So you’re officially the UK’s best illustrator, with such a breadth of talent across the UK tell us a bit about your journey to the top of the pile!?
Its been a long journey – I started out as a drummer in many many bands touring, playing and recording, until I had an accident and messed my left hand up (meaning I had 3 years of physio and couldn’t carry on with that career) So I had to work out what else to do with my life…..(I’m not the sort of person to work behind a counter or in a shop) the only thing I loved doing apart from playing music was drawing (I had designed t-shirts and album covers for my bands and a few others) so I researched what I needed to do and decided to go back to college and studied a foundation in art (after working in a factory for a year to raise money) I then went to uni and failed (after 3 years – graduated with a BA minus the HONS) – but that didn’t matter by that point I had started to establish myself with exhibitions and spraying on walls – and to be honest not one job ive had since has anyone asked me what score I got at uni (they just want my style……….but that’s not to say don’t work hard at education kids…..!!!!! always work hard at school!)
How does this tournament in particular compare to other competitions you’ve been part of?
I have never entered a comp before – this was my first (unless you count one at high school……..i did win that comp also……….it was a push pull competition where you had to design the push and pull signs for the doors – I drew a wizard pulling a push sign and a wizard pushing a pull sign……i won some vouchers for the school library and spent the winnings on graphic novels…….i was told that it wasn’t exactly for that but they allowed me anyway!) So ive never done this sort of thing before – but I enjoyed it (didn’t expect to get past the first round so to win was crazy!!!!!!
Your work is pretty recognisable and often delivers an edgy aesthetic, what drives this angsty style?
It might be the music I listen too or it might be the friends I hang with or the stuff I like to watch or the comics I read – I’m pretty sure its a combination of the 4 – however ive always had a punk way of living (fuck authority etc – hense why I cant work a “normal job”) and I like that my work has that edge and it come through!
When you’re not busy winning championships, can you talk us through how you spend your time?
Basically hanging at music venues or festivals – hanging with friends – trail biking, skating and drinking – also obviously I love to paint walls with my friends and travelling the world! Ive been lucky enough to be able to travel to many countries because of my work – ive been to japan – china – America and all over Europe (and I’m sure a ton of places ive forgotten!)
We understand the World Illustration Championships are coming up in February, will you be entering and if so how will you deal with the pressure of expectation?
I am instantly entered for winning the last comp – and yes I totally feel the pressure – its like not even thinking I would get through the first round to being up against even more of my peers – its gonna be crazy – I just hope I do good drawings and entertain people – but yeah the expectation I guess will be high………….i hope I can live up to it!!!!