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Blink Interviews: James Brown

We first came across James Brown’s skills at the Little London Fields festival, and we were hooked immediately. We featured one of his poster designs on the blog back in August. We just had to make contact with James and were delighted when he agreed to an interview with us.

James Brown is an illustrator and printmaker living and working in London. Trained as a textile and surface print designer, James worked in the clothing industry for 10 years producing print designs for numerous brands from Levis to Louis Vuitton. James embarking on a new career as an illustrator in 2007.

James has been commissioned to produce work by publishing houses, magazines and newspapers and advertising and design agencies. Recent clients include Oxfam, Cancer Research, The Guardian and Faber & Faber . Alongside these commissions, James produces limited edition screen prints and linocuts. The traditional processes that go into the production of James’ prints are very important.

What are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
I have just finished printing an edition for the V&A based the William Morris quote;
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
I tried very hard to make it beautiful! I do hope Mr Morris would have thought it worthy of hanging on his wall.

How did you discover your creative skills?
My parents are both illustrators, they didn’t pushed me into the creative industry but helped me in any way they could.

What or who are your longest standing design influences?
Edward Bawden, M.C Ecsher, Victor Vaserely.

What’s currently inspiring you?
Shoes. I’m working on a print of gents shoes to go with my HATS print.

Has your career developed in the way that you anticipated?
I have never really felt that I know where I am going with my career, but if I look back it has a very logical progression.
I studied Printed Textiles at college and spent 10 years working in the clothing industry, so I have just swapped from printing fabric to printing on paper.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Familiar and friendly with a nod to the past.

Do you work best alone or collaboratively?
I have never really done it before until recently. In mid September I have 4 screen-prints coming out which I have done with Cath Kidston. We are both happy very with them, so I guess that means the collaboration worked.

What’s the best thing about your job?
Truly enjoying what I do and seeing other people enjoy it too.

Any future projects that you’d like to tell us about?
I have two childrens books coming out next year. Published by Walker Books, they are both board books for babies one about shapes and the other about animals. Both are heavily patterned in high contrast colours. A page of horses from the book is one of the images below.

Pencil and paper or computer and mouse?
A computer is one of many important tools that I have in my pencil case.

Who would you love to work with, past or present?
I really enjoy making prints and posters for small events and businesses that I like and believe in, like the posters I created for The Scythe Festival and The Friends of Homerton Station

Any final word of advise?
Say yes to everything (within reason), you never know where it may lead you.

Designer James Brown in his studio in Hackney Wick, East London.

The flier for James' designs in collaboration with Cath Kidston

'Hats'

from one of the childrens books

The Scythe Festival poster

for the V&A

Thanks so much James. Another great addition to our series of interviews with inspirational individuals, I’m sure you’ll agree. Click here to see the rest of our interviews and get ready to be INSPIRED!

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One Response to “Blink Interviews: James Brown”

  1. Graphical says:

    Really like the horses graphics. Great post!

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