In the spirit of giving back, and our desire to support local businesses and artists, we are doing an artist spotlight series. We will be showcasing a new artist each day for the next 31 days. Today’s artist is Ben Mcleod, a designer of alternative film posters.
After graduating with a degree in illustration Ben stared work as a freelance illustrator working with various magazines and newspapers. These days he concentrates more on designing alternative film poster designs. He hopes that in the not so distant future he gets to work with some great independent film makers and hopefully work on a film that gets shown at some great film festivals!
Question: How did you get into design?
Ben’s Answer: I had always been interested in art and design but my degree was where it really turned into a passion. I have worked as a freelance illustrator on and of for 7 or 8 years now but I am happy just to do my own thing too. If I don’t get any work then I simply illustrate a film poster or experiment and so on.
Question: Where are you from, where did you go to school?
Ben’s Answer:I am from Manchester in the UK I graduated with a degree in illustration from Stockport College, anyone who lives in the Manchester area I would highly recommend this course, it was the best thing I ever did. My tutors there were great and really helped me develop my own way of working, pushing me in the right direction with regard to influence and technique.
Question: What are your tools of the trade?
Ben’s Answer:I use a lot of different techniques and bring them together in Photoshop. I try not to go overboard with using Photoshop, I tend to use it more to compose my image. Change sizes and color of various elements I have scanned in that have been hand drawn, painted or even found pieces of imagery.
Question: What websites do you go to for design inspiration?
Ben’s Answer:I look to illustration agencies as they have already picked out the best illustrators around. But I am constantly looking into artists and art movements, designers. Tumblr is great for more modern design, there is some great stuff on there.
Question: What is your favorite movie, band, and artist?
Ben’s Answer:I am obsessed with movies, of the top of my head I love the work of Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Steve McQueen to name a few. The Master is one of the best films I’ve seen in a few years, probably since There will be blood. Visually stunning films. I’m looking forward to Twelve Years a Slave by Steve Mcqueen if his other films are anything to go by it should be amazing. My favorite band still making music is Queens of the Stone Age without a doubt! And artist… too many to mention, from Picasso, Braque and various art movements De Stijl, Russian Constructavism, Bauhaus. I’m a huge love of some of the big American designers like Saul Bass and Paul rand.
Question: If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Ben’s Answer:I would love to travel to Japan and China, parts of America. Just to travel around in general would be great, try different places.
Question: When you’re not designing, what do you like to do?
Ben’s Answer:I watch movies, keep up to date with whats coming out. Stay inspired, art galleries, reading and so on.
Question: If you could meet anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Ben’s Answer:I guess Paul Rand and Saul Bass, Paul Rand was such a character a real no nonsense kind of guy who knew what made good design and wasn’t afraid to let people know what he thought.
Question: What advice would you give to someone just starting out in design?
Ben’s Answer:This is probably all cliche stuff but it works, first of all keep yourself interested, if you’re not passionate about your work then nobody else is going to be. I think it’s important to just be creative. Experiment and see what comes more naturally to you, don’t try and force a style that isn’t you. Paul Rand used to say “Don’t try to be original, just try to be good” Once you know what works for you, you can begin to refine your technique and improve your image making process. Once you feel comfortable with how you work it just starts to slowly evolve.
Probably most important of all is to keep your eyes open, know your influences. Go to art galleries, look at other peoples work and get inspired.
Stay in practice, if you don’t have anything to work on then think of something to work on (easily done if you like designing film posters!) And stay inspired, as I said before, know who and what your influences are. And just keep at it, stay involved!
See more of Ben’s art and designs at his website.