Multi-disciplinary artist Samuel Burgess Johnson on his work for The 1975
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 25 March 2019
Creative director, artist, graphic designer and photographer, Samuel Burgess Johnson, is most known for his typographic and photographic work for British pop rock band, The 1975. But for Samuel, the band are much more than just a client: “They are a part of my life, almost separate from the rest of my career. We are close friends and talk every day,” he tells It’s Nice That. On top of working with the band, Samuel’s portfolio is as vast as his multidisciplinary job title, working for high-profile clients such as Nike and Unilever, for which he recently worked on a range of projects, from branding to macro painting.
With such a mix of disciplines, you would think that Samuel would be hard pushed to pick a favourite. But, on the contrary, he says it’s a no brainer: “Graphic design and art were always natural inclinations as far back as I can remember. Hard to pinpoint why above anything else, but graphic design is something I became obsessive with and explored seriously in my late teens,” he says. “My career has transitioned more towards creative direction in recent years but I am still at my happiest working within graphic design and image-making parameters.”
Other recent career developments include relocating from his long-standing base of London to Los Angeles, where new ventures are already underway. Over the past year, conceptualising identities featuring his botanical motifs, Samuel has worked with other big names in music such as Ta-ku & Wafia and Warbear (Yuuki Ozaki). 2018 also saw him collaborate with iconic American rock band, Thirty Seconds to Mars on the artwork for their single Dangerous Night, through which he was able to combine his skills in art direction, graphic design and photography.
Along with his ever-changing medium of choice, Samuel’s style also changes frequently; from photographic work showcasing vivid colour palettes and neon-lit foregrounds to monochrome typographic poster design, his aesthetic is constantly adapting – with the moody and ethereal tone of his work being the only reoccurring element.
Moving forward, Samuel says he will be working with more record labels and musicians, expanding his portfolio stateside to further hone his already impressive practice. Speaking on this, he explains that although there are recognisable patterns in his artwork and designs, he also hopes that his work continues to “evolve and improve”.
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.