Back with new work for the V&A, Nick Hakim, and Reality vs Virtual Reality zine, graphic designer and illustrator Patrick Savile’s style has evolved into something dreamy and enticingly retro. “Airbrush art from the 70s bears heavily on my work, and I love grain, the feeling that something has been created physically,” Patrick explains. “I try to imbue my type and logos with the way that old print and repro processes affect things, that loss of detail and blurred edge, rough curves and wonky verticals.
“Stylistically I have been influenced by my time as a screen printer, and love for the hand-made and human error – hand-drawn lines, photocopied and scanned patterns.”
Patrick hails from the UK’s West Country and now works in Shoreditch, with a portfolio filled with client work for Vice, Amazon, Nickelodeon and Sony, as well as indie record labels, brands and magazines. His most recent of the latter is for Reality vs Virtual Reality zine, depicting his take on the two worlds.
Likewise, Patrick’s artwork announcing this month’s V&A Late with Boiler Room exploring “what happens when the digital and physical collide”, references VR, memes, online vs IRL and “general internetty stuff”. “It’s maybe a bit retro but I think the colours make it quite modern feeling,” he says. “It uses a few of my recurring themes of crystals, liquid and organic forms, and Turing patterns.”
For Nick Hakim’s US tour poster, Patrick wanted to create an eerie feeling to relate to the musician’s Green Twins album artwork by Keith Rankin, but with a point of difference. “I felt like it had an oblique narrative – what’s that globe and what happened to it? It’s got a kind-of 60s feel, and some art nouveau. There’s also a sneaky crystal in it.”
His works start with drawing, recently more often on his iPad Pro – “which is absolutely amazing, pretty much exactly like drawing on paper but with Ctrl Z”. These are then digitally painted using multiple layers and masks, which he compares to physical airbrushing, a process he uses for personal paintings. “Both are painstaking, sometimes racking up 500 layers on Photoshop or days of painting.”
As for aesthetic inspiration, Patrick’s varies from sci-fi cover art to Pez and Tarot. “From a young age I remember ogling my dad’s collection of artist monographs on Roger Dean, Rodney Matthews and Chris Foss, plus Penguin covers by David Pelham and Alan Aldridge. 90s rave art by people like Pez seems to be having a renaissance at the mo. I also have a healthy love of the esoteric, the design of playing cards and Tarot. Other than that, a big hero of mine is Ken Price; his drawings have an amazing vitality, and he really focuses on texture and process within his sculpture and ceramics. The forms he created had many parallels with my work when I first saw them – ambiguous, yet recognisably somehow human."