Zac Fay discusses his colourful characters and aligning his values with commercial work
Zac combines the imaginative worlds he creates with strong principles and an open mind, from Covid-19 support to eyewear brand campaigns.
- Harry Bennett
- 24 April 2020
The Kiwi but Melbourne-based illustrator Zac Fay thrives on creating digital worlds with imaginative, bold and colourful characters to live within. “I dabble in drawing, painting and animation,” Zac tells us, which brings his digital work “an analogue sensibility.” In turn, it “looks like someone actually made it, not a computer!”
Throughout Zac’s joyful and charming practice “bold, solid colour” partnered with “snippets of texture and pattern here and there,” are recurring elements. Despite being purely digital, there is rich life that runs within his characters, beaming with a sense of excitement and edge. This is also prevalent in the interests that influence him, telling us his creative practice is fed by “the natural world, cartoons, music, skateboarding,” and importantly “colour!”
Recently, Zac has been having fun working with the eyewear brand Bailey Nelson on its latest campaigns. “Its recent Blue Light Filter campaign in Australia and New Zealand gave me the chance to work on animated illustrations which expanded my practice,” Zac explains of the project which allowed him the freedom “to explore some more abstract ideas relating to eye health and eyewear – I learnt a lot!” The resulting artwork is simple but packed with joy, positivity and optimism, a wholesome escape in a world full of clean-cut and dry branding.
Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, Zac collaborated with Bielke&Yang on Snakklitt, a project for Norwegian public health figure, Helsesista. “Her new initiative Snakklitt, ” Zac explains, “is an anonymous conversation service which has been created in response to Covid-19, whereby anyone can call experienced volunteers to have a chat and feel connected during this time of physical distancing.” Finding an opportunity to help in a way he related to, Zac’s illustrations were his chance “to help convey feelings of digital connectivity in a time when physical connections aren’t so easily come by.”
Another project very important to Zac was his contribution to No Planet No Fun, an incredibly successful campaign that saw creatives responding to the issue of climate change. “I’m pretty passionate about environmental issues, so I was really keen to join a super talented group of creatives and create an illustration for the project,” he tells us, “it was a way for me to utilise my practice to support a larger, really important initiative.” This leads to what Zac finds most rewarding in his practice, which is “working towards causes I feel strongly about in my own life.” The conclusion of this is that Zac contributes to causes he holds dear the best he can, and his “work is stronger for that.”
What is also most fun for Zac is the “huge feeling of confidence and satisfaction” that comes when he’s “worked on an idea for ages, and finally gets it just right.” His practice involves practise; a lot of dedication and passion goes into what Zac produces, resulting in something that seems so easy and accessible. “Working as a freelance illustrator can be insular at times, so I really love working closely and collaboratively with clients,” Zac acknowledges, telling us that the best projects are those when he and the client are “both on the same wave-length, and push each other to create exactly what we were after, even exceeding our expectations sometimes!” He takes great pleasure in working on a project from start to finish and seeing “ideas from a written brief come together visually”.
“I’d love to keep working for brands and companies that I look up to, and that have values that align with my own,” Zac explains when discussing what lies ahead for him. “Being represented is definitely my next big goal, so hopefully that is on the horizon,” as well as projects in the works that involve “mental health and textile design, so I can’t wait to share those when I can.”
About the Author
After graduating from Winchester School of Art, studying graphic arts, Harry worked as a graphic designer before joining It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in March 2020. He nows works as a freelance writer and designer, and is one half of Studio Ground Floor.