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What is your back ground?
Like most artists, I always painted and drew as a dorky kid. I was a design school drop-out who left New Zealand for many years selling door-to-door products, playing receptionist for a posh Windsor hotel, running a B&B in Edinburgh, then back home to do a degree in Arts while getting involved with musicians , where I did stage/costume design and touring shows.
Inspired by the way that musicians worked together, I curated illustration shows and auctions and packs of cards with local illustrators' work representing local bands and businesses. I then came to London after living in Korea for a bit to sell a fashion label internationally. I felt something was missing so I started a stall in 'up market' on Brick lane and sold my 3d photographic art. Happily the work sold to my surprise, as like many artists I have bouts of insecurity!
A London based art and culture magazine called 'Pimp' helped me on my way, by showing interest and printing my work. I decided to get a portfolio up on the AOI (Association of Illustrators) where Bang Zoom! Books stumbled across me.
Originally they were looking for work inspired by the film 'Night of the Living Dead' for the back of the graphic novel as part of the 'international art section' .The work I put forward led to me being asked to do the entire book (about 800 images!).
When and why did you go from illustration to making cut outs?
I don't recognise a difference, to be honest. The cut out style was a way for me to cope with being so crap at computers. My background in stage/performance design was most probably the inspiration..and allowed me to use anything I could find to make something appear a certain way...illusion done on a shoestring and fear of photo shop!
Is this your first attempt at creating cut out imagery for a narrative?
I have been working in cut-out for about about 8 years.
Do you ever create your own narratives for illustrations or cut outs?
Yes, I did this for about 5 years before I realised it could be liked by anybody else , it was something I did outside working hours.
What drew you to Night of the Living Dead?
Funnily enough my flatmate Pete got me into the zombie genre one week before Bang Zoom! Books contacted out of the blue...weird!
How long did it take you to create the sets for the graphic novel- did you base it on the film?
I was given stills from the movie, I then drew and painted the character, the background and other objects , I then photographed the scene held up with lipsticks (as they were the best size and freestanding) I lit the sets with bike lights and used sugar for the road scenes and real glass for the car window scenes. I would then download them and play with the contrast, brighten or add a vignette where necessary. So each image would take me about 2-3 hours.
How did you go about getting a publisher involved and then George Romero to do a forward?
All down to Bang Zoom! Books
When will it be released?
The book is in it's final stages. It's being laid out with words, bubbles and sound effects. The Dead are really coming to life now!! Release date to be confirmed.
It's quite an intensive process you go through to get the look you wanted, can you tell us more about this process?
Yeah it was, firstly I cut out photographs of characters and placed them in a miniature scene, all in photographic paper, (3d collage looking). The producers wanted the 3d look to be more subtle than this, so that the viewer would not really know how it had been done, so the challenge was to make it appear 3d, but not obviously. A good challenge, and a nice way to evolve my 3d paper art in to a more menacing look.
Initially the book had been photoshopped with colour. I had a break from the book to work on other jobs. On returning to this mammoth project, I decided to strip it back, and redo a vast number of images. Within this time I had actually become a better painter, so this is another reason I remade much of the book and on final grading only used photoshop to up the contrast and lighten any dark areas returning to the feel of the 1960's.
Why did you choose to produce the images in this way?
I wanted a real/unreal look, so that the story had haunting and mystery, but not just a copy of the original film. Bang Zoom! Books and I both wanted to do something quite special, as the film is.
How do you go about promoting your work and obtaining paid commissions?
The last 2 years have been busy with exhibitions. I have not had time to look for work. Due to exhibiting in the London Underground on a Billboard and platform poster for ArtBelow and being featured in books and magazines, I have been contacted as a result .
For example; I was found at the market and then featured in a Chinese Book about London art and have since been signed up to an art licensing company in Taiwan. They in turn sponsored my show for ArtBelow in Tokyo's metro in association with dazed and Confused Japan and have printed my work on products.
What else are you working on at the moment?
Most recently I made a short film for 'Hop Skip', (a performance and video show curated by Martina O'Shea at Liquid Studios as part of Hackney Wicked)
Currently I am working on an exhibition for Taiwan. This year's work will focus on triptych style work in the feel of religious relief art. I am looking into carving and making moulds and painting on top of 3d panels. I exhibited at Hackney Wicked's Top and Tail Gallery's show with an olde engraved gin glass. I am working with techniques and compositions of the middles ages and mixing in modern themes of religion versus economics, so comparisons with modern life should hopefully bring about some thought.
What would your ultimate collaboration be?
I would like to direct a film bringing together; makeup, sound and visual artists as well as stage design.