This week we caught up with designer and illustrator Joe Melhuish to hear exactly how he goes about getting down to “some serious picture inventing”. Recently graduated from Kingston (that well known rockpool of as yet undiscovered gems) Joe makes work with an eclectic range of methods across the realms of design and illustration, using graphic elements alongside hand-drawn techniques to create a collage-like effect. Here’s the man himself talking about his working day…
Where do you work?
Just from home at the moment. I’m based in Honor Oak Park in South East London and it’s lovely. We don’t have internet in our flat right now so I’ve been going to this place near us called Hopscotch to use their wi-fi. I’d feel a bit bad using it and not buying anything so I just buy tonnes of coffee there until I’m a jittering wreck. Me and some other Illustrator friends have been talking about starting a collective and the possibility of getting a shared studio, but nothing’s for certain yet, so for now I’m happy with my desk.
How does your working day start?
It always starts with coffee, maybe some frosties. I’m not really into showering in the morning so I get stuck in pretty quick If I have a project on the go. If I’m not straight in with the work I usually fire off some emails – I always bash out the admin early because you don’t have to think too hard but it sort of stimulates your mind ready to tackle some serious picture inventing.
How do you work and how has that changed?
I try to utilise different combinations of hand-drawn work and computer images. When you look through my portfolio, some of the projects seem so distant from each other aesthetically at first. I guess I’m a bit bi-polar with my work, but I use that to my advantage; it means I can create work for a wider variety of clients and it never comes across dishonest, or less personal. I keep discovering new techniques, adding new aspects to my visual palette. I’ve been battling with this idea of “style” for a long time, for a long time I wasn’t sure what mine was. I knew I drew in a certain way, but because of the range of techniques I used to complete my sketches things always turned out quite different. Only in the last year I’ve become more aware of the things that I do in my work that make it mine, so I’m getting more comfortable with it now that I realise being able to work in these ways is an asset, rather than a problem.
Where would we find you when you’re not at work?
This café I mentioned, Hopscotch. Its real nice there. I make music as well although I mostly just show it to my friends, I DJ at some parties in London and have a radio show with a mate in Shadwell. I go to a lot of music nights, like clubbing, I’m really into that, although mostly I just look through line-ups of amazing nights I wish I had the time or money to go to.
Would you intern for yourself?
Sure! I think me and me would get on all right, but I’d be worried things might get a bit intense. I like being around different people because they occasionally remind to me to turn the techno down. I always laugh at my own jokes too, so it could become like an endless cycle of laughing which wouldn’t be good for getting things done.
Actually, maybe I wouldn’t.