Illustrator Owen Gatley has just graduated from the University of West of England. Originally hailing from the Malvern hills in Worcestershire, Owen’s work is inspired by imagery from the 50s, 60s and 70s, in particular old comic strips, posters and advertisements that include a narrative.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A carpenter of sorts, as a kid I set up my own woodwork factory on the bottom level of my bunkbed. I worked under the name ‘Mr Arkwright’. I did live in the countryside without any school friends to play with though, so that could be why. Apart from that I wanted to play for Aston Villa and be a cartoonist.
In reflection, how bad was your work in the first year?
Most pieces were pretty gross. It took me a while to get over the use of masking tape, graph paper and brown paper from the foundation art college days. However, I did make a pop-up book in the summer term which I’m still quite proud of, so it can’t have all been that bad.
If you could show a piece of your folio to one person, what piece would you choose, and who would you show it to?
I’d like to show my pop-ups to Robert Sabuda, king of all pop-ups, and get him to publish them for me.
If you had your own studio, who would you share it with and why?
I’d probably share it with fellow illustrators Adam Hancher, Jack Hudson and Luke Jinks as they’ve been my housemates and coursemates for three years and they’re all super talented great people to work with.
If you’ve got any left, what will you spend the last of your student loan on?
If I had some left, a tin of Baxter’s Carrot and Coriander Soup.
Where will we find you in 12 months?
On stage playing ‘Tom Dooley’ with my Bluegrass/Black Metal crossover band. That’s pretty much the only thing set in stone at the moment.