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Illustration Graduate Will Whittington

Will Whittington is an Illustration graduate from Southampton Solent University, now studying a masters degree in visual communication.

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‘My work stems from an interest in graffiti which dominated my teenage years and has moulded my visual style. I like to work quickly and instinctively which is why a hands on approach is well suiting, finding compositions and shapes much easier to get to grips with when spread out in front of me with space to make a mess and experiment a little.

To make work I start by drafting out multiple ideas, drawing or collaging rough shapes to get a general idea of what will fit the topic I am working on. Once this is complete (or I get tired of it) I get myself into a print studio or get stuck in with various pens and paints, I may make a lot of different pieces or before finding the right ideas and scanning in various parts to put together in photoshop. I also like to work with photographs and carry a camera around with me just incase there is something that gives me an idea! I find it very satisfying working over the top of photographs with a brush, roller or a can of spray paint as the final piece can emerge out of one mark over the top of a photograph.’

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‘I studied Illustration at Southampton Solent University and I have just started a masters degree in visual communication which is really exciting, giving me a chance to refine my work further and translate my practice into all kinds of things such as web and logo design alongside my current way of working. My influences span over various practices and time zones I really love the work of Marcel Duchamp, Rene Magritte and Fernand Leger, but I am also influenced from the classic Reid Miles album covers for blue note records, Alex Steinweiss, Ashley Havinden’s design has been really inspiring me recently after picking up a copy of Advertising and the Artist by chance in a small bookshop in my home city.

Work of my tutors whist studying has also really taught me a lot, looking at Charles Shearer, Jonny Hannah and Peter Lloyd’s work in the print room opened my eyes to lots of new techniques and approaches I would have never thought of trying out myself. Graffiti has had a major influence on everything I do from my direct approach to subject matter, mark making, tools used, composition and shape, I will always love the direct and instinctive marks made by people for no other reason than to make the mark itself.’

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‘I have recently had my first exhibition at the Showcase gallery after receiving the Artists in Residence award, which is a really good scheme to help boost confidence in graduates, it consists of 3 months, money for materials and a show of whatever subject you choose. My work examined time and cultural differences from the east to the west whilst I was constantly reminded of the Thelonious Monk Quote ‘what up Monk?’ ‘everything, all the time.’

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‘Trying to demonstrate the amount of energy and activity across the world at any one time I decided I am not finished with that idea! I made four wooden panels out of old crates from the docks, I then transferred photographs of different cities onto each one, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Oslo and london. I worked over the top of these using colours loosely based on the colours of their flags, predominantly red white and blue. I made a clock for each piece to show the time at each destination, Hong Kong being one hours time difference from bangkok and Oslo being one hours difference from London.’

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