How collaborative is your role?
For bigger projects I collaborate with other makers, and much of the time they might specialise in a technique or material which I am less familiar with. It’s nice to learn from each other in that way.
What are the most and least enjoyable aspects of your job?
For me the most enjoyable part of my job is being able to see an idea come to life and being able to play with materials. There are also mundane aspects – I have to have my business head on when budgeting for projects. This can be quite draining and stressful when figuring out the feasibility of a project. My job is as much about logistics as it is the creative process.
What has been the most exciting project of the last twelve months?
The most satisfying recent project was a photo series for Kinfolk magazine called In Anxious Anticipation. I collaborated with photographer Aaron Tilley and designed set pieces that evoked a sense of unease and apprehension. This included a rock about to swing and light up a set of matches, another was some eggs rolling down a gutter pipe about to smash onto a marble plinth. I really enjoyed creating various scenarios with everyday objects and materials. The project went pretty viral on several design blogs last spring, and Aaron and I have since collaborated on a few more projects on the back of its success.
What skills are essential to your job?
I’d say you need to think conceptually, but also practically. There’s no point in proposing an idea that’s way out of budget or requires more time than is available – it’s about being creative within the limitations of the brief. It’s good to have a broad range of making skills, with a good understanding of using different materials and techniques. Building good working relationships with photographers and other makers has also been vital to my success, particularly as a set designer. My illustration work can sometimes be more solitary, especially if I am shooting the project myself too, but for bigger projects collaboration is key!
What tools do you use most for your work?
A Macbook Pro for image editing, emailing clients and sending sketches; phone for emails, calls and taking progress photos of models to send to clients; a Canon 5D camera for shooting the final images; photography lights; Photoshop and Illustrator for sketches and image editing; InDesign for putting together pitch documents and Excel for putting budgets together.
Then I also use a cutting mat, scalpels, circle cutters, UHU glue, PVA, paper, card, paper plotter, wood, foam board, pins, rulers, a band saw, hot wire cutter, sander and a hacksaw.