Andy Baker is an illustrator, animator and director based in London. He’s worked with some of our favourite creatives over the years including Becky & Joe, Thomas Slater, Tim Lahan and Jim Stoten. Earlier this year we commissioned Andy and illustrator Kyle Platts to create a short animation as part of Channel 4’s Random Acts relaunch. Toxic Mega Fade was a trippy mix of colour and humour, and epitomises Andy’s character-driven, bold style, which has seen him create work for big brands including Asics, Vans and Marmite.
We were keen to find out where his colourful sensibility derives from and here Andy tells us about five of the books which have remained a constant source of inspiration over the years. From illustrated poetry to groundbreaking manga, the animator’s selections are a feast for the eyes.
Joseph Szabo: Almost Grown
I’m a huge Dinosaur Jr fan and always thought the cover of Green Mind was really striking but it wasn’t until years later that my girlfriend introduced me to Joseph Szabo’s photography. This book is a collection of Szabo’s photos of the teenage experience of growing up, with poetry written by teenagers in response to his images as part of Alan Ziegler’s writing workshops in the late 1970s. It contains the image of the girl smoking that was used by Dinosaur Jr.
Maya Angelou and Jean-Michel Basquiat: Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
Basquiat’s work was introduced to me by our art teacher at school and at the time it was pretty mind blowing to see. I definitely spent a few years trying to see as much of his work as I could but I’d never seen this book until it was given to me by a good friend at university. The children’s book is a mix of Angelou’s poem on conquering personal fears combined with Basquiat’s paintings. It’s the perfect mix, a good message for people of all ages and the best present.
Margaret Kilgallen: In the sweet bye & bye
Margaret Kilgallen’s work has always been a massive inspiration for me. This book was published in conjunction with the retrospective exhibition of the same name in 2005, and contains some of her works and interviews and essays.
Dori Hadar and Neil Strauss: Mingering Mike: The amazing career of an imaginary soul superstar
This book was put together after a group of record collectors stumbled across a collection of albums designed and made of cardboard at a flea market in 2003. The records were created from the imagination of Mingering Mike, who dreamt of being a soul singer as a teenager and created an entire universe of fake albums with other fake artists on fake record labels and even soundtracks for imaginary kung fu films that even had fake reviews from people like James Brown. The commitment and dedication in creating and crafting this world restores my faith in creativity and I hope there are more people out there making this kind of thing just for fun.
Shinji Kimura: Tekkonkinkreet Art Book Black Side
In 2006 Michael Arias directed the feature length adaptation of Taiyō Matsumoto’s three volume manga series Tekkonkinkreet which had some of the most amazing background design in any animation I had seen at the time. Black Side is the first of two books and contains sketches and concept art created for the film by and under the supervision of art director Shinji Kimura. The book is great inspiration for the use of colour and the amazingly detailed pencil studies of the scenes.
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