I read a lot of comics as a child, your typical 80’s things like the Beano and the Dandy. As I got older, that got me into graphic novels and Manga art. I specifically remember seeing Akira on TV and it totally blew my mind! I think it’s the structure of comics that I liked so much, the art of storytelling through imagery. At school I loved art lessons. It never actually felt like learning, more like a chance to express myself and be an individual. After studying graphic design at university, I found my way into advertising. It took a few years, but eventually the penny dropped that my passion for drawing didn’t have to be just a hobby and with dedication could become a career.
With giants such as Gilbert & George, Damien Hirst and Tracy Emin amongst many more, it’s impossible not to have noticed Beck’s pioneering artistic achievements. To join this line-up of amazing collaborators is a massive honour and privilege.
The inspiration for my Art Label came from the insight that Beck’s is brewed to historic purity laws using only four ingredients. So I asked myself, “What else follows a similar rule of purity through limited ingredients?” My answer was simple, if epic in scale: organic life! Four basic elements make up over 99% of organic molecules – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. When combined, the multitude of life is incredibly complex and varied, but all adhere to a very simple and pure law – Evolution through Natural Selection.
Nature is a recurring theme in my work, so it felt like the perfect subject matter. Using Victorian foliage (another favourite of mine) I’ve created a “Tree of Life” motif, containing specimens from all six major classifications of animals.
I’ve presented the animals in a very specific pose as I wanted to add a subtext to the piece. With so many of the world’s species under threat, I wanted to show the animals looking vulnerable with an air of uncertainty. Without greater care for our impact on nature, we may end up sending them (and us) to extinction.
I’ve chosen another of my favourites – the humble pencil as the medium to create the artwork. Made from pure carbon it felt like the perfect fit.
My wife and I recently moved out of London to the Surrey suburbs to give our kids some green space to grow up in. I work from home in my own small studio, but I try to get up to London to nourish myself with creative influences when I can. I love my work/life balance; it’s one of the main reasons I made the career change to become an illustrator. I can pick my own hours (deadlines permitting!) and be around for my family.
My compositions are often quite complex and I like to populate them with things you might not see first time around. I love looking at other people’s work and noticing something new, having that ‘smile in the mind’ moment. If I can give someone the same reaction when looking at my work, then I’d be very happy.