WILL RICHARDS/ ILLWOOKIE

CH.89: If you were to categorize or describe the style of your artwork, what would it be and why?

WR: It’s a bit fun, it’s bold and it’s simple. I see my work as a blend of graphic design and illustration. I tend to use thick bold lines using only 2 or 3 colors. I often feel like less is more. I enjoy trying to mix in some iconography wherever I can.

CH.89: Where do you draw your inspiration from?

WR: The animal Kingdom, sculpture, countries with hot climates (cause I’m always dreaming of being on holiday) and pizza.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about what your creative thought process is like when starting a new project/ piece of artwork?

WR: If I am working on a commission, I think a lot more logistically than when I’m creating something for myself. There is usually a design brief to work from when working with a client and I find the restrictions to actually be incredibly helpful for my creativity. When I am working within a set of parameters, I find it much easier to reach an end goal.

WR: When working on a personal project I am much more free with the whole process and allow myself to explore avenues that I may not have the chance to go down with client work. This usually means creating work using more analogue methods such as painting or embroidery, whereas I usually create my work digitally using a Wacom tablet.

CH.89: Is there anything in particular that you would want people to take from your artwork?

WR: My work isn’t for anyone looking to draw a deep, or profound message from. I would hope that they see the fun in my designs. That is not to say my work goes largely without a purpose – it has a functionality to it in terms of branding, or a logo.

CH.89: Can you talk a little bit about your lifestyle as an artist and what that is like?

WR: The last few years have been pretty non-stop for me. I was working two part time jobs and working on Illwookie stuff in the evenings and on weekends. The more time and effort I put into my artwork, the more people were responding to it in a positive way and coming to me for commissioned work. As the work picked up, I gradually was able to cut down my hours until I could eventually leave and go full time freelance.

WR: This has been a super recent development for me and is a big scary step to take! So far it has been great for me to focus all my efforts on my design work and has really re-kindled my passion for what I do. It has also made me feel incredibly lucky to work doing something I really care about.

CH.89: When starting out an artistic task, do you think it is better to have a particular direction/set plan guiding your way? Or, is it better to act on impulse and go from there?

WR: I find the best place to start is to gather some reference material and make a kind of mood board for things that I’m into, or things that I think might work for the design brief. The next step is to just get sketching and figuring out the elements and the composition of the design.

CH.89: What is one major lesson you’ve learned as an artist thus far?

WR: The importance of self-worth is by far the biggest lesson I have learned. As with all the best life lessons, this of course has come from making a series of mistakes and learning from them. As a freelancer, you have to be confident in the worth of what you believe you have to offer to a client. You need to be able to say ‘no’ to people and to stand your ground from time to time. You also have to learn when to compromise and when to settle.

CH.89: Do you regard personal style & taste to be of highest importance?

WR: Not really, I think it can be good to know what you like. But I also think It’s really important to let other people teach you about things you may not have been willing to learn about before. I think it’s really beneficial for your creativity to be into a whole bunch of styles.

CH.89: What do you consider to be the hardest thing about being an artist?

WR: The amount of coffee you drink.

CH.89: What is one thing you love about being an artist?

WR: The amount of coffee you drink.

CH.89: Is there anyone in particular, any artist’s that inspire you in any way?

WR: Cleon Peterson, Mercedes Bellido & Sean Morris to name a few. Cleon Petersons work is by far my biggest inspiration; I was lucky enough to see an exhibition of his in Paris a few years ago along with his giant mural beneath the Eiffel Tower. His work is so routed in and inspired by antiquity and art history in particular Roman and Greek motifs.

CH.89: What do you think of technology in terms of being a useful tool for artists today?

WR: As I mentioned previously, I create a lot of my work using a Wacom tablet. The end result is not unlike anything I could create using more manual methods, but it’s the process that is made much more efficient. Technology is wonderful tool for artists to explore and experiment with and by no means makes the artwork less valuable or less valid. Having said that, I do believe that the feeling you get from creating something in a more hands on approach can be 10 times more rewarding.

CH.89: Do you think being an artist allows you to view the world differently from those who don’t follow creative paths?

WR: Absolutely, that’s not at all to say that the way I or any other artist views the world is somehow better. It’s just different.

CH.89: Do you enjoy traveling? If so, do you have a favorite city?

WR: I’ve always loved to travel, it is always so refreshing for your creativity to get out and explore another part of the world. My favorite city has to be Kyoto in Japan or Copenhagen in Denmark.

CH.89: Do you have a favorite author or book?

WR: I actually don’t really read so much. I’ve read all the Harry Potters though. Big up Hufflepuff!

CH.89: Any future goals or plans for your artwork?

WR: Lots. They are never ending. My main goal for the short term is to paint more and create more work for myself. I will also be releasing a bunch of new products before the end of the year. Long-term plans include: working with more awesome clients and taking part in more events such as art fairs and exhibitions.

CH.89: What does being an artist mean to you?

WR: I think being an artist means creating works that reflect how you feel in some way. Whereas being a designer means solving problems in some way. I am somewhere in the middle I think.

CH.89: What’s the last song you listened to?

WR: Truth Is Heavy by Benjamin Booker

CH.89: Any last words on the aesthetic of your artwork?

WR: Keep it simple.

CHECK OUT MORE ON: WILL RICHARDS/ ILLWOOKIE

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