Thursday, 28 April 2011

illustrating an interview with MOOSE & YETI

Been waiting for a while to get this interview from from the awfully busy Moose & Yeti!
He (it's just one guy) has been working in Hong Kong and is in Spain now
since I met him here in London over a bit more than a year ago. 
As I said, busy!

He studied at Camberwell and has done many a piece for many a client.
If you've been down to Secret Wars or Graffiti Breakz then you've probably 
seen him ink up anything even remotely white alongside the other live artists 
who come down to draw some amazing over sized images!

Right! Now to find out about Moose & Yeti form his mouth instead of mine!

You work under the brand name Moose &Yeti. You found any other rare animals?

I think the rarest animal I've probably seen is a red squirrel, and I really don't even know how rare they are!

I met you on the N35 bus home from shoreditch after a night out of all places which for me was quite a cool find! You met anyone interesting in random places at all? Girls you hit on not included...

That was a bit of a strange night all round I think, it's not often I start talking to people on the bus.  Over the past  few years I have got really into working live at raves, parties and exhibitions. It's been a great way to meet new people and other artists, as people seem to be more open to chatting to you about what you're doing. It's not always as easy as I'd like it to be to find interesting people in unexpected places!

Where did illustration begin with you and where is it taking you now?

My family is generally pretty creative whether it be through painting, writing, or interiors, and some of my earliest memories are of painting with my grandma - I can't really remember a time when I haven't been drawing. Like most people I started out trying to copy things from old computer games and comic books. I remember having this one book called 'How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way', which I would sit over for hours.  I spent a lot of time as a kid making books out of A4 paper about dungeons, spies, soldiers... I've never really been interested in doing anything else!

Moose & Yeti started out when I was at college, as a way for me to play around with logos and design. But when I moved to London, my own style really began to take shape and the name stuck. I found pushing Moose & Yeti and trying to build a name for myself far more beneficial and exciting than anything I was doing at university.

Now I'm working for a high end fashion brand, and I've had the opportunity to work in Hong Kong and live abroad. Ilustration has given me even more than the satisfation of creating it - it's helped me to develop my branding skills, business awareness, and given me a great social network of interesting people. Going ahead I'm hoping it will allow me to take it forward even further professionally so that I can spend my life doing something I love.

At a glance your art work is pretty dark and has quite a lot of random stuff going on half the time. Then there is the odd influence from one group of people or another, most notably Japanese and Hispanic as well as a high amount of detail. How would you describe your work and its influences?

I am massively into Japanese design and culture so that tends to be the main influence on my work. I love the elements of fantasy and great imagination which are present in Japanese design, alongside a really clean cut and considered style. Traditional wood block prints are amazing and I'm always fascinated by how modern the characters of artists like Kuniyoshi appear.

I like to try and give a modern, stylised twist to something quite traditional. Japanese art styles run pretty centrally through my own, but for subject matters I like to find different groups of people, or places to give me inspiration for new characters etc. I like bold lines and minimal colour but detailed line work - it forces me to use my imagination to create effects through shape and pattern. When I'm working on something new I usually focus on small pockets of detail which come together to form a finished piece, rather than necessarily having a complete plan in mind. I take different themes as starting points and go from there.

I think I prefer my work to have a darkness to it because I find it easier to create something much more interesting that way. It fits better with the style I like to work in but it's also more fun to create a dark atmosphere. That way I can draw more multi-dimensional characters - they're often funny and childish at a first glance but with a closer look are a little dark and deranged!

Tell us about Licked Beats and your involvement with them
Licked Beats are a dubstep/drum and bass record label based in London. I met Kristian, Licked Beats' founder, at college on a graphic design course - he got in touch when he was setting up the company and asked me to design the brand identity. I've carried on producing flyers for the licked beats events - the most recent being their first birthday bash this month. It's been great to work with Licked Beats - to see a friend's project gain recognition and success, and I'm sure there is a lot more to come from these guys. So keep your eyes and ears open!

 Everyone has their blocks, what do you do to stay fresh and inspired?

When I'm having a bit of a mental block I usually just take a bit of time out from actually working on anything new. I'll do a bit of research, try and find some new artists, and keep an eye out generally for typography or ideas that could be the basis of a new piece. A lot of the time I'll just go back through any old ideas from a more inspired time that I never got around to doing when I first thought of them!

Everything nowadays is so digitalised. Pencil pushes like myself and people more used to traditional media can barely keep up! What processes do you go through and what tips do you have to share?

I always start off working in traditional media; for me  it lays the foundations  for any good digital outcome. I try and keep drawing as half of the entire process - that way I make sure I am always improving on my basic skills, and not relying too much on the computer. I see it as just an extra tool to give an image style and crispness, rather than to create the illustration itself. I guess I would advise others to put the time in once to learn some basics. It doesn't mean you have to become a digital artist, but knowing how to do things on the computer can really help you to promote yourself. Good design and a good use of the internet is one of the best ways to let people find you - there's a lot of competition out there!

What exciting stuff you got coming up? is getting a revamp - I'll be getting my own blog up and running again, as well as finally setting up the online shop. I'm experimenting with some new media and styles at the moment, so hopefully there will be some new and interesting pieces to check out. I did a run of T-Shirts a couple of years ago and there's been quite a lot of interest in a second so I'm thinking of getting a sideline project going soon. I have one T-Shirt coming out with Longstem, for anyone who is eager to get something before the Moose & Yeti range. I'm living and working in Spain at the moment, but excited about getting back to London at the end of the year. I'm really looking forward to getting involved with illustration events again - so keep an eye out for Moose & Yeti's return!

Finally any hidden gems out there we should be perving on?

I don't want to give them all away, but here are a few sites that you will hopefully find interesting.

Big thanks to Moose doing this
check out the Yeti's very own website
and stalk him on facebook so you don't miss those upgrades he was talking about!

don't forget lil' old me btw
gimme a stalk on facebook as well!

till next time!

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