Can you tell us a bit more about your background?
I have been a freelance illustrator for many, many years. I studied Illustration at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee and as soon as I graduated I moved down to London where I managed to secure regular commissions from Radio Times, NME, Car Magazine and various other publications. When our children were born we moved up to Yorkshire and I began illustrating children’s books for publishers such as Penguin, Pan Macmillan and Oxford University Press. In between the editorial and publishing work, I have recently been working on my own, non-commissioned pieces. To provide a platform to showcase this work, I launched Cooperillo Art & Illustration earlier this year.
Where are you based?
I live and work in Everingham, a small village east of York, populated by the loveliest people you could ever wish to meet. I find the peace and the light – and the big skies – very conducive to the creative process. Saying that, I am sometimes guilty of shattering that peace with the loud music I play while I'm working.
When did you first discover you have a passion for illustration?
I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember. As a young child I would spend hours trying to replicate the characters in the cartoon shows and comic books that I loved so much – particular favourites were Tom and Jerry and Warner Brothers characters like Sylvester the Cat, Foghorn Leghorn and Yosemite Sam. But inspiration comes from all angles. The influences of a life-long love of music, cinema, cartoons and comics are often evident in my work.
How would you describe your artistic style?
I’ve been told that it's quirky, contemporary, funny ha ha, funny peculiar – and I hope it's also aesthetically appealing.
Do you prefer working for an adult or child audience?
Until recently most of my work has been for very clearly defined audiences. For example, cartoon strips for readers of music magazines or children's book covers and illustrations. What I enjoy about my recent work is that it seems to appeal to all ages.
What recent trends have you seen in contemporary art?
More people than ever are buying art for their homes, as it has generally become more affordable and widely available. This is in no small part due to the popularity of events such as Living North’s Fairs. These days there are lots of opportunities for new and established artists to get their work out into the world. Affordable art shows, markets and the internet all provide potentially huge audiences for many artists that might otherwise remain under the radar. It’s a genuine pleasure meeting people at art shows and watching their reaction to my work – at first they smile because they find the images appealing and after a couple of seconds they start to laugh as the joke reveals itself.
What will you be bringing to Living North’s Christmas Fair?
I will be bringing signed, limited edition prints. My recent work features overly-domesticated pets, Vikings with guitars, and some colourful beetles and bugs, as well as a selection of distinctive homeware featuring original Cooperillo designs. And some Christmas cards too!
What’s next for Cooperillo?
Cooperillo has taken off really well in a very short space of time and we’re going to be extremely busy with events leading up to Christmas. After that, I’m looking forward to catching my breath and enjoying the festivities with family and friends, before getting back into the studio to begin work on new pieces for the Cooperillo collection.
Cooperillo Art & Illustration