• Bb12
  • Bb11
  • Bb07
  • Bb08
  • Bb09
  • Bb13
  • Bb06
  • Bb05
  • Bb01
  • Bb02
  • Bb03
  • Bb04
Product Design

Barnaby Barford

Posted by Will Hudson,

London based artist Barnaby Barford has got a certain something that catches the eye, whether it be content of the pieces or the names he gives them. We caught up with him to talk about the wonderful world of ceramic figurines and the transition into stop motion film.

Through the research I did I read somewhere that your work blurs the boundaries between art, craft and design? Is this how you see it and how would you describe your work?

When I first graduated from the Royal College I was working in many different areas, so in a way my whole working practice covered these different areas rather than the actual work crossing these boundaries. However over the last 7 years I have concentrated my efforts on my Art pieces, this is where my passion lies.

I also didn’t realise that you use found mass-produced ceramic figurines and objects that you dismantle and reapply to create new scenes. Is it always like this or do you have to produce your own elements?

The work is all made using found figurines. On some of the recent pieces I have added other objects into the scenes that i have made such as the KFC boxes and food in ‘Family Feast’. I cut the figurines, re-assemble them and am able to change certain forms using milliput. The way of working is more akin to ceramic restoration really. The pieces are then painted with enamel paints. I like using the found objects as they are all made by different hands, they have all had a previous life and I guess originally they had very different intentions for their lives. If I was to make everything from scratch it wouldn’t have the same effect, I think people bring their own preconceptions to these objects when looking at the pieces. They are after all objects that most people would, on principal, dismiss in their original forms. I also enjoy the challenge of making these often somewhat discarded objects relevant and desirable.

Do the pieces you find determine the outcome of the final piece or are you searching for the elements to make up an idea you’ve already got?

I start with an idea for a body of work, something that I would like to explore. My studio is full of figures and I will look through these whilst also looking for other figures that I feel would be suitable. I may want to say specific things and these develop in tandem with finding the correct figures to say this, I guess it is a kind of casting process done for a play or a film.

Would you ever do a mass produced version or is it all about the one off?

For me it is very much about making one-off pieces, I enjoy this way of expressing my ideas and it offers the most freedom and the least constraints. The way I am currently working does not allow me even to make an edition due to the nature of the pieces I find. I am not sure I would gain much more in terms of satisfaction if there were 1000 pieces made as opposed to just 1, the enjoyment and the work is in the conception of the piece.

The names of your work are almost as entertaining as the pieces themselves, such as ‘Stick that on YouTube!’, ‘Salads! I’ll give them fucking salads!’ and ‘Yeah but did you see her tits?!’. These are there to just add humour or is there more to it than that?

They are absolutely vital to the work. It is what brings the viewer into the scene, it clarifies the new context. I hope there is still a certain level of ambiguity left within the piece for the viewer to derive their own thoughts from the pieces. I like to think people might try and think what has happened before and after this moment in time. Primarily, it is essential the pieces work visually, then the title shifts your expectations, takes you off-guard. To a certain extent it is could be a bit of a shock. I find humour is a great way to engage with people but there is always something deeper within the piece. I like the fact they work on different levels, if you want to take it as a joke then that’s fine but if you want to think a little bit more then there is often a darker side to be explored.

So moving onto your first short film, ‘Damaged Goods’, are there any puns left to describe it? So far I’ve heard a lot of ‘A classic boy meets girl tale with shattering consequences’ and one of my favourites, ‘It might be a sad tale but it’s a smashing addition to Barford’s repertoire…’

It cracked me up…..urgh! Actually it was a fantastic process, although I think you forget quite quickly how hard it actually was. I worked with some really great people on the project which made the whole process a real joy. It was a bit strange as I wasn’t ever entirely sure of the next stage involved in the process. It has been really fascinating to have now finished an to now understand what goes into making a film. It was really interesting to see how much movement we got from the figures and to feel somehow that their expressions change at certain points.

How was the transition from creating the sculptures to stop motion animation?

It seemed quite a natural transition, as I mentioned before I have always seen my work as almost scenes from films, they are of course narrative works so it was a case of expanding that narrative and scaling up their world.

At face value there’s more that goes into directing a short film (the lighting, the story, the music), with it being your first short film are you happy with the outcome? Anything that you’d change or didn’t expect?

There was loads that i didn’t expect but nothing I would really change. As I said before I was never sure what was possible in the next stage of the process. Fortunately I was surrounding by true professionals which helped a lot. What was really great was the film ended up exactly how I had conceived it.

Presumably you had to go through a casting to find the lead roles, how many other contenders were there? And where are they now?

I am making a small amount of pieces based on scenes from the film, using the characters from the film for a show at David Gill Galleries in Feb 2010.

What’s next, are there any plans to shoot another film?

I would really like to make another film. I have quite a few ideas for other work at the moment so it’s a case of trying to fit it all in!

See the short film ‘Damaged Goods’ here, www.animateprojects.org

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Illustration View Archive

  1. Marion-fayolle-coquins-int-list

    When I sat down to write this article I was planning to discuss Ardéchoise illustrator Marion Fayolle’s impressive career to date; her numerous books for the likes of Nobrow and Magnani Editions; her editorial work for The New York Times, her textile designs for Cotélac and Kiblind and of course her very own illustration publication Nyctalope which she co-runs with Simon Roussin. And then I remembered she did a brilliant book of saucy drawings, Les Coquins, and decided to focus on that instead.

  2. Nick-gazin-run-the-jewelslist

    Vice’s New York art editor and illustrator Nick Gazin tells us his ideal clients at the moment are “adult film actresses.” He’s worked up some logo designs recently for Andy San Dimas, the US porn star, and he reckons he’d “be really into doing more art for adult film actresses. I just want to draw naked ladies.”

  3. Karansingh-mop-int-list

    The glorious coming together of pattern, shape and colour makes for a joyous experience and that’s why print designers are held in such high regard. Last week we commissioned Animade to turn three eye-poppingly good Pucci x Orlebar Brown patterns into trippy GIFs, this week we’re turning our attention to profiling creatives we believe are among the best around when it comes to working in this area. We are proud to present these #mastersofprint.

  4. Jg-street-demon-int-list

    Got the mid-week hump-day gloom, friend? Allow me to do away with it for you with a bumper-pack of animated GIFs by the talented hand of illustrator and animator Julian Glander. He once came up with a clever app which transformed colour data into sound for an eight-note synth and made us all into synaesthetes for a day, which was intricate and complicated enough to warrant a dose of fun to follow. A gang of tiny blob men whirling their arms over their heads at impossible speeds? Yes, please. A tiny man on a bicycle riding in tiny circles forevermore? Go on then. Great things are in the pipeline for this master of 3D shapes, bulgy eyeballs and jumping hamburgers. You mark our words.

  5. Tim-brown-int-list

    As a one-time news journalist (albeit at a very low level) I have a real affinity for reportage illustrators. George Butler is one of the best around and this new film by Tim Brown which follows him on a three-week trip to Afghanistan provides a great insight into his finely-honed talents. On his first trip to the war-torn country George was embedded with British troops, but he hungered to draw the locals whose lives had been so irrevocably changed over recent years. “I was always aware that over the walls there were millions of people getting on with their lives,” he says.

  6. Angiewang-int-main

    Angie Wang is FANTASTIC, she’s hands-down my absolute favourite new illustrator. Her work is an explosive, jelly bean-coloured tangle of cool girls, comic books, hair, nature and clouds: dreamy waves of cuteness and attitude floating along on the backs of ghosts. Some of her drawings may appear silly and adorable, but underneath the fuzziness is a melancholy wisdom of the world around her. She has an ability to capture what only the best kinds of comics do: aspects of life that are loving, scary, otherworldly and magnificent.

  7. Zeloot-int-list-2

    Look at the giant bulbous characters! The boy clamping his hand between his own giant gnashers! The tiny hairy willy floating in mid-air with a bunch of other body parts! This collection could be the work of one woman only and that woman is Eline Van Dam, aka Zeloot, a Dutch illustrator with a taste for the funny, the weird and the generally brilliant. She’s been hard at work of late with a stack of commissions for the likes of Vrij Nederland and The New York Times among others, all of whom are thoroughly enamoured with her unique style. As are we.

  8. Barzilai-int-list

    If you’re currently experiencing some love-related dramas allow me to gently suggest you don’t take them to Pauline Barzilaï for sorting. The French illustrator’s new project Les Peines de l’Amour, a sweet illustrated series on rose pink paper, takes a great sledgehammer to tender affairs of the heart, and smashes them all to pieces with a brutally funny satirical edge.

  9. Die-katze-int-list-2

    You don’t really see them in the UK anymore but there was once a time when fag machines populated bars, clubs, railway stations, street corners and children’s swimming pools so that everyone could readily get their hands on a dose of sweet lady nicotine at a moment’s notice. There’s still a few lingering in Switzerland though, so Daniel Peter and Alice Kolb have found a more family-friendly and creative use for them.

  10. Marta-monteiro-int-list

    Remember Marta Monteiro, whose series of Lilliputian heroines effectively encaptured all of our best Borrower-themed dreams last summer? The illustrator based in Penafiel, Portugal been busy at work since we last checked in, creating all manner of editorial illustrations for the likes of The New York Times and the Washington Post, not to mention some self-initiated projects which have materialised into beautiful books, like Sombras. Her work gives the impression of an illustrator still refining her style, which in her instance is immeasurably exciting, lending her a versatility and an authenticity few manage to successfully pull off. We’re especially enjoying the piece for The Man Who Knew It All, a giant-headed polka-dot dress-wearing lady borrowing the brain of another.

  11. Moonhead-book22-list

    It’s so reassuring to hear that a job at a top ad agency can be secured from an interview on no sleep, feeling “a bit spaced out.” While it’s possibly not the best career advice, that’s exactly how Andrew Rae landed a role at BBH, he told us in his talk at Offset festival. We’re huge fans of Andrew’s work, which over the years has included creating characters for the Mighty Book of Boosh, beautiful botanical illustrations and the wonderful, heartwarming and psychedelic graphic novel Moonhead and the Music Machine.

  12. Jasongalea-int-main

    I came across Jason when I was ogling at this poster for the Panache Spring Fling featuring White Fence, yet another ear-watering gig that I won’t be able to make it to because it’s across the Atlantic. Panache is a boutique booking agency in LA which represent bands like Ty Segall, Chris Cohen, Jacco Gardner, Fuzz, Juliana Barwick, U.S Girls…I could go on. In keeping with its roster it commissions the likes of Melbourne-based visual artist Jason Galea to make the posters and sleeves look as cool and apt as possible. Jason clearly knows what he’s doing with these posters, record sleeves and animations. This is the work of someone who has studied the music visuals of the past, sat around a Ouija board, reincarnated them, and smoked the spirits up in an acid-green infinity bong before splurging them out as art. It’s okay to rip stylistic qualities from eras gone by, but only if you, like Jason, genuinely love the music, and know exactly what you are doing.

  13. Andyrementer-sanmarinostamps-int-list

    Here’s some things you probably didn’t know about the tiny Republic of San Marino. It has no railway. Its 33,00 citizens enjoy one of the highest life expectancies in the world. It is famous for its stamps, which are widely collected by philatelists, or stamp collectors. This last revelation is the one that concerns us here, because we found out yesterday that illustrator, artist and long-time friend of the site Andy Rementer has just designed a set of stamps for The Philatelic and Numismatic Bureau of San Marino, themed around fantastical interpretations of 3D printing.