Q. We’re here today talking to printmaker Keziah Philipps. Tell me how it all started?
A. I went to University to do Illustration & Animation. It took me ages to decide whether I should do Science or Art at Uni and then I decided to do Animation at Kingston in South London. We got taster sessions of printmaking, but I didn’t really do printmaking until my third year when I studied abroad in America and I went to Michigan. It was studying abroad for an extra year, and my tutors here said I could do what I wanted, I didn’t like the animation class very much so I took printmaking for fun because in America you just choose what you want to take, so I took printmaking and loads of other stuff like ceramics and life drawing. 
So I did printmaking for fun, and I had a brilliant Professsor, Dellas Henke. It was so much fun I did it all the time for a whole year and I didn’t hardly do any animation, but I did animated prints instead.
Etching Animation

Q. How did you hear you’d won the Inaugural Assembly House Prize?
A. This is funny! I applied just thinking I guess I will, but I was on holiday in Brazil travelling around and I got the email saying: ‘Congratulations! Can you come in on Monday?’ and I was like, probably not! So I was really surprised, but I was away in Brazil for a few weeks which was actually really frustrating as I super excited about starting and I wanted to draw Norfolk, but I was in Brazil and thought I should appreciate it while I’m here. So it was quite funny and quite a surprise.

Q. Can you tell me a bit about the Assembly House Prize?
A. It’s like being commissioned to make 12 to 15 prints. Any Norfolk based print-maker can apply and it’s an ‘emerging artist’ prize. So I was in a perfect position as I’d just come back to Norfolk from London and I think I know Norfolk quite well. Basically I’m making 12 copper etchings for a show that will be in the Assembly House from 6th July. I also won a spot in the Norwich Print Fair, so I’m going to have a little stand there which is super exciting and I’m going to make extra work for that.

Q. I saw that you’d done animation and ceramics; can you tell me a little bit about those?
A. My degree was actually in animation, so all my final projects in London were all animation ones. I couldn’t say ‘here’s a print’, but the course was quite free so you could do  stuff like installation. I could have changed to Illustration half-way, but Animation was important to me and I really like doing it, so I ended up doing for my final project, a huge zinc etching (because Kingston had a really big press so I could do really big). I drew each part of the animation on it, of things morphing into the next thing. And I drew that free hand and then printed it, so I couldn’t really test it because I had to draw it all first. When I printed it I photographed it using Dragonframe, it shows you the previous photo you took. So the little thing it starts with, I would centre that in the middle (but you could see the other ones on the side) and then I would shift it along so it matched the middle position, and it morphed that way. Then I put recordings of me print-making as the sound track.

Q. And what did you do with ceramics?
A. In ceramics I’d studied that in America for just one semester but I really liked it and I want to do more of it. My professor (Dellas) has it now as is bird bath, but one thing I made was supposed to be a cake platter, I didn’t really want to make one, but the teacher was really chilled out about it because he knew I would work hard. I made a zoetrope cake platter where there’s a frog that jumps from the middle to the outside in a spiral shape, so that as you rotate it you see the frog coming towards you.

Q. How did you hear about Print to the People?
A. I graduated from London and then I realised I’d spent all my time on the final project and hadn’t organised what I was going to do when I finished. So I started applying for loads of things but my tenancy agreement ran out and I didn’t want to renew it before I had a job so I came back home to live with my mum for a bit while I applied for stuff. Then I applied for so many different things and I was searching for print stuff and animation stuff and searched ‘Print Norwich’ or something like that. Print to the People’s site page came up and I thought ‘Oh my God, there’s a print place in Norwich!’ which I didn’t know about as the last time I was properly in Norwich was four years ago and also I didn’t know I liked printmaking then. Now I did, so I decided to volunteer. I went on the website and saw there was a Halloween event coming up and I emailed about volunteering for that and it happened to be the next weekend so it was perfect! I came to that and it was really cool and I loved it. So as soon as I heard that I thought, ‘This is the place’.

Q. What are you working on right now?
A. I’m working on the 12 etchings.

Q. And these are the big ones?
A. They’re all varying sizes. Like the one upstairs is my biggest one and that will be a map of Norfolk and then there’s one that’s slightly smaller that’s a map of Norwich. The others vary in size completely. One is five by five centimetres roughly and some are ten by ten or something. And there’s a moth and a newt. I always end up drawing curled up lizard things at least once in every project.

Q. I guess you have a particular interest in maps?
A. Yes. At least two of the etchings I want to do are maps. One of Norfolk and one of Norwich, because I think when you make a map you see a place in a new way and you understand it differently. I really like that process. I also think when someone sees a map you’ve made they slightly understand the way you see the place when you made the map. So I like making maps that make people look at a place differently, not just a really accurate to scale map but a map of the feeling of being there or the impression you get when you’re there. So when people look at it they can say ‘I know where that is' because it’s a drawing of the building, not just a floor plan or rectangle shape, something people can recognise. So you can see where something is in relation to something else.

Q. Like a Mind Map?
A. Yes. I do loads of mind maps. I’ve brought my sketch book that has loads in. I like mind maps because when you write about something you’re thinking about it bumps into something else and you can join something to something and realise that they’re somehow connected. I use them for everything.

Q. What inspires you?
A. That is a great question, but I never know the answer to this. I think travelling a lot or new experiences or trying to experience the same thing in a new way. That’s what I like about maps, especially when I’m making one. I remember making one of London, but I’d always caught the tube everywhere, where everywhere is a little dot. Then for this map I started connecting them all and discovering some of them I’d assumed were miles away but you could easily walk between them. So I think travelling and experiencing new things is really important to me. I also really like nature. I feel like that’s such a classic, boring answer because everyone says it, but I don’t know, I just find it really inspiring. I think books as well. I really like reading travel books. Robert MacFarlane’s and Roger Deakin’s books are so good. I want my work to be what their books do but as drawings and animations.

Q. And Wainwright, who illustrated the Peak District?
A. I love him, he’s so great. He’s brilliant. I discovered him on a TV show and I thought ‘this is the man’!

Q. You live in the countryside now, don’t you?
A. Yeah, at the moment, properly in the sticks, but when I was in London it was four years in a city. I like the city as well, just differently.

Q. What artists do you admire or get inspiration from?
A. It’s difficult because I do printmaking and animation, so I have different ones.

Q. You still do Animation?
A. Yeah, I still do it. I did a short internship at an animation studio before I went to Brazil. My favourite animators are Don Hertzfeldt. He made ‘My Spoon is too big’ /vimeo.com/ondemand/rejected  And he made some other really good ones like ‘The World of Tomorrow’ vimeo.com/ondemand/worldoftomorrow/  and stuff. So I really like him and Caleb Wood is another animator I really like. No one knows his films, but they’re really good. Like ‘Goodbye Rabbit Hop Hop’ vimeo.com/83107957  Yeah, those two are probably my favourite animators. Caleb Wood is more similar to my style, Don Hertzfeldt is more funny.

Q. And Artists?
A. I really like Brodsky and Utkin. They were Russian architects and they weren’t allowed to make the buildings they wanted to make. So they made paper architecture and they made etchings of impossible places and buildings. I stumbled on them in a free exhibition at the Tate once and thought this is the best place I’ve been in my life. And it was just a random room. I saw it all for real the first time, the massive etchings.

Brodsky & Utkin: A Glass Tower 1984-1990

I also like Tove Jansson. She made The Moomins. I love her drawing. Not especially the comics so much as her little inky paintings and stuff she’s done. They’re really really nice.

Illustration: Tove Jansson

Q. How do you get past creative blocks?
A. That’s really hard. I normally try and switch what I’m doing. Because I think with my etchings if I’m not in the right mood it can go really badly wrong. I feel in animation you just slip to a different part of the film that you’re making and you normally know the whole film so it’s alright. I think task switching is why I like doing both animation and printmaking, every time I get stuck on one I can switch around. And I’ll try and do something else completely, so the other day I was really stuck. I was really annoyed with myself because my plate went a bit wrong so I knew I had to start it again. So I went inside and replied to all the emails I knew I had to reply to and then played a bit of Jak and Daxter and then went back outside feeling a little bit fresher. I’ll often go off on a bike ride and do something completely different, or something else I need to do that’s good for me and then come back and try again.

Q. Let’s talk about your process, how do you create something?
A. I always have a sketch book, all the time, because the problem I have is I get inspired by like a hundred things a day and ‘think oh my God that’s so good’ and if I don’t write it down it will be gone forever. So normally with a project like this, when I know I have to make something, I try and to go out and draw things ‘for real’ first of all. So the first thing I did was go on a cycle ride just to get out and see. It’s about Norfolk, so I should be seeing as much of Norfolk as I can. And then I’ll try and draw things from life, because it gives you a place to start. Then I’ll get, normally, one sketch book for a project so I have one specific one. Then I’ll try and draw things that I see that’s really interesting or I want that for a print. And sometimes it will just be a shape. For maps I want a symbol and I see something and think that might be a symbol. So I go out and draw something. Then I come home and do drawings from the drawings, or start a mind map to collect my ideas together and see that I want to do a print about a bike ride and I want to do a print about puddles, maybe those two should be the same thing. And then I can do one etching about cycling in the rain or something like that. A mind map helps me join things. I feel like when things join together I get a good idea out of it. The cross section is the bit to work on.

Q. Do you know how long one of those big etchings will take?
A. I never know. So with the Norfolk one, rather than sitting down and doing it in one go I’ll do a bit every day. Or I’ll go on a bike ride and I’ll say ‘I want this thing to be on it’. It’s quite important to me that I can draw as soon as I think of something.

Q. On to the etching plate?
A. Yeah. I never draw out of the plate first. I always draw straight on the plate. I don’t like drawing a drawing twice. When I was in America people would draw a drawing they wanted on the plate and then copy it on the plate, but I find it loses a lot. Especially in my work, some people’s work is more finessed but my work is more immediate. I think the quality of the line loses a lot if you’re just copying it from a drawing you’ve done before. I want my print to be ‘the work’, not the drawing and then the print is a print so I can have multiple copies of the drawing. Sometimes in my sketchbook I’ll have things and I’ll bring them together in a print and know I want to include them, but normally it won’t ever just be a copy.

Q. Do you collect anything?
A. I think I probably collect travel books, but not intentionally. Like Michael Palin ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’, that’s one of my favourite ones, and I like photo books of stuff. I never intentionally think ‘oh, I’ll add that to my collection’, but I do think ‘I have to have that book about the Clangers!’ I also have a massive list of films I want to watch that’s 2000 films long and I don’t suppose I collect the physical film but I’m like a collector of viewing them. Then I tick them off on my list and rate them. So I guess I collect the experience of viewing them.

Q. Where do you sell your work?
A. I don’t really know that yet. I only graduated last year and when we had our final show we had a shop so I sold stuff there. I don’t really sell any of it online, just because I’m never around enough to be sure I can send it to people. So I guess it’s just any opportunity. Like if I’ve got a show or am doing a craft fair.

Q. What is your favourite Bowie song?
A. I thought about this for ages. Let’s Dance.

Interview: Paul McNeill  Editor: Yasmin Keyani


Q&A with Alex Payne

Q. We’re here today talking to Alex Payne. Tell me how it all started?
A. Weymouth, where I’m from. Classic Seaside town, beautiful place, but not much going on. Not much culture, lots of heroin. So I started skateboarding as an outlet for creativity and staying away from drugs and nutters basically. I started to discover skateboard graphics and got really into that while I was at school and started looking more into art and artists, the people who’d drawn graphics and designs for skateboards. When I was at school I started drawing and getting seriously into it. Went to Weymouth College doing a BTEC in Art and Design there, which was well good, I have to say. I did everything in that course, it was two years. Doing a graphic design project, print making, drawing, observational drawing…

Q. A bit like an Art Foundation?
A. Yes. You don’t have to do a foundation if you’ve done a BTEC to go to Uni, but I didn’t do that. I wanted to get out. So I went to Kingston University. Wanted to go to Camberwell but they wouldn’t have me, thanks guys! The collage king there would have enjoyed my company. Can’t remember his name and don’t want to name drop anyway. So went to Kingston, it was awful. Did a year and a half there before deciding to give up because the tutor there said I might as well just be drawing in my bedroom. So I left just after I got a large chunk of my student loan, kept that and went off travelling around Europe with that, soon after falling in love, and then came back with my love and that was it really, that was my education. Taught myself after that.

Q. You went to the University of Life?
A. I went to the University of Life? Yes. I don’t regret going to University though because it taught me what I didn’t want to do, so I pretty much knew I didn’t want to be a commercial illustrator as soon as I stepped through the door.

Q. So how did you get from there to here?
A. When I left Uni I had this realisation that I wanted to keep making art but I didn’t want to get a real job, so I wanted to do a creative job. I was getting tattooed quite a lot at the time in London and got really into it, so I decided to start tattooing. Because I was like, aha! I can get money from, essentially, drawing this way, and it’s not as impossible really as becoming an illustrator or doing a commercial art job. So I moved back to Weymouth because I lived in the kitchen of my friend’s house for quite a while living off supernoodles. Which was good, but I think I needed to move on from there. So I moved back to Weymouth because a guy down there gave me a job in a tattoo shop and taught me pretty much what I wanted to know which was great. Sort of full-time, almost. Being a seaside town there was a lot of stuff to do. All sort of nutters basically, crazy people. So that was good, interesting, and Harriet, [my partner,] moved down there for a year with me. But then I said we’ve got to get out of here man, but I don’t really like anywhere in the UK so where can we go? So we decided to come to Norwich because my sister had come here for Uni, she’s been for I don’t know how long, six or seven years? So I’d been visiting and kind of liked it so we moved here.

Q. So maybe you should tell me next about Exit Press?
A. That started in Weymouth doing riso when I moved back there with Harriet. I started doing a lot more drawing for myself again, after focussing on tattooing for a couple of years, I didn’t do any of it with my own artwork. So then I got back into it and got quite inspired and wanted to do some riso printing. I got in touch with a bunch of studios to print some zines and it was well expensive and I had a bit of money at the time from tattooing, I had like 500 quid kicking around and I was like well, I could spend 350 getting a zine printed or buy my own printer. So I’ll do that and I did. That arrived and I had lots of fun messing around with it and it sort of went from there really. I thought I could produce editions and zines for other people and that would be really fun, just release it. I didn’t do any commercial printing for about a year after having started Exit Press, I was a publisher. Then moved up to Norwich, needed a job again, so Exit Press became a commercial printer as well as a publisher in order for me to have a job. With the idea and intention that it wouldn’t be as expensive for artists and students and stuff as it was when I got quotes from people originally because not everyone can say ‘oh yes I’ll spend 350 quid on a zine from a printer. So I thought I have this opportunity to make this stuff and have this machine now so I can offer this for less money so it’s more accessible to people.

Q. So that brings us to Print to the People. How did you hear about them?
A. I heard of Print to the People originally because of my sister living up here before I moved up. She said ‘look at these cool prints I’ve got, these people do this open access printing thing’. So I was like, nice I’ll check that out. So I’d heard about it through various people, I met Toby at the Norwich Zine Fair and he was like ‘I work at Print to the People man’ [and I met you as well [referring to Paul]. The first time I ever went to the building was because of an open Halloween thing and thought this is a good opportunity to go there while there’s other people as it wouldn’t be so embarrassing as me knocking on the door and saying ‘Hey guys! What’s up?’

Q. And you became Mr Riso?
A. I moved out of my studio, because it was leaking, you guys were doing riso as well as me and we teamed up I suppose. I brought one of my machines in and run a commercial printing press from the riso room at Print to the People as well as running courses with the great Toby Rampton for the public to enjoy.

Q. Let’s go back to the skating because you said someone sponsors you to skate. Is that still the case?
A. I think so. I’m not sure. ‘James! I asked you for a board ages ago, where is it?’ I wish this was on the radio.

Q. So you still skate, obviously?
A. I do yes, though I’ve been quite slack through a back injury, which is a nightmare, that I got last year. I do do it, but I can’t do it quite as often as I’d like at the moment. But we’re getting there. I’m sort of sponsored by Horse Skate Co

Q. What are you working on now?
A. I did a show called ‘Something’ with, again, the great Toby Rampton, love of my life Harriet and sexual deviant Sam Avery and it was a great success. And that has sparked inspiration for a quite a few new things. I’d quite like to do a series of screen prints and other drawings and might possibly get the watercolours out, but we’ll see. Most of the work for that show was made in a week after a walking trip on the north Norfolk coast, which I found incredibly inspiring and it was kind of a sketch book show for me in the fact that it was all these ideas I got when I was away that I want to develop on and come up with some more finalised work to show again. Maybe as a solo show? If anyone would like to get me a gallery in London so I can make it big?

Q. You did say you were trying new techniques like letterpress?
A. I was experimenting quite a bit with letterpress and with Letraset. Trying to figure out how to add a graphic communicative element to the work sometimes, but I’m not really sure how, not sure I like it that much.

Q. Is that your Letraset?
A. It was one I found in the bin, well, the collage box. And that collage box has been quite inspiring lately, been delving in there a bit.

Q. And that is the next question, what inspires you?
A. I found a book in there the other day called ‘Confessions of an English Maid’. Which is unbelievable. All sorts of vintage pornography and writings from an anonymous author about her sexual experience as an English maid. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen. It hasn’t directly inspired my work, but has inspired my life.

Q. What artists do you admire or get inspiration from?
A. I’m going to answer this cryptically, if that’s alright. One of my biggest pet peeves in life, in the world is when people look at a piece of artwork and say ‘oh it reminds me of so and so’ and I want to stab them in the eye, it really is the worst thing ever. Obviously it’s human nature to look at something and be inspired by it and accidentally copy elements of the persons work subconsciously, so by mentioning my favourite artists people might be like ‘well he’s ripped them off’. So I’m not sure I want to give you a list of artists, but alright. Basically Nigel Peak is the king. I got into him as a contemporary illustrator, one of the first I ever discovered. And that sort of changed the game for me as how to look at the world and look at various things and objects. So he’s always a massive inspiration for me as a modern artist. He’s also an architect. And there are also the classics, like Picasso, Miro, Matisse. All of those guys, really good. Also Bill Daniel. He’s made films, he’s a photographer. He used to photograph punk bands in the early-eighties I think. He made this film ‘Who Is Bozo Texino?’ which is a sort of looking for the most prolific rail-riding hobos in North America. Which is amazing and inspiring as an anthropological documentary, looking at all these different lives and with people trying to discover where he is and if he even existed. Probably the one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever seen. But Bill Daniel is pretty rad and I believe he now lives in a sort of shack in the desert somewhere in America photographing sea levels or something.

Q. Let’s talk about your process, how you create something. Are you a sketchbook person? You clearly collage.
A. I never used to be a sketchbook person, I never used them until I was about eighteen and now they’re everywhere. My process usually starts with me taking photographs. So I’ll go off on an adventure, or a walk, or think about something and get some idea and go about photographing all sorts of stuff. Whether it’s natural landscape or, with this project, structures in the landscape or just various compositions that you see around the street or more urban settings with buildings, colours. So I go out and collect all these things in the way of photographs and then figure it out as a theme for work. I always do a series not a single thing. It always has to be a set. I think about something, walk about, take loads of photos, do sketch book stuff. It goes from there. The medium depends on what the subject matter is.

Q. You use real film in your camera?
A. Yeah. For more immediate things I use my phone. If you see something you like and don’t have a camera at the time I just take photo on my phone. I’ve been using film for maybe four years now but film photography is just my own thing and doesn’t go on Instagram yet, but it might in the future as I’m getting quite confident with it now.

Q. How do you deal with creative blocks?
A. Go mental. No, hang on. It’s a weird one and doesn’t happen so often now because I’m not so depressed since I started taking Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. I’m a bit happier and creative blocks don’t happen as much and it they do I take a walk.

Q. Do you collect anything?
A. I have a book obsession, which is becoming unhealthy. A few skateboards, though I’ve whittled it down a lot when we moved up here, mainly because I didn’t have any money and had too much stuff, so sold a few. But kept my favourites.

Q. Where do you sell your work?
A. Online shop and if I do an art fair.

Q. You also do the Physics Company? Tell me about that.
A. The Physics Company is an outlet for artistic ideas that I have that crossover somewhere between tattooing and illustration I guess. And I didn’t want the two to creep together. So I started this as a clothing brand. It can include jokes, but is for things that don’t fit as an illustration or a tattoo.

Q. We normally finish by asking, what’s your favourite Bowie song?
A. Moonage Daydream


Questions: Paul McNeill   Editor: Yasmin Keyani


Q&A with Melissa White

Q. Tell me about your route into illustration.
A. It was probably when I was studying painting. I found that instead of using a paint brush I was using a pencil or a pen and my final work didn’t contain a drop of paint. I started using my computer and projection then, which is how I got away with it in the painting realm because the painting studio, for some reason, was the loosest studio that you could be in, you could get away with doing anything so long as you had something to back up.
I’ve always drawn, I’ve always loved drawing and after finishing art school I thought okay, maybe I want to do this instead and didn’t really know what I’d do with myself with a fine arts degree and applied for design.

Q. This was in Australia?
A. Yes. Tertiary education, I don’t know what they’d call it here? Maybe a diploma? So I applied at the Creative Centre to do either graphic design or illustration. I got into both courses but I chose Graphic Design. I have no idea why. I think in my head I was always, from when I was younger, thinking Graphic Design was the only way I could make money and be creative. I had two weeks when starting the course and had one class where we were tasked with drawing a gene pool. We had a break and I walked to the front of the class and every single person had drawn a kidney shape with pairs of trousers in it and I thought hmmm don’t want to be here and I walked out and didn’t go back. And after that many years just faffing around doing various things, always doing creative things but nothing solid. That was why I moved to the UK and realised that there’s a real market for illustrators. Back home I didn’t feel that what I did really fitted in with the Australian aesthetic or what was available. You were either a graphic designer or a fine artist or a street artist. That was the difference there and I didn’t really fit into any of those things. Whereas here in the UK I feel those boundaries are quite so set and illustration is a popular medium for commercial work as well as creative work, so it wasn’t until I came here I thought I could give that a go and make money from it.

Q. Could you tell me about your process? What are you working on now?
A. At the moment my grand scheme is a children’s book, which is mainly in my head at the moment and I haven’t had the time to dedicate to it. I work best when I have a day to potter around, clean the house from top to bottom, move things around, I’ll be in my space. I need to be in my space for a while and have the time.

Q. Using sketchbooks?
A. Pieces of paper, it’s totally random, I wish I had a more clear, defined process. Because that would make life so much easier! But it’s never worked like that. I always try to start off with books, but that doesn’t seem to work, so it’s a bit haphazard really. I have scraps of paper or have on my computer stuff that I’ve worked on digitally and from that I think I’ve got enough time to work on it I do. Originally it’s always on a piece of paper and then I’ll work on it digitally. I’m wanting to work more with just pen and paper. I’ve been working on a computer since university and I think print making has really pushed me towards getting back to analogue processes as I feel that I’m stuck in this computer screen, which has been really interesting and has helped me progress my style because I don’t give things that much time when I’m actually doing them. It either works or it doesn’t. Seeing it on a screen is so different from seeing it after that squeegee I like using my hands an getting a bit messy and I feel I’ve constrained myself a bit, so that’s what I’m working on at the moment and that’s what I want for my next project, the children’s book, to bring out in me.

Q. I saw you screen printing an alligator using printing medium painted onto the screen. Can you tell me a bit about that?
A. That was my break out from the screen a bit and going back to my painterly/non-painterly ways. I do love paint, I just don’t have much patience and I think that’s why I initially moved to the screen because I was impatient as an eighteen year old. You’ve got something in front of you that’s quicker than spending a day in the studio, that’s far more appealing. So getting back to the mono prints I saw a video of a girl doing these massive prints. She was treating them as paintings, not prints, and I thought that was really interesting. I wanted to use that process with my own style and having constraints on it, not letting it be completely abstract. Having a barrier around it in a way but not completely. That’s what I find exciting about printmaking, having that ability to play around and not knowing what’s going to come out. I like mixing the medium, with mono prints and cut outs and screen printing.

Q. How did you find out about Print to the People?
A. I tried screenprinting for the first time at a hen party, of all things, in Whitstable. I was told about Paul Bommer (see Q&A below) who has his stuff printed there. I admire how set his style is, that’s what I admire in illustrators

Q. What new medium would you like to try?
A. Printing is definitely a new medium for me. I quite like the idea of using clay just to get a bit messy. I very much enjoy letterpress. I did end up doing up eventually doing a postgraduate diploma in Design years after being accepted into the other design but went to University to do this and my favourite aspect of that was the typography course. I really enjoy letters and I felt like it was something I could have got really geeky about and that class was quite short though and so I didn’t end up progressing that geekiness quite so much as it could have gone. I ended up finishing that course early as well and I left the thought of doing design altogether. But letters I’ve always found them incredibly pleasing when they’re right and the idea of mixing really lovely letters and printing them out, that’s something that’s quite appealing to me. I have done letterpress at Print to the People. That started off as a ‘call out’ helping clean letterpress initially, which was a good introduction to the trays and how it’s laid out and the general understanding of how letterpress is done. And also going to The John Jarrold Printing Museum, in Norwich. I’ve only done a few actual prints though. That was an absolute joy, printing out a Gill alphabet. I want to print something that actually means something rather than just an alphabet now though. Words have always played a big role in my work, so I guess that makes sense.

Q. What artist do you admire?
A. As I’ve said I admire people who give the sense that they know what they’re doing. Working on a style, something that’s recognisably mine, something that I think is important for an artist purely to know what they’re doing , what they’re trying to say and how they doing to do that. The difficulty with that is being put in a box and that can be a problem. So as long as you’re doing new things, to change mediums. Somebody at the moment who is Jean Julian, his work I’ve come across online, as I do most artists these days, that’s kind of what’s great about Instagram, you can follow the progression of an artist and he’s huge now. A few years ago he was not, known in illustration circles I suppose. He’s the guy who did the Eiffel Tower peace sign. His work is so simple and so recognisably him and clever and thoughtful. That’s what appeals to me with him. His work is also often humorous, it’s reflective and it’s simple. I admire him and I admire his work.

Q. Apart from artists, where do you find inspiration?
A. Music. This was probably my first introduction to a visual language and was through music and album covers and film clips. Things like The Beach Boys and Revolver and Peter Gabriel’s film for Sledgehammer. I really remember those things from when I was little and its still music. I listen to music all day and there are sentiments in music I try to convey in my work.

Q. Let’s jump to ‘Marks on Paper’ – how did that come about?
A. ‘Marks on Paper’ came about because when I first moved to Norwich I knew you guys at Print to the People, which was a good introduction to being in Norwich, I’d met Flik at Anteros, purely by walking in and saying hello and I’m an artist and got a job? So she took my details down. I’d been thinking about doing a creative club for a while. I’d come across a place with a woman in New York who does it. She does something called ‘Ladies drawing nights’, so it’s very specific and generally involving other illustrators and that’s not what I wanted but I liked the idea of people coming together and Flik offered me an exhibition and asked if I wanted to teach drawing. I said I’d love to have an exhibition and I don’t want to teach drawing but I’d like to do a club night there. And so the idea was there are a lot of drawing classes in Norwich and a lot of them are quite traditional and I found them scary. So I wanted to offer an alternative that wasn’t scary and was basically something I’d like to go to. I think the premise is still the same, though it’s become a little more like therapy than I’d first imagined. But it’s generally a good laugh and cheaper than therapy. It’s basically for people who enjoy drawing and want to remember why they enjoy drawing. Because I really hate that idea that people say they can’t draw, which everyone does and everyone can draw.

Q. Do you collect anything?
A. I would say I am a collector of almost trash! Well, rocks aren’t trash. I do collect found objects. If you look anywhere around here you’ll find some kind of rock or twig or shell.

Q. How do you deal with creative blocks?
A. You just have to push through it. You just have to draw a lot of crap and throw a lot away.

Q. ‘She’s laughing’ – tell me about that name?
A. I’ve used that name since University. My logo is a Kookaburra. ‘She’s laughing’ is a euphemism for ‘everything will be fine’. It’s an Australian thing, she’s laughing, no worries, it will be okay.

Q. Where do you sell your work?
A. On a newly made web shop. I don’t have much to sell yet. That’s what this year is about and that list of work to do is about. I want to start having a coherent grouping of work that works nicely together to be able to sell.

Q. What is your favourite Bowie song?
A. Easily ‘Let’s dance’. It’s just one of the best songs of all time.


Questions: Paul McNeill   Editor: Yasmin Keyani