1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
I’m Billy, and I’m an illustrator & graphic designer based in London UK. I’ve spent most of my life in London, aside from 3 years at art School. I spent four years at a branding and packaging agency in London, and now I work freelance.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I like contrast. I like to combine flat, graphic areas with more intricate, sketchy forms to create an interesting contrast of styles. I also often use high contrast and shadow to define forms. I like to use vibrant colours amongst greys and often blacks. There’s definitely an 80’s aesthetic in my work too, which I recognise but can’t define the cause.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
Drawing, definitely. It’s always the starting point for me, and it’s where it all started. I like to think of drawing as a way of learning more about what you see, and drawing what you see is a far greater skill than drawing what you know in my opinion.
4. What is your artistic process like?
So I start by drawing, and I tend to draw things numerous times to simplify and refine as I go. I try to reduce information but hold onto enough detail to give the images character and enough ‘style’. The drawing stage is also where the composition is defined. I then convert these drawings to digital with a graphics tablet and apply colour digitally, although this is often achieved with a bank of painted textures that were physically painted and scanned.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
I find people and landscapes to be the most interesting subjects, and I rarely depict anything too fantastical. That’s because I find day to day life the most inspiring. Stylistically I’m inspired by a diverse range- from minimal, modern aesthetics and design principles like Bauhaus, and more decorative, painted works by people like Hockney.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I love art, particularly Illustration because it’s such an efficient and sophisticated way of communicating, ‘a picture paints a thousand words’ and all that. I always enjoy looking at Landscapes and portraits, but sometimes for me, the most interesting thing to look at is the execution of the art, rather than the content. The diversity of how people see the world and translate it into art really fascinates me, particularly how many styles can emerge from the same starting point (The world around us).
7. Where did you study?
A lovely place called Norwich School of Art and Design (now know as Norwich University of the Arts).
8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?
I’m happy freelancing, so can see myself continuing on this path, hopefully with a lovely enormous studio space.
9. What about in ten?
Let’s be ambitious. I’d like to be living in California with a family, maybe with some kind of shop to sell prints and merchandise.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
I want people to enjoy it, and feel a sense of escape. On a superficial level I hope to achieve beauty and desire, as no matter how much deep meaning an image contains I feel there is real skill in appealing to people’s innate appreciation of composition and recognising strong imagery.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
Ribs, Ribs, Ribs- covered with bbq sauce in a 70:30 ratio of sauce to rib.
12. Favourite book?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
13. Favourite genre of music?
14. What are your hobbies?
I enjoy running, football and Grand Theft Auto V (Although Vice City is still the best IMO).
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?