge geek on female riot grrrl bands, that’s when I gather some punk bands with female members and started ‘Not Just Boys Fun’ distro and label. It was a good experience to learn two things: 1 - how easily you can lose money in just a few months, 2 - how easily the rest of the world doesn’t give a crap about things one is deeply passionate about.

Every strong, independent girl who does her own thing and doesn’t hide her talent or will behind someone or anything can or is, in fact, an incarnation of this particular 7 Seconds song. So - yes.

Do the Riot grrl tendencies persist in your work and in your day-to-day life?

Yes. It’s like everything your parents teach you while you are growing up. It might be unconsciously, filtered and perhaps modified to your own patterns - but it’s always there, subtly influencing all your moves.

What is your relationship with the Internets?

We’re in a open relationship: I love how useful it is for professional purposes and I hate how it easily kills all the most magical affection related things in life. I love how it makes the entire world such a reachable place and I hate how it can easily tear humanity apart.

Sometimes I do “her”, other times I don’t. Overall, definitely one of the most amazing and fascinating things in life.

Something tells me that when you aren’t too busy kicking the world’s ass, you’re a sweet, fun, sassy and loving person? Would your true friends say that your personality influences your work, or does your work influence your personality?

Hey sir, I have a badass cold hearted bitch reputation to maintain…

My true friends say I’m all over my work. What makes my work seem rude and angry is my honest in-your-face factor - that also makes me a not so easy to love person in real life.

What some people refuse to understand is that human beings interpret things influenced by their own personality: if you think I’m a cold hearted bitch it’s probably because you’re a cold hearted jerk. This said, I just realized that you might as well be a sweet fun loving person. Touché.

Tell us about the last commercial gig that you turned-down, and why?

Some visual installation for an energy drink brand that gives you wings but no money. Wings are cool but I’m no fool.

Says Wasted Rita is so good, is this your written expression of Fado? Can you hit us with a dose right now?

It can be, even though you seem to know a lot more about Fado than I do.

I discovered the Amália Rodrigues inside of me recently when I moved to Alfama - where fado was born - for one month and felt like I belonged to a place for the first time in years.

All the typic drama, passion, messed up emotional crap, tragic, authenticity, naivety but at the same time roughness of it is identifiable in my statements. Basically they sing and scream their feelings out, usually, in a very corky hysterical over dramatic way; I, on the other side, restrict myself to write it down somewhere.

Hit you with some dose of Wasted Rita fado? Sure. It smells good, it smells like my room after fucking you would. Original fado version: It smells good, it smells like Lisbon.

Keith or Henry?

Sandwich sex with both. Keith from behind, Henry performing in front.

You have expanded your range far beyond illustration. Can we expect to see more installation and photography from you, or what’s next?

You can expect me to keep expanding as much as I want to expand and as long as expanding is what I want to do.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Artist Interview: Eben Archer Kling

July 01 2016

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with American artist, Eben Archer Kling.

Cooper: Originally from Connecticut, you currently reside in Amherst, Massachusetts. Where is home to you?

Kling: Home will always be New Haven CT for me. The pioneer valley is wonderful, but I need to be near water. On the other hand, at the risk of sounding dramatic home is wherever I can have a studio.

Your work involves painting and illustration, mostly watercolor and/or ink on paper. Would you mind elaborating on your interest in paper dolls, video, walls and printmaking?

My background is in illustration and printmaking. Painting is a relatively new thing for me. I only started to make large images with paint in the last three years or so. Everything before that was made crouching over a desk in my bedroom. When I had an opportunity to live in an apartment with ample studio space I began to work larger and painting seemed like a logical step for me to take. My interest in paper dolls, video, walls in public spaces etc. is not so specific. I really consider myself an “imagist” as it were. Particular medium choices are secondary to my compulsion to simply make images. I would like to think that the lexicon that I have developed over the years in my work is transferrable to multiple channels and that I can realize them in different forms. At this point in my practice it’s an exciting challenge to try and figure out what it would look like to turn a painting into a video and then back into a painting again. What would it look like to use a painting as a study for a sculpture and then form that back into a video?

Did you go to art school?

I did, and currently am again. I attended Montserrat College of art in Beverly, MA and earned a BFA in Printmaking. Currently, I’m at UMASS Amherst working on a three year MFA program.

Would you describe your personality as methodical or spontaneous? How is this reflected in your work process?

I would say both. A large part of the process in which I compose imagery is careful. It’s thought about and labored over for quite awhile. There are many formal strategies that I carry with me still from my education as a designer and illustrator, however spontaneity is a large part of the composition as well. It’s not uncommon to spend time carefully articulating a narrative in the work and then, once it’s established spend almost as much time unmaking that narrative. Attempting to obscure the image in a way and inject some ambiguity to the situation. I would like for the work to be experientially disorienting. I would like for it to read like a daily utterance. Something that you see in a flash and by the time you double take it doesn’t look the way you thought it did. It should feel dizzy, like maybe you should not of had that last drink before you went home.

Lets talk about your colors man. How do you get that control over the luminosity and the saturation of your hues?

Sometimes it’s hard for sure. Painting with house paint most of the time, luminosity is not really its strong point. It’s chalky and every color has white in it, very different than “artist pigments”. It takes a lot of treatment; sanding, scraping and washes to get it to behave the way I want. A lot of it is diversion tactics too. If you make an image with a bunch of muddy tones that are washed out and then drop a saturated color in a few places its likes staring at the sun. That’s painting though…

I’ve been making collaged images with frequency the past month or so and maintaining a certain amount of luminosity in those pictures is easier. If you want a garish saturated color to be present in an image you can just go down to the stationary store in your town and by a package of neon cardstock; it’s great.

It looks like you have commissioned a fair amount of artwork that you have created using at least some digital componentry. But based on your studio work, you appear to lean towards the traditional purist, no?

I wouldn’t use the word purist. I try to keep an open mind about these things and not be too dogmatic in any sense when it comes technical choices in art making. Everything is an option and it’s all valid as far as I’m concerned. There are some digital components to the freelance work I have done for sure, but I’ve come to understand that as part of the medium. Consider even scanning an image and sending it to the interested party; that’s a digital component right there. It’s cleaned up, flattened on a screen and sent on its way to be printed; that’s already a few steps removed from the integrity of its origin. However you’re right in a sense, until recently I have been a “traditionalist” in the sense that I’ve been sort of opposed to including any digital components to the work that I produce in my studio. I just never thought it looked as good as paint. But even that however is beginning to crack as I go deeper into the work I’m making now. I’ve been producing material myself to collage and include in the images recently and it does have a very obvious digital to look to it. Living in a society where instagram Facebook, etc. are available twenty-four hours a day, when there is a constant influx of digitally made images everywhere and all the time, I think it’s important to engage that on some level.

Criticism is a response to art. Do you take a pro-active role in addressing what is important to you in your work, as opposed to waiting for the tacit approval or denial from an ‘authority’? Are you currently under the influence of any ‘art reviews’ yourself?

I’m a cynical person. Criticism is a response to art, sure, but art is also a great way to channel criticism. I’m aware and will talk freely about what is important to me in my work, but I also prefer to not demand an implied meaning from a viewer or publics. I would never want to posture myself in front of these images and die on that hill. I think that projected meanings are one of most glorious things about art. It’s why it’s worth looking at. If I was going to make-work and tell you what its supposed to do I’d be better off writing a book. I would frame it in a way that you would either agree with or not. I need people to project their own meanings onto these images; it helps me to understand them more. I’m not making to just tell you something; I’m looking for empathy as well. 

I’m not under the influence of “art reviews”, but enrolling in an MFA program where meeting and talking about work in progress constantly can provide its scrutiny’s.

Your last show, Uninhibited Behavior takes an apathetic view on the destructions and distractions of city life. Are your subjects this confused and desperate, or is this playful propaganda?

I think the images are too unclear to be propaganda. I like that you went there though, that’s interesting… 

It’s not exactly city life per se. I’m usually illustrating my surroundings to certain point and I don’t really live in the city. I think there is a good deal in there about apathy, consumption, negligence, mindlessness etc. Those paintings begin to critique modern American culture as I notice and experience it. Maybe in that sense it’s propaganda? On the other hand, sometimes the images are more ambiguous; they just get away from me and become a little too wild to be directly criticizing anything legible. At that point I suppose it just becomes a painting for paintings sake and I become more concerned with the formal elements of the thing itself than any kind of lucid narrative.

How has your work changed over the years? What makes it true?

I guess what makes it true is that I do it? I don’t really see how anything can be untrue. Even work that I don’t like is still “true” in a sense. Making art is absurd in the first place, a necessary absurdity I think, but trying to find truth in that absurdity is even more futile. I think good artists sort of lie a little bit about things and it’s ok. My work has changed over the years gradually. It’s always been small baby steps. Leaps and bounds from images to images don’t really happen in my practice. When things stop working I’ll wallow around in the muck and make a bunch of bad work for a while until something takes and I’ll ride that train until it becomes boring again.

Do you obsess over titling your work? How do you approach it?

No. I want my work to be open and speak for itself. When I title my work I want it to be like a cherry on top or something. It shouldn’t be necessary, but if you want to dig it could take you a little further into my process or concept.

When did you decide to pursue art as a profession? What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

Since I figured out that it could be. Still working in a kitchen.

If you had $250 to spend in two hours, how would you do it?

I’d give it to my sweetheart to help pay off her student loans… Or selfishly buy this Sun City girls record, Torch Of The Mystics. They never repressed it and collectors have hiked up the price to about $300 now if you can believe it…

What is your relationship with music as it relates to art making?

That’s a hard one. I’ve done a few record covers and the artist had suggested that I listen to the album as a source of inspiration to create an image. No matter how good the record is it just never works for me that way. Consciously translating music into images doesn’t work for me. I listen to music constantly in the studio and I’m sure it informs the work but not in a way that’s easy to articulate.

Interview by Justin Cooper © 2013

Artist Interview: Philip Morgan

July 01 2016

Cooper: Where is home to you Phil? Is there a place you would rather live?

Morgan: Home for me is a place called Penarth, which is just outside of Cardiff in South Wales. I have lived in parts of Cardiff but now live back in my hometown. If I could live anywhere in the world it would have to be San Francisco. I’ve been many times over the years and I love the vibe of the city.
How would you describe the life of an artist living and working in Wales?
Living and working here in Wales is comfortable for me as I live near the sea and there is still a city to explore down the road. I think it would be more ideal to be living in London for work, but to be honest it’s only two hours away from where I live, and it’s also a lot cheaper to live here in Wales.

How would you best describe who you are as an artist?

I try to add a lot of humour in my illustrations which I guess also reflects what type of person I am. I would say that I’m easy to get along with. I like socialising over a few beers but otherwise I am always at my studio doodling away. I don’t take things too seriously. I am an early bird so I’m up first thing working on various projects. I like keeping as active with work as much as possible.

How would you describe your work to someone unfamiliar with it, and without being able to show it to them?

I would describe my artwork as bold and colourful. I tend to work with about four different colours on each piece and keep the work vibrant. I like to add play on words in my pieces to make people laugh.

What is your relationship with skateboarding as it relates to art making?

I grew up skateboarding from the age of eight years old. I was in a band through my twenties also, but I don’t play music anymore. Skateboarding actually got me back in to my art about six years ago when I designed a bunch of skate graphics for my friend’s skate company called Crayon Skateboards. I always dreamed of one day seeing my art on a wizz plank. Both my skateboard and bass guitar are gathering dust as I’m too busy painting these days.

Tell us about Salad Days, the recent group exhibition that you curated and contributed to? Any other current or future projects you are involved in that you would like to share with us?

Salad Days was my first group art exhibition I curated hear in the City of Cardiff. I asked twenty international artists from the UK, US, Canada and Australia that I have had the pleasure of being in group shows previously to come on board. Michael C Hsiung, Luke Pelletier, French and Sean Morris were just some of the artists involved in the exhibition based on illustrations reflecting their younger ‘hey days’. It was a well received show and I’m now working on putting another exhibition together in 2015 hopefully in London with a bit of luck.

Who was the person or what was the thing that initially made you want to become an artist?

I can’t really remember what got me in to art in the first place. I can always remember drawing from a very early age and it’s something I have always enjoyed doing. I guess it’s something I have always been able to turn my hand to when needed. I have had a lot of different jobs over the years and it’s really nice to finally be working for myself. Being my own boss.

What might you be doing if you weren’t making art?

If I wasn’t doing art for a living I think i would still like to do something creative. Maybe focus on music again.

Has being an artist affected your personal life?

It has a little bit, but I’m not complaining. My girlfriend Beth was another reason for me getting back in to art when she was earning a graphics degree. Beth is very supportive when it comes to my work along with my family.

What is your relationship with the Internets?

My relationship with the internet is a funny one. I have stopped using social network sites like Facebook because I found myself wasting so much time on it. I use Instagram, Flickr and Tumblr to promote stuff I’m working on. I’m always checking my emails to stay in contact with people. It has certainly helped with getting people to see my illustrations which can’t be a bad thing.

Tell us about the last commercial gig that you turned-down, and why?

I haven’t really turned down any commercial work so far. I have started to turn some work away because I have been busy working on projects that need a lot of my time. I try to make time for all work if I can.

What has been the greatest singular source of inspiration or influence on your work?

The greatest inspiration to my work is an obvious one, but I would again have to say my girlfriend and my close friends and family. My studio is at my Dad’s house, so I see my folks a lot. We have always been a close family and my Dad is one of the funniest people I know.

If you had $250 to spend in two hours, how would you do it?

You would definitely find me in a good pub drinking some good ales with a bunch of good drinking partners, haha!

Final words?

Thanks to everyone who has said kind things about my work, or bought any of my art. Those are the good people who keep me doing what I love doing. Stay wild forever…
Interview by Justin Cooper © 2014