REDMILK MEETS CLYM EVERNDEN, AN ARTIST WHO PLAYS ILLUSTRATING FASHION AND WITH A BIT OF HUMOUR. EACH OF HIS ARTWORK TELLS ABOUT AN INDUSTRY THAT OFTEN TAKES ITSELF TOO SERIOUSLY. WITH HIS FUNNY IMAGES AND MAKES US SURPRISE THAT THERE ARE DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW FROM WHICH TO OBSERVE THINGS. DISCOVER THE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW!
What did you dream of doing when you were a child?
I was drawing from as early as I remember, so I think I always knew that I might be able to do something creative when I grew up. Other than that I don’t recall ever having any conventional career aspirations, I was just in a world of my interests and imagination when I was young.
How and when is your passion for illustration born?
The illustration is something I can do, but it’s never been the sole driving force behind what I enjoy to create. I’ve always used illustration as a vehicle to represent observations, interests, comical moments etc. When I started getting interested in fashion in my teens, I developed a design aesthetic in my drawing style as well as the designs I imagined and put onto paper. During this time drawing was a fantastic way to imagine my own brand fashion shows. I used to draw the outfits on specific models, Karen Elson was a favourite, and then sketch the venue, and jot down the soundtrack playlist etc.
Why do you think the fashion world draws from illustration?
I studied BA Fashion Design Womenswear at Central Saint Martins, in London. Having done this course it’s evident how important drawing is in the process of designing clothes. During my time at St Martin’s there was an emphasis on drawing to describe the design, but also on attending fashion illustration classes where you would draw a live model, similar to a life drawing class set up but clothed and with lots of outfit changes. Illustrating the human body live is very important as you learn about movement, pose, proportion, and basic anatomy. All these aspects are vital to design, so the illustration is kind of embedded in the psyche of the fashion industry. I think the fashion world also feeds from illustration because prior to photography illustrations were used to describe and present garments, so again this form of artwork underlies the history of the fashion world.
What is creativity for you?
Creativity for me is a wonderful thing, because it can be produced by anyone, and give anyone joy – so it is without restriction. Also, creativity for me isn’t just found in the arts, it’s part of everyday life. If I had to try and sum up how I view creativity, it’s a unique approach uninhibited by convention or restriction, using the imagination in an instinctive way, and often combined an innate skill.
What is your inspiration?
My inspiration can come from anywhere, mostly everyday life. I’m more likely to be inspired by seeing a passerby on the street, or the evening light on a building rather than something in a gallery. My other main interest is music, so I’m frequently inspired by this.
How important is colour and how do you choose it?
When I started working professionally as an artist, I felt more comfortable creating illustrations just using my signature strong graphic black ink line. This is still the basis for much of my work, however, over the years, I’ve learnt to introduce colour and enjoy it. I often like to add an edited palette of colours to my work. I always remember hearing a documentary featuring Helmut Lang in the 90’s, and he stated that he likes to have a neutral basis such as beige black or white, with one accent colour such as red or yellow. I like this approach, but depending on my commissioned work sometimes I have to create illustrations which are more factually real, so I’ll involve a full spectrum of colour.
How would you describe your work with a word?
I think I would describe my work as “pleasurable”. I like the idea that my work is pleasurable, as often people say it made them smile, laugh, or they simply got pleasure from looking at it. I’ve never wanted to create anything too challenging to the eye, or political etc, so for me, it’s rewarding to simply give people pleasure with my work.
Can animations be considered the future of illustration?
I don’t really agree that there’s such as thing as a “future” or “no future” for illustration. It’s such an essential tool to humans that it will always be bubbling along in some form or another, perhaps weighted in a certain style such as digital or animation. But for me, there’s something so heartwarming about artwork created by hand, where the eye records a thought or visual and it goes straight onto the paper. In this age of social media and constantly looking at a screen either on a desk or in your hand, I’ve noticed people crave this ‘soul’ underlying hand-drawn artwork more and more.
Photos courtesy of the artist