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Art That Stays With You
This year's ace campaign art (above) comes to us courtesy of internationally renowned illustrator Adrian Johnson. A reductionist at heart, Adrian is known for his economical, highly crafted work that derives from obsessively drawing and re-drawing on paper, breaking down ideas and concepts into their purest form. Adrian's work (for clients including Adidas, Coca Cola, IBM, Puma, Stüssy and Volkswagen) has been exhibited in London, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. He lives and works in the UK, but generously took time out in the middle of moving to Copenhagen in order to answer a few questions for us.
At what point did you decide to pursue illustration as a career? How did you get started?
I'm not sure I've ever 'pursued' illustration as a career; the career has become a by-product of my work. I think becoming an illustrator – or, for that matter, following any creative path – is something I've always hoped to follow for many reasons, including not being particular proficient at anything else!
What was your thought process behind the artwork you did for MIFF this year?
I wanted to create something iconic, direct and graphic. I always try and find harmony between simplicity and sophistication, so this was the perfect platform. I love posters, print... I'm just sad that I won't get to see the artwork as intended: in situ, where the artwork 'lives' in the real world.
What does your day-to-day schedule look like; what is your current working set-up?
Right now, I don't have a working set up! We're relocating from the South Coast of England to Copenhagen. I have a studio in Copenhagen, but right now all my stuff is being shipped over to Denmark. Hopefully things will settle in a few weeks and I can get set up.
What has been one of your favourite previous commissions to work on? Are there any interesting ones coming up you can share?
I'd probably say the posters I made for Le Tour de France / Transport for London. I'm a keen cyclist and a big fan of Le Tour, so being given the opportunity to contribute to the rich visual tapestry that the Tour and Transport for London share was a genuine privilege.
What advice would you give to new graphic artists & illustrators starting out or looking to break into the industry?
I think it goes without saying: hard work. But also you've got to be driven, focused.
I would also advise to turn off the internet for inspiration!