You describe yourself as “self taught” what was the decision to veer away from doing an art and design degree?
I actually studied IT, maths and physics at college. Which is pretty much as far away from art as you can get. I ended up quitting college and getting a job as a games tester, so by the time I thought about doing illustration as a career there didn’t seem much point in doing a degree.
Having worked in both Tokyo and Seattle, how would you say these places have influenced your style of work?
That’s a good question that I’ve never really thought about. I wouldn’t say they influenced me in a conscious way, but they definitely must have subconsciously since Tokyo in particular is like a visual puke of neon and weirdly shaped letters that you can’t read. It’s often quite baffling and busy, which I guess is pretty similar to a lot of my work.
What are your favourite pieces of merch that you’ve seen over the years?
I know it’s a big trend right now, but I’m really loving all the enamel pins that everyone’s been making. There are some really cool designs out there and they seem to be a great medium to tackle very niche subject matters in a really fun way. They’re almost like the meme versions of merch. In fact I liked them so much that I made my own ones just before Christmas.
We noticed a series of illustrated ampersands on your Instagram feed – what’s the story there?
I love doodling letter shapes, but often it’s hard to pick which letter to do, so a couple of years ago I started doing ampersands, because who doesn’t like an ampersand? Near the end of 2015 it developed into a little colouring book, then I started doodling on papier-mâché ampersands. I just love the shape of them – they’re like letter worms.
Who are some brands or fellow designers that you would love to collaborate with?
I’d love to collaborate on something with Nike or maybe Vans since they’re both companies that are quite open to working with artists. I used to run a big sneaker website called Crooked Tongues and we collaborated with some brands but I never got the chance to do any sneakers under my own name, so that would be an amazing thing to get involved in.
What’s been your favourite piece of work to date?
I think one of the favourite things I’ve done in the last few years was the basketball that I doodled on for Nike. The reason being that I was totally dreading it because the texture of the ball makes it really hard to draw on, but after an entire day of doodling and about 3 layers of paint on most sections I think it turned out a lot better than I feared it would. I was worried I’d end up slicing through it with a samurai sword and spitting on its grave, but it ended up being one of my favourite pieces.
How’s 2017 looking for you? What can we expect to see from you?
Besides freelance work, which I’d need a crystal ball to predict, I have quite a few projects I want to get involved in this year. I’m planning on doing more tactile work, so I’d like to do something in wood, or more plasticine pieces. I’d love to continue making the ampersands, maybe some more skateboards which are super fun to draw on. I’m also working on really fun illustrated book with DJ Anne Frankenstein that we hope to release this year.
See more of Tim’s work here.
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