Illustration February 8, 2016
by Lauren Festa
It’s Illustration Month at the ADC and we’re featuring some glowing work from our ADC Members. Not a member yet? Resolve to become an ADC Member in 2016 while you sip green juices and join the community. Illustration Month is our chance to highlight ADC Members who consider themselves illustrators, whether professionals, students or just really keen amateurs. Marco Lawrence is an ADC Member, previously Head Printer at London’s acclaimed screen printing studio, Print Club London, and now Studio Manager at New York’s Lower Eastside Printshop where he makes beautiful prints commercially for international clients. Basically, Marco Lawrence is a boss, he’s dropping knowledge teaching print making skills in studios and colleges around town. Check out crisp, bold and a LOT of fun works (plus our interview) below!
When did you discover your own talent and then later turn it into a viable working gig?
I’ve been drawing ever since I was a whippersnapper. My parents were always very encouraging and my father, who trained as a silversmith, instructed me in the specifics of draftsmanship early on.
How long have you been an illustrator?
Since graduating 9 years ago. Unless a poster for the high school band counts!
Self taught? School?
I studied fine art printing and drawing at art school in Norwich, then Leeds and finally in Madrid. All with very distinct approaches and attitudes to the discipline. I guess my own practice is an amalgamation of the three.
Was a career in the arts encouraged from a young age?
I was certainly encouraged to make and create from a young age. Later on I was fortunate enough to be emotionally supported in whatever career I chose to pursue.
Take us through your creative process.
Wow, that’s a big one. Step one would be constantly looking. At everything. I take a great deal of inspiration from textile patterns, Islamic geometry, old computer game graphics, 50’s advertising and so on. All sorts of unlikely things end up in the mix. Next I like to explore the elements and themes that appeal to me through drawing- principally by hand and then later digitally. The final work tends to evolve from these initial drafts as I refine the more interesting aspects and successful components. Whenever I get the chance I like to hand print the final design, usually as a silkscreen, to lend an organic finish to the imagery.
In illustrating, what are the tools you can’t live without?
A pencil. Anything else is a luxury.
What is one of the most exciting projects or a favorite one you’ve worked on or are working on?
I recently produced some huge decorative silkscreen prints for a luxury tile brand in London. They source a lot of their stock from antique Spanish and Moorish manor houses so I had this fantastic geometric pattern work to develop from.
How do you describe your aesthetic?
Crisp, bold, and hopefully a little bit fun.
What is the biggest challenge about being an illustrator?
Having faith in the value of your practice even when you’re not able to make your best work. Sometimes you just have to make a week’s worth of crummy drawings to get to the gold.
What do you love most about it?
On a good day it’s got to be the most fun you can have with your clothes on.
Any dream collaborations or brands you’d like to work with?
Any brand with a genuine interest in craft and process is always a pleasure to work with.
Where is your favorite place to go or thing to do to get inspired?
Having lived in London and New York for the last 7 years, it’s the great outdoors I yearn for. There’s nothing like a bit of greenery for the eyeballs to let your mind go off exploring.
Any contemporary artists on your radar? (illustrators or other)
My good friend Ben Rider is always a solid bet for a giggle and an eye watering visual head tweak. Check him out.
For anyone considering illustration as a career or just something to try for curiosities sake, do you have any advice?
Have you ever considered a career in finance…? If you really can’t be dissuaded then I think you have to draw. Everyday. Without fail.