A brander by nature, an illustrator by heart, a curator by interest; but for everyone else just Mr. Gresty.
Being a designer for a multitude of companies, what makes you want to work with a brand?
A lot of my design work is branding start-up companies. I especially enjoy this area. Seeing the client’s excitement and enthusiasm towards my ideas and their new brand. I love working together on something like that, something new and fresh.
How would you describe your design identity and how does it show in your work for other companies?
I love to work with vibrant and positive colours and I always use a sense of humour and simple shapes in my work. In most cases my clients have seen other projects of mine and ask me to do my thing for them.
Tell us about the process of becoming the multitasking artist you are today.
I can’t let myself run out of things to do, if I do I feel lost. My system consists of working on all the commissioned projects first and then filling the gaps with all those personal projects. The variety of work keeps me stimulated.
You are a graphic designer, an illustrator, an author, a curator... How did you get involved with such a variety of work?
If I have an idea that in my opinion is worth trying, I’ll give it a go. As I work for myself and don’t have employees, I have the time and space to experiment. All those job titles share a characteristic; they are all creative solutions to a problem.
Many people say this is the future of the creative industry, the more you can do the higher you will get. Do you believe this is true?
I think that in the commercial world this could look good on a CV but on the other hand you can come across as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. Some creatives will evolve their style and move on to the thing that they’re passionate about and pick up skills along the way. I believe I am one of those last creatives.
Working with typography a lot, what is your favourite font?
I don’t have one. Helvetica? No I don’t have one.
Is there a creative you are dying to work with?
I’ve never thought about it. To be honest I prefer to work on my own, but I am open to offers!
When did curating become a part of your career? What is it that attracts you to the field and what is the craziest idea you have ever had for an event?
In 2010, I started screen-printing and enjoyed it very much in Uni. I was in a bar in Clapton, Hackney, soon after speaking to the owner about the art on his walls, he said if I was interested I could put my work up! I said yes. At this point I had only created two typographic screen-prints. After a few solid weeks of printing lots of ideas from my sketchbook, I hung my first solo exhibition. Five years later and I’m getting ready to hang my 22nd exhibition. With the mixed exhibitions I enjoy seeing the variety of creative solutions to the same brief and like seeing my name in the line-up with artist who I admire.
The most creative and challenging exhibition was Whisper, based on the old game ‘Chinese Whispers’. I illustrated the first piece and gave it a title, I passed that title to the next artist and told them they could change the title slightly and that new title was their brief, then I passed their title to the next artist and so on!
You have been curating LHR exhibitions for the past two years. In your opinion, what is special about this 15th edition?
The 15th LHR Exhibition – The Things I Think About, When I Think About Thinking, has been the most open brief yet. I had been thinking about the mainstream media and that if something is bland and non-threatening it does well. I have created a small handful of pieces over the last few years that I am happy with and others that I’m personally not keen on; I have noticed that these last ones sell really well and my favourite pieces not so much. So the brief was for the artists to submit their very own favourite personal piece, not following trends or public demand.
The LHR exhibitions have taken place in bars, the entrance doesn’t cost a penny and is open for everyone and the artists are as free as can be in the work they deliver. All these elements make for an experience that is everything but your everyday gallery stroll. What inspired you to create these events?
I wanted to be able to hang a collection of work, where lots of people would see it, hear about the artists and wouldn’t have to pay to see it. At the same time I wanted it to be available to purchase and when a piece sells for that artist to be able to keep 100% of the money. I don’t think a bar is the best environment for art but it helps me achieve the issue of cost. All it takes is some time and life is long, I have lots of free time!
Line-up: Mr Gresty, Claire E Hind, Ian Viggars, Freya Faulkner, Shona Read, Emma Russell, VJ Von Art, Lee Bromfield, James Dawe, Jake Townsend, Wiktor Malinowski, Dan Buckley, Dan Huglife, Jeff Knowles, Dylan White, Simon Fitzmaurice, Steven Quinn, Ricky Byrne, Stina Jones, Silvia Carrus, Julian Kerr, Nathan James Page III, Sean Gall, Josh Bond, James Morley, Craig Keenan and Raiph Vaughan.
This is the 15th LHR exhibition and sadly my last. I will keep you posted.
LHR Exhibition curated by Mr Gresty. 2013 - 2015