Will, first tell us a little bit about you and what you do?
I currently live in Brighton and have been for the last year and a half, but I’m originally from around South West London and I create graphic based artwork and clothing when I’m not working.
What triggered your start and how long have you been doing what you are doing?
I’ve been creating pieces since around October/November 2015, just after I moved to Brighton. I hadn’t drawn since five years before that, around the end of my GCSE’s. I felt that the city influenced me to start putting ideas to paper and the environment I’m in has helped a lot in terms of networking and exposure.
What attracts you to your style and where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot of my inspiration, especially with my earlier pieces, has come from various situations I’ve found myself in when settling into Brighton when I first moved here. Somewhat in a nutshell, Brighton has shaped my distinctive aesthetic and using a limited colour palate, I create graphic and collaged pieces which range from contemporary settings to themes of partying, sex, angst and motivation faced by many late teens and 20-somethings, making my work easily relatable to a wider audience.
Music and skateboarding have always played a huge part also. I’ve been skating for years and where a lot of my friends make music and meeting many different creative’s being in Brighton; it has always helped in terms of ideas that spring to mind when planning the next project.
What inspires your new work?
I think reflection of the last year or so and the chance to work with new people. So much has happened in a short space of time and things are only getting busier, the feelings that come with it all help to motivate me to create new pieces. There’s a lot of good energy around at the moment in terms of young creative people doing their thing with the end goal of making it a full time career too, which is always inspiring.
As an artist do you ever feel a creative block and if so how have you overcome it?
Sometimes I do but I find it quite easy to overcome. I’ll usually have an idea in my head that I can’t quite complete, then I’ll be in a certain situation or setting and get some inspiration towards the narrative, then use trial and error until I’m able to complete something. The idea in my head sometimes can be completely transformed when putting pen to paper after the whole process.
Were your family and friends supportive when you started your journey as an artist?
Definitely, I’m friends with most of the same people I was close with in school, and seeing them grow with their creative pursuits creates some kind of network of support you know? My parent’s are both very hard workers too; my Dad’s a director of an insurance company and my Mum has been a professional Pilates teacher for 15 years. Seeing them both put in a lot of work in areas they wanted to excel in has definitely instilled a certain amount of drive, which they’ve seen and supported since I moved out and started all of this.
How do you promote your work and what has worked best for you?
Both Instagram and events have helped the most. Instagram has helped to network with people in terms of collaborating on pieces and having an online portfolio that is easily accessible. I’ve also ran three gallery type events showing my work, under the name Shades with my friend Sheridan. We had grime and rap artists from London and Brighton performing, all of which were successful. The third was in accordance with QM records (shout out to Ned and the rest of Normanton Street) and we packed out Green Door. That definitely helped a lot in terms of exposure, since then I’ve had quite a bit more work on my plate.
How do you create your artwork and can you describe your process?
I usually start with writing my ideas down, I’ll then select an image I’d like to manipulate then either copy it or sometimes use a light box, working with pen and pencil. Most of the time I will fill in with ink and posca pens and occasionally with run the piece through Photoshop, making minimal changes such as taking the odd pencil line and scuff out. Collages are more self explanatory, and I’m starting to mix both collages and drawing and experimenting with different materials, using card, newspapers and more recently gold leaf.
How long does the whole process take from beginning to end for a single piece?
It’s all entirely dependent on the piece and the materials I’ll use to create it. More often than not it will take a couple of days, yet I’ve done various portraits or quick designs over a couple of hours. I don’t really like to rush my work.
You’ve also introduced a clothing line, tell us about that?
I used to have a small clothing brand around 3 years ago under the name “Dank”, so the process of building that up made me aware of the best kind of materials and printing methods I could source on a small budget. I had it for about a year and decided to put a stop to it in order to become clear about what I wanted to do and I felt I outgrew it slightly. Creating the artwork helped me to start up again, making better quality products and not having a brand name to adhere to and just create clothing under my own name. This has given me a wider creative spectrum and more control, selling more clothes under my own name than I did when I had an actual brand. Not having a brand name has also given me a chance to collaborate on clothing with brands such as Pear Shaped Apparel and Classic Morrow and the band Normanton Street.
And finally, do you have a vision or plan and where you want to take your work?
Long term, I’m in the process of making my work a full-time career. I’m very aware it will take a lot of work and time but its something I look forward to. I’m looking to work with more creative’s and brands, and already have a few projects in the works and completed that will be out before the year ends. For the future I’d like to work on album covers, campaign and event posters along with skateboard decks and merch as well as still hosting live events. Ultimately, I want to make my work accessible to all types of people be it a small sticker pack sold in my favourite skate shop, to a huge piece displayed in Tate, who knows.