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Interviews — 11 months ago

Super Freak: Putting Notting Hill Carnival on a T-Shirt

Birmingham based illustrator Dan Whitehouse AKA Super Freak isn’t afraid of being bold and colourful with his work.

 

Drawing inspiration from Pop Art and Surrealism, and always depicting brightly coloured jelly-fied, cartoonified objects. Super Freak’s work aims to produce maximum good vibes. So, when preparing a list of artists to help us bring Notting Hill Carnival 2018 to live via the medium of t-shirts, we knew he had to be one of them.

 

We caught up with Super Freak ahead of Notting Hill Carnival to discuss his t-shirt design and how he approached the brief.

 

Take your pick from the Notting Hill Carnival store here, limited edition never to be printed again.

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Everpress Team
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Super Freak's Notting Hill Carnival design
Original artwork by Super Freak

LET’S KICK THINGS OFF, CAN YOU TELL THE COMMUNITY A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF?

Hey! My name is Dan. I live in Birmingham, I like art, I like music, I currently have a really bad toothache and I LOVE cheese sandwiches.

YOUR WORK IS AMAZING, HOW DID YOU GET INTO ILLUSTRATION?

Thank you! It all came from my Dad I think. When I was about 6 I used to go into his room and steal his art folder he put together when he was at school and I used to just trace over them and change the colors. My fave was this badass drawing of The Terminator he did. Ended up with loads of (really bad) copies of it.

Original artwork by Super Freak
Original artwork by Super Freak

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE ILLUSTRATIONS THAT YOU CREATE?

I think my Illustrations are just fun. There’s too much negativity in the world right now and I ain’t got time for that! I like to create things that will put me in a good mood and hopefully anyone I share them with. I also love to make weird characters who are always the heart and soul of a Super Freak party!

 

Warhol Poster by Super Freak

YOU MAKE YOUR WORK UNDER THE NAME SUPER FREAK, WHERE DID THIS ORIGINATE?

The name comes from that absolute classic Rick James song.

It all happened when I was still at university, where I was making the definitive decision to become a freelance Illustrator once I graduate. I just wanted to stand out when I left because it was really daunting knowing that there are so many great artists out there all looking for the same thing. So Super Freak was born!

I like to create things that will put me in a good mood and hopefully anyone I share them with

super freak andy warhol campbells soup illustration
Original artwork by Super Freak

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE ABLE TO CREATE A DESIGN FOR NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL 2018 ALONGSIDE 11 OTHER CREATORS?

The Notting Hill Carnival is such a culturally diverse event and to be given the chance to contribute towards this beautiful shindig is such an honour! I love that it brings people together from all sorts of backgrounds which is also something I always try to push in my work. Perfect match.

Super Freak’s Notting Hill Carnival tee

DID YOU APPROACH THIS DESIGN DIFFERENTLY TO OTHER PIECES OF YOUR WORK?

Kind of yeah. I started it with sketches as usual but with this design, I really focused on the composition of my illustrations. I wanted to highlight the key features of the carnival and everything being in the street so the layout of all the components needed to gel together nicely in order to emphasise the groovy vibes!

DO YOU ENJOY THE PROCESS OF MAKING YOUR WORK MORE THAN THE FINISHED PRODUCT?

Toughie! There’s no denying that I just totally love having the end result in front of my face and grinning like a nutter because I’m happy with it. But I do generally really enjoy the thought process that comes before it as it’s during these moments when I can surprise myself with my simple lil brain.

 

Original artwork by Super Freak
Original artwork by Super Freak

YOU’VE WORKED WITH FELLOW BIRMINGHAM NATIVES, JAWS. DO YOU HAVE ANY EXCITING IN THE PIPELINE?

Ahhh yes! Great guys and great bloody music. I’ve got a few exciting projects coming up BUT I CAN’T SHARE I’M SORRY. Although, I’ve been tinkering around with some ideas for a new zine and series of prints so keep your eyes peeled folks.

Jaws Album Cover by Super Freak
Jaws Album Cover by Super Freak

FINALLY, ANY CARNIVAL TIPS FOR FIRST TIME GOERS?

EAT THE FOOD, DANCE TO THE GROOVES AND HAVE A BLOODY GOOD TIME.