What did you want to be growing up?
I wanted to be a footballer, a Ghostbuster, or an artist. I think I also wanted to be an animator because it seemed to be the way you could live your life doing cartoons.
What took you to New York?
I was living in Nottingham, but travelling for work. It was exciting: new people, new places, new food. But then I’d have to go back home. It was always sad to leave. Nothing against Nottingham or the UK, but I started to feel a bit like Frodo; I’d seen other places, I couldn’t go back to the Shire. I think it altered something within me, and I just needed more. I needed to keep following those lights. It was a very long leap from Nottingham, over the Atlantic. Big change, new challenges. It kind of distracted me from myself. I’m not necessarily adventurous by nature, so it was a big effort.
Moving to New York was scary, but cleansing. Those two things are connected, right? It’s great how diverse it is; you get all these weird match-ups. That’s why I jump from one thing to another because it serves the idea that this and that don’t normally exist together. It could be culturally; it could be with food or music or art or technology.
How, if at all, is the subject you studied useful to your current role?
I studied economics, maths, and art at A-Level. I feel they’ve all been very useful. I mean that’s the magic of education; you sort of absorb it into you. But I think the most important thing is curiosity and maintaining that desire to keep learning. The world I entered post-art school – and the rules I had to play by – are very different to the one we’re in now. It’s really important to keep refreshing how we work. There are people of my generation who I remember meeting early on in my creative career journey who have stopped doing what they did, because they felt trapped by not knowing how Instagram works, for example. It’s a bit of a shame, but I can understand why it’s overwhelming. I’m sure that will happen to me as I get older. I’ll get more grumpy and stuff.
I didn’t study illustration or design, but I dip into those disciplines now. It’s all about having the freedom to make things. Even if you’re working commercially, you have to be able to make your own stuff and have your own ideas.