Our fifth collaborative Christmas card is now in the post. This year we worked with artist Joseph Brown to create our festive gingerbread character. In case you’re new to our annual card we have a recurring (and simple) brief, where we ask an artist or illustrator to respond to the phrase: ‘31% Wool, 69% [insert Christmassy word/s]’.
Here we chat about our collaboration, as well as about Joseph’s artistic practice.
Julia: How did you become an artist?
Joseph: I've always liked to draw and decided to focus on art after struggling with Maths and English when in school. I then did an Art & Design course at Croydon College, a Fine Art course at UAL while volunteering with Turf Projects in Croydon, and now work on Turf's digital marketing. I would now consider myself a practising artist.
Julia: How would you describe your style?
Joseph: My practice is usually centred around the natural world and its inhabitants. When working traditionally, I try to create a lot of detail – usually using pencils. But when working using digital tools I would describe my style as bright and bold – I also usually use a variety of separate shapes to create the finished illustration.
Julia: Where do you usually create your work?
Joseph: Usually at home, but also have made use of workspaces at Turf Projects for larger pieces of work.
Julia: Using our collaboration as an example, what's your usual process when working with a client, from concepts to final illustration?
Joseph: Usually I would speak to the client to find out what ideas they already have for the illustration, for example what elements would they like included and what the illustration is required for. (A product like a card or pamphlet for example). I would then think of and create some rough drafts for the client to see, and once we've decided on an idea to follow, I begin to work on the illustration while getting regular feedback from the client.
Julia: What’s been your favourite commission to date?
Joseph: I'm not sure which would be my favourite, but I really enjoyed working with you and seeing the outcome of the Christmas cards. 🙂
Julia: You use both digital and traditional methods in your illustrations – how do you decide what media to use and what are your current preferred processes?
Joseph: When making one-off detailed art of a subject, like an animal or plant, I prefer to use pencils to draw and colour them. When creating an illustration that will be used many times or requires brighter eye-catching colours, I usually use digital methods. Overall I do prefer using traditional mediums but need a specific environment to create art I would be happy with.
Julia: Apart from our card, what’s the most festive illustration you’ve ever created?
Joseph: I haven't created many festive illustrations but I have painted a species of Scarab beetle from Australia known as the Christmas Beetle (above right). 🙂
Julia: What next for you?
Joseph: I'm planning to continue creating art – I've applied to some MA courses and I'd also like to learn more about using digital programs which I think would help with any commissions I may work on in the future and also with my role at Turf.
Thank you to Joseph for the chat. Keep up with Joseph’s work on his Instagram.