This week Brighton Journal spoke to local illustrator and designer, Anthony Atkinson. Anthony’s bold and energetic work is rooted in storytelling, and he has worked with the likes of Ebury Press. He takes inspiration from artists such as Daniel Clowes and Jim Phillips to create his colourful and impactful images. We discussed Anthony’s favourite things to do locally, his love of Renaissance and Medieval art, as well as his current projects. Take a look.
What are you doing today?
I’m working in my studio today playing around with a bit of animation. I’ve got my dog, Leo here with me and he’s pacing around because he knows it’s nearly his dinner time!
Describe where you do most of your creative work.
I mainly work in my studio space which is part of Rodhus Creative Studios, just off Lewes Road. I’ve recently upgraded to a larger space and have moved all of my art stuff out of my house, so I guess I’ll be doing all of my work from here from now on! It is great to have a dedicated place for my creative work and definitely helps me to focus.
What’s the most exciting thing you’ve worked on?
A few years back I illustrated a book that was published by Ebury Press. It was a lot of work but I really enjoyed seeing my work in shops and selling on Amazon!
What made you decide to become an artist?
I always loved drawing and found a sense of escapism in creating stuff on a page. Also I loved watching old footage of artists on TV, cool people like Pollock and Warhol, and I wanted to be like them.
What are you currently working on?
A few months ago I created a fictional pasta brand and designed some packaging for them featuring Italian landscapes. So now I’m working on an illustrated poster advertising the pasta – just an excuse to create a lovely golden Tuscan scene which will go on sale in my shop.
What are the key themes in your work?
I guess magic – that point where bold line meets bold colours and creates something energetic and playful. Also I love stories and how we can create other worlds in a single image.
What would you like people to notice about your work?
I love mark-making and always strive to have that front and centre in my work. Quality of line is really important to me and I feel that’s what hold’s my work together and gives it energy.
What attracts you to the medium you work in?
I really love messing about with ink and get really inspired by other illustrators and how they use the medium. I’m a bit of nerd and have really gotten into different inks, pen nibs and just drawing generally!
What equipment could you not do without?
4B pencils, always Staedtler Tradition – those red and black ones you used to get at school… (I even have a tattoo of one on my arm!)
Who or what inspires you?
Definitely looking at other artists’ work. Currently it’s Daniel Clowes, Jim Phillips and Chinese Propaganda posters, but it changes often and can include anything from Roger Dean to Jean-Michel Bacquiat.
How is your work affected by living in this area?
I think just being around other creative people is really helpful – just seeing other people doing things that they love and making it part of their lives is really inspiring.
What’s your favourite thing to do locally?
Sounds obvious but going to the pub! I love being able to buy my friends a beer and while away an evening together. We’re so lucky to have such fantastic pubs with great food – let’s hope they survive the challenges that COVID-19 presents.
What’s your favourite gallery (or place to see/experience art)?
It has to be Florence! I love Renaissance and Medieval art and going there feels like you’re in a crazy art theme park. My favourite things are the small doorways and the really ornate jars of saints’ tiny bones – they must have been very small back then!
If you could collaborate with one artist, from any time, who would it be and why?
I think Jean-Michel Basquiat. The creativity that flowed out of him was like pure art gold – who wouldn’t want a piece of that?!
What’s your favourite colour?
Yellow with a bit of red in (100% Yellow, 2% Magenta).
To find out more about Anthony and his work, take a look at his website.