Congrats, you’ve moved into the new studio. What were the most difficult challenges? Thank you Radim, there are many challenges to moving into a new studio and adapting to new workspace. You have now entered into something unfamiliar and you worry about how this new environment will affect your artistic mojo. We spent a few days planning how we wanted the space look and spend many more hours on end in IKEA starring at cheap plastic things that would make studio look expensive. The drawback to the IKEA effect is that you end up spending four times a much money and walk out with a fake minx rug and a cold hot dog in hand, regret every single second you spent in there. We have now settled in nicely and with a growing team surround us we can finally say that our Mojo is back and that fake minx rug is now in the skip.
What is the new vision for the blup studio and beyond? The vision is to break the American and Asian design scene and our work to be seen everywhere. We’ve been lucky enough to have been working with China’s biggest pop star and the exposure Blup (design and clothing) will get from this is huge. We’ve been working on tour merchandise and a Blup apparel collaboration which is set to launch later this year. Very excited about this!! keep an eye out.
You’ve come a long way from Southampton and club culture, what are you fondest moments of your career path til today? It is now been three years since I left Southampton. I do actually really miss the place a lot, Imagine paying £250 rent a month and exchanging design work for a free bar every night of the week I was in heaven! The time came when Alex and I had to slap ourselves in the face and wake up to reality and move to London to expand BLUP and turn it into an actual "London based” creative agency. The most important step for my career so far was being appointed as art director for Junk club (the South Coast's biggest nightclub). This was a blessing in disguise, not only did this teach me a valuable lesson in how to run a successful business with all the problems and joys that face but how to develop a commercial style mixed with an abstract flavour that will be seen all over the place from London to Ibiza. This was a huge step into building a solid fan and client base that continue to follow and support us to this day.
You’ve been always outspoken about originality in contemporary digital illustration. Where do you see the current state of industry? We've given a few design talks whether it is at university or in front of large crowd about the importance of originality. Having something that stands out from the crowd is vital to achieve the right steps to launch in your career in design. Because the Internet play such a huge part and influence to a lot of young designers today I'm seeing a lot of unoriginality and clones of work from successful designers/Artists and the movement seems to have become stagnant. Originality is so hard to find these days but I when come across original designers such as Samuel Carter Mensah, Geo-One, Ed Tarquin and of course Radim Malinic to name a few, I get that buzzing feeling and I am eager to collaborate with new talent and create magic.
Blup work is becoming quite eclectic. How to balance the elements and adding your ‘Blup’ stamp? Over the years people didn't quite "Get" what we actually do. I would create a lovely bit of art and would often hear from clients “it's beautiful... But I don't see how we can use this?” One day it clicked and I understood what they were trying to say! All we had to do is put our artwork on products such as CD covers or in a picture frame and suddenly they got it. We gave them the visual reference of what and how our artwork could be used. From then on it was easy to convey what to do and open up the clients mind.
Are you planning new merchandise for Blup Store? The BLUP store is a next big adventure we've got lined up. We cannot wait to get this baby out. There is a whole new collection being developed and we're going to take the BLUP merchandise to another level. For years people have been asking us to produce some art on t-shirts for them to wear and now is the time to give them what they always wanted. We have some big names on our BLUP T-shirt ticket list and we just want BLUP to be everywhere!
What is your favourite item from the store? My favourite item on the BLUP store will be our sculptures. What we want is a crazy bit of BLUP artwork, made of gold and stood18 foot high! That would be something to send over to Aunty in Jamaica – F***k the postage!
Where do you see your current style evolving further? Blup want to take this style to another level. Use even less colour (sorry Radim) and get even more weird! We want to produce a whole new style pushing it as far as we can and create a trend that can be used on clothing and product. I've been itching to get our work somehow moving, floating, shaking even turn into a 3d hologram… anything! There is no limits to what technology can do and i’m always on the lookout to find out how the BLUP style can get even more extreme.
Personal signature style can elevate a creative into new heights. However, do you think it can also be a burden? How important is to re-invent yourself? Having a signature style is often a burden. You can become pigeonholed and that is all people want to see from us. We have however, been quite lucky with our clients who are very open-minded and all willing to try new trends and styles. Our aim is to push to clients in this direction and stay open and honest with them about what direction we want to take their brand in. Re-invent yourself once a year is vital if you want to stay current and ahead of the curve.
Your recent collaboration with Nike for England football team was superb. What was the driving idea behind the cut up style? Thanks bro, It was a great honour to be involved in such a big project such as this. We were approached to represent England for the launch of the new Nike England kit which was launching in Singapore. The exposure was massive and for work to be seen in Asia was a real buzz! The idea behind this was to really show off the material used in the kit. We took interesting elements from the material texture and chopped it up to reform a solid form - within this we’ve also add pure elements that represented what the England football team represents.
Perception of colours is unique to every person. How do you view use of colours in your work? The use of colour is so important. Before, i would over kill on colour and always felt the balance wasn't quite right. I couldn't understand where I was going wrong. I went back to the drawing board and learned how to use colour, study the different colour pallets and understand what colour is and how to balance it. I later found out it isn't about the amount of colour you use but how to play with and manipulate the shades of colour and carefully introduce splashes of it to give the artwork that pop. Creating that fine balance of what the eye wants to see allows the work to express it's self in it's own right.
How much work from today do you think will be still relevant in 10 years time? Do you feel there’s enough longevity in modern creativity? Design will always survive. We need it. The more I look around and take a step back I find that the illustration and sculptural artists are constantly evolving and pushing those barriers of what design and art really is. The only way for digital art to keep up is if we were to collaborate and take a step away form the internet for a few hours and look beyond. Go outside, study and observe fashion, culture and other forms of art. Don't be afraid to look up. There is an abundance of beautiful and inspiring things around us that it could spark that extra imagination to create that perfect piece of design.
You’re rather prolific on social media. Where do you see its benefits? Social media is so important if you want gain maximum exposure and dominate your field, post things that your followers want to see and hear. We use the social media platforms to our advantage and create a nice hype for an up and coming event, piece of new artwork or a launch of a new product. We’ve also added a touch of positive messaging and inspirational quotes to our tweets to add that extra dimension and this move has proved to be a very successful one.
If you could start a new social network, what would you start? If we were to start a social media platform, we will just call it BLUP! I’ve always thought about what i would do, but if push came to shove I would create a platform where designers and artists can share and collaborate through the magic of the internet. It would be a place where you can learn techniques and openly invite others to design and share with you anything at anytime, wherever you are. Something like this will bring the design community together and everyone will benefit. That, or an app that would make rush hours disappear for ever!!
With design festivals and conferences aplenty, what is the key ingredient of a good talk and what do you want people to take away from your talks? I absolutely love a good design talk or conference. It’s a chance for me to sit back and listen to others career journeys and learn how they got to where they are today. It’s always nice to have a good mix of design legends and newly discovered talents. For me, what makes a good talk is humour and honesty. The humour keeps the room buzzing and the honesty inspires one another. I always like to hear the highs and lows of a design career and if they ever faced a problem what the solution was. When invited to give a design talk, we always like to throw these elements in and give the audience something they can be inspired from.
What is the piece of work that you consider as a timeless classic? Without a shadow of a doubt the Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” album cover! The detail and execution of something design 25 years ago still stands out as one of the greatest album overs ever designed.
Who do you consider the hero of modern creativity? Fashion Designer Rick Owens. His vision and direction in his clothing is beyond its time. Every single item of clothing he designs is a work of art. From the minimal shapes in which he drapes his models in to the eccentric juxtaposition of each stitch created. A true inspiration.