Instagram: @symonism
Website: www.symonmcvilly.com

 

1. What’s your story? Where are you from?

I’m from Melbourne, Australia. Good city, Amazing music scene (best in the world i reckon). Really tight knit illustration scene. Everybody is super nice and supportive of each other. I dig it.

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2. Tell us about your aesthetic.

I didn’t know how to answer this so i asked my wife what my aesthetic was, she said ‘Symie Style’ so maybe theres something to that. I’m not sure.

3. What is your favourite medium and why?

I use illustrator a lot and I do enjoy the freedom of working digitally. I find it very conducive to a certain kind of experimentation. especially when it comes to colour.
I also think pencils are the best thing in the world. they are pretty perfect.

4. What is your artistic process like?

Im constantly changing my process, though It almost always starts with long periods of procrastination which leads into despair, fear and loathing until i eventually start working.

Lately I’ve been doing timed sketches to warm up. This is something that Ivan Brunetti teaches and its really good, i come up with 10 – 20 items—whatever comes into my head, the i set a timer and spend 2 minutes drawing each item, i do this for about an hour. Its kind of like stretching. it loosens me up. Sometimes ideas for works will sprout from that. either way If i don’t warm up i can’t draw. everything is really stiff.

If its a commercial job i will then start brainstorming with more word association, when that doesn’t work i forget the whole thing and go for a walk. That usually works. Though nearly all my work is digital i always start with a pencil, i just find it easier to get the forms right on paper. From there its all adobe illustrator baby!

5. Who and/or what inspires your work?

I think Daniel Clowes is my biggest inspiration with regard to other artists, His stories and illustration really resonate with me, Also his colour work is amazing, The amount of times I’ve been stuck for colour before finding a solution looking at his work i couldn’t count. Everytime i look at Clowes work I’m inspired to make my own. Inept design is a big inspiration, I love it. Wether its architecture or graphic design i don’t care, The more inept the better. Polished overworked design is boring.

6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?

Art has always played a big role in my life, its all i ever wanted to do. The feeling you get when your experiencing good art is sublime. Its a cliche but it changes the way you look at things, Guys that come to mind are Howard Arkley and Callum Morton who changed the way i look at architecture. It reveals truths.

Another thing i love is that art changes and grows as you grow and your tastes mature. For instance When i was young i couldn’t stand Matisse, i found his work cloying and shallow, these day i love it, i can look at it and see the joy, and craft in it. Good art never gets old.

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7. Where did you study?

Studied Communication Design at RMIT University.

8. Where do you see yourself in five years? Working in an agency?

I hope in five years i am a better illustrator and artist. where and how doesn’t matter to me.

9. What about in ten?

Thinking that far ahead gives me anxiety.

10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?

Personal satisfaction and a modest amount of success, I’m not asking much.

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11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?

I make rad tacos. I like cheeseburgers. I eat poorly. I like sleeping, but hate naps.

12. Favourite book?

‘Atomised’ by Michel Houellebecq had a big effect on me. Its a heavy read but i still recommend it to everyone. ‘Breakfast of Champions’ by Kurt Vonnegut is pretty high up there on the list too.

I really love the work of Joe Sacco too, He is an amazing Journalist and artist, His books ‘Palestine’, Safe Area Goražde’, and ‘The Fixer’ had a big impact on me too, check em out.

Most of everything Dan Clowes has done, but we’ve been through that already.

13. Favourite genre of music?

There are so many i love. Music is rad, everything from LoFi DIY kind of stuff to Country music (pre 80’s), Punk, folk music, jangly guitar stuff. Too many to mention. I have been listening to a lot Psychedelic rock lately, Crazy African psych, Crazy Japanese psych, Brazilian psych, Aussie Psych. I guess i really like Psych. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard’s new record is pretty great.

Also been listening to The Congos, they are a reggae Roots group from Jamaica, there first record was produced by Lee Scratch Perry, been listening to that record a lot in the last couple of weeks. must be the weather.

14. What are your hobbies?

I like to play banjo and video games. Not at the same time though (guffaw guffaw) Boardgames, indoor things. I’m an indoor person these days. I play with my 12 month old kid a lot, he’s pretty cool. Though i don’t think thats a hobby, I think thats just called parenting.

15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?

Financially secure. But probably not. Maybe a musician.

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