In what we hope will become a regular feature, we are going behind the scenes with some of the hugely talented artists and makers we feature on here. And who better to start with than the uber talented Mr Peters aka Imeus Design, not only a very good friend of ours but also the man we have to thank for styling the blog. Currently exhibiting at the Hayward gallery until 3rd June and appearing for one week only on website Bamarang, where you can buy a selection of his prints at a 30% discount, the man of the moment gave us some background into his work. Enjoy!
Self-taught illustrator and poster artist Anthony Peters is the founder of Imeus design studio, producing beautiful and playful graphic imagery for a really diverse and exciting range of clientele. His portfolio encompasses work for advertising and editorial campaigns, book publishing, greetings cards, Open and Limited Edition prints, t-shirts, and company branding…to mention just a few!
Anthony comes from the sunny south coast of England and has exhibited his work across the UK and in the US, alongside such creative legends as David Shrigley, Milton Glaser, Anthony Burrill, Barry McGee and many others.
Q. How would you describe your work?
A. Most of my work is a kind of block colour graphic minimalism, occasionally containing playful typography and traces of nostalgia.
Q. How and when did you first become interested in art and design?
A. I was about 5 or 6 years old and my grandfather took myself and my brother to visit the Natural History Museum in London. I can vividly remember how awesome it felt to be surrounded by these giant skeletons and stuffed animals for the first time… Anyhow my grandfather bought me a fold-out poster containing amazing pictures of the main dinosaurs, and when I got home I drew each one in meticulous detail. My mother told me they were excellent and that I should be an artist. For a few years after that I actually wanted to be an archaeologist, but pencils and paper are more readily available than sites of pre-historic importance.
Q. How would you describe your creative process?
A. My creative process differs a bit from project to project but it always begins with an A3 pad onto which I scribble good old-fashioned bubble diagrams, then incredibly rough compositional workings. Once I have a basic Idea I then get onto the computer and start to work up all the graphics and typography. All my best work features a major change of direction and blast of inspiration about 2/3rds of the way through. However the days when I don’t get this blast of inspiration normally involve good old-fashioned endeavour and hard work to get to a point at which I am satisfied enough to show the client!
Q. What is a typical day for you like? Is there such a thing as a ‘typical’ day?
A. A typical day involves rushing around getting the kids ready. We walk to school and have fun, and then on the walk to the studio I think about ideas and solutions before I get in front of the computer (all the best ideas happen in transit).
Once in the studio I make a hot beverage (this bit is non–negotiable) and answer emails for the first hour then after that I work hard till I have to pick up the kids from school. Then we play hard till my partner gets home and after they are all in bed I work another 2-3 hours!
Q. How do you know when a project is complete?
A. I just kind of know when a project feels finished, but I really could move things around on a page all day and never feel like it is quite balanced. I think Da Vinci said “A work of Art is never finished, only abandoned’ I tend to agree with him! On the other hand a project can be completed when the client is happy with it!
Q. What tool or medium could you not live without?
A. BIC biros, 2B pencils, Daler Rowney A3 pads, my Wacom tablet and Mac…
Q. Can you tell us about just some of the clients you have worked with over the recent years?
A. In the last couple of years I have had the pleasure of working with some amazing clients. I wish I could name them all but the ones who come to mind immediately are the 2K by Gingham, Leo Burnett, School of Happy, Sergeant Paper, Mike Perry, Lost in London, Macmillan, Corraini, and the wonderful guys at Nobrow and Print Club London
Q. Who, or what, would you say has been your biggest inspirations for your illustration work?
A. Music was my first love and for many many years I have collected records, and so I would say that I was first exposed to graphic design and beautiful objects through record sleeve design. From the labels and artists I loved as a kid I was exposed to the awesome talents of designers such as Mike Mills, Neville Brody, Julian House, Peter Saville, Reid Miles, Trevor Jackson and Michael C Place. I appreciated good design and the value of a beautiful object way before I even knew who any of these guys were, and the sleeves always accompanied the music perfectly! It’s such a shame that so little importance is placed on most music packaging in the years since mp3s have taken prominence!
In recent years having children has meant that I have been reunited with artists such as Eric Carle, Maurice Sendak, David Mckee, Dick Bruna, Quentin Blake & Dr Seuss for the first time in 25 years, and I have been exposed to amazing artists such as Oliver Jeffers, Kevin Waldron, Alex Scheffler, Bruno Munari, Hayao Miyazaki and M.Sasek for the first time. This influence has definitely informed the more playful and simplistic way in which I wish to communicate my work.
Q. You have travelled between London and the south coast a great deal over the last couple of years due to work… How important is your environment in influencing how you work and what you create?
A. I mentioned earlier that some of my best ideas happen in transit, and this is never more true than when applied to my years as a commuter. So many ideas that I enjoyed realising happened during the twenty plus hours a week I used to spend on trains to and from London, and in many ways I miss all that time gazing blankly at the beautiful West Sussex scenery while colourful ideas appeared in my mind. There is something to be said for not having access to your tools until an idea is fully formed. It means that every detail is worked out prior to starting the work and not done on the fly.
Q. Any recurring themes in your work?
A. A few things keep popping up here or there. The ones that come to mind immediately are nostalgia, nature, halftones, tower blocks and slab serif fonts.
Q. What advice would you give to anyone struggling to find their own way in a similar field?
A. I have been reading a great book by Paul Arden called ‘Its Not How Good You Are, Its How Good You Want To Be’ and in the opening pages it simply states that ‘Your vision of where or who you want to be is your greatest asset. Without having a goal it is difficult to score.’ I agree wholeheartedly with this point. If you are starting out don’t be baffled by all the copycats and all the talent out there. Just focus on what you want to be and work to a rough schedule. Early on I told myself that I wanted to have my work featured in my favourite publications and that I wanted to have my work exhibited by certain collectives and that I really wanted to work with certain organisations. I set about emailing and contacting everyone I wanted to work with – some I have now worked with – and those who turned me down only spurned me to say ‘This time next year you will say yes!’. You will find that most people you are scared to contact are just friendly and enthusiastic people who have the same goal as you ‘to make something beautiful!’ plus the whole industry needs constant new blood!
Q. What are you currently working on? Do you have any new and exciting projects coming up?
A. I have been working with a kids iphone / ipad app company named School of Happy at the moment and I have further projects with them over the course of 2012. I have done all the app illustration, Art Direction, graphics and Identity work for the brand and the whole thing looks really beautiful. The rest of the team are really talented and the whole thing has really come to life in glorious technicolour!
Q. How do you maintain a balance between work and life?
A. Its easy to maintain this balance if you remove the line between the two. So everything I do falls into the ‘life’ category and the only time ‘work’ creeps in is when a deadline is tight. But in order to avoid this I try and get things done way before the deadline.. that way the work is pleasurable and not stressful.I try to take the same pleasure in my work as I do in my playtime, so doing illustrations or design work really does fall into the same category as building cardboard robots with my children or rock pooling. These experiences eventually feed into my work anyway so it’s all fun and its all work, and that’s why I never take my job for granted!
Q. What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
A. I used to be a mean break-dancer in the Eighties when I was ten years old!
Q. Do you have lots of artwork in your own home? If so, can you tell us about one or two pieces specifically? Any favourites?
A. I own limited edition screen prints by James Joyce, Andy Smith, John Mcnaught, Jon Burgerman and Small Stakes, and I have some other wonderful things scattered around my walls from Paul Blow, Takashi Furuya and Blanca Gomez. I love all these works but am particularly fond of my Andy Smith and John Mcnaught pieces at present, they bring me great pleasure! Oh and my Grandfather clock decal from Blik is pretty sweet and I adore my Magpie lampshade from Radiance!!!
Website link: www.imeusdesign.co.uk