- Sep 1, 2015
We are honoured to have Aldous Massie for our Customer Spotlight! Aldous is a Sydney-based illustrator and graphic designer who works with pen and ink, watercolour, and digital media. His unique and diverse art narratives and his evident dedication to his craft make him a true inspiration; and we have been lucky enough to have printed various projects for him.
He has done commissioned work for Parisian fashion-house Hermes, Melbourne-based fashion label SHAYLI, and Chambord Liqueur, to name a few. Aldous’ eclectic signature pieces range from book covers, posters, striking art illustrations, to identity kits, and branding campaigns.
How did your artistic journey start out, and what is your proudest moment so far?
I started drawing when I was very young – the first thing I remember strategically drawing is a dragon from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty; I say ‘strategically’ because before this point I’d just been drawing symbolism unconsciously (like most children), rather than ‘line drawing’ (being aware of the imaginary line-boundaries that segment an object) which can be called the foundations of beginner drawing. This was a revelation at the time, and something I still remember even though I was maybe two or three years old.
Now I feel that a lot of the drawing I do is very tactics-based; configuring and reconfiguring a puzzle in order to create an image. The goal is to attempt to travel back to the unconscious symbolism.
Could you quickly tell us about your design process?
I work on a variety of projects, so the details of individual processes vary, but generally I start by pinpointing an overall mood or atmosphere. Then I try my hardest to focus deeply on individual steps in order to get closer and closer to the goal. Looking past the current step creates anxiety and stops any progress, but focusing on an individual element gives you quick rewards which build inertia/addiction. That’s the trick, I think. If you’ve got the momentum, you won’t run out of energy.
- From your published works, your focus seems to be on surrealism. One of our favourite books is of M.C. Escher’s tessellations, and we absolutely love your The Tick of Approval. You have a very clean and distinct style, and a keen eye for detail…
What inspires you and your style of drawing?
Emmie Rae, Moebius (Jean Giraud), Yoshitaka Amano, Miyazaki, Kilian Eng, James Jean, Escher, Ayahuasca, videogames, skateboarding, chess.
What is a favourite design piece you’ve created recently?
I did a drawing for Modular Recordings for the new Tame Impala album, Currents. Unfortunately it wasn’t used, but I really like the image.
How does your workspace look like and what are your favourite tools to create your designs?
I’m using an old Dell laptop that’s loaded with extra RAM and an SSD for Adobe software. It acts as a second monitor, and it’s connected to my main display which is a Wacom Cintiq 24HD. So there’s this huge robotic looking screen that I can draw onto, and it sits in the corner of my bedroom.
Outside this room is a regular desk, and there’s a lightbox, drafting board, and some other tools. I think my favourite tool, after a regular pencil, would have to be Photoshop coupled with Wacom software.
What are your favourite subjects and art media to use, and what makes it fascinating to you?
Lately I’ve been drawing directly into Photoshop because of the ease of manipulation, but earlier in this interview I mentioned the need to support more innate expression which I think can be done more easily with traditional tools. The replication of traditional media through various combinations of hardware/software always falls short, though the gaps can be very subtle – even unconscious.
How has print media figured into your work? What for you is the appeal of printing art, in our time?
The appeal is the tangibility. It’s always a surprise to see a graphic that in your mind is isolated to your small bedroom/workspace, suddenly appear in the outside world. It’s weird to think that almost every printed graphic you’re bombarded with every time you leave your home was at one point living in a computer.
Being an illustrator and small business owner, what are the challenges for you at present?
Time management, money management – maybe just ‘management’.
- Our customers are small businesses and creatives who’ve had their share of tough challenges.
What’s your favourite way to de-stress and unwind after a long day of work?
I relax with my wife, Emmie. We’re avid golfers and we enjoy watching anime together.
I also really enjoy skateboarding and playing chess. I’m usually skating at Hyde Park in Sydney during the week, and you can find me on lichess.org as ‘aldous’.
Where else can we find you?
We have been fortunate to have met awesome people through our work, and learning about them and their challenges and triumphs is always humbling and inspiring. Thanks heaps for your time, Aldous! As print advocates, we truly enjoy talking with artists and small businesses who inspire us everyday.
~Aldous is a Sydney based designer, illustrator, and fine artist. Check out his portfolio at http://aldousmassie.com.