FRONT Magazine

ILLUSTRATOR PROFILE: MIKE O

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Tell us a quick bit about yourself.
My name is Mike O’Shea, I’m 24 and I live in Bristol.

Full interview and image gallery after the jump…

Talk us through a typical job, from the initial idea to a completed piece.
To be honest, I haven’t done too much in the way of commissioned work – all the things I’ve done have pretty much been through people I know. I did a couple of T-shirts with Howies – I just sent them some drawings and they used what I sent; no changing or messing about. It was all very straight forward, which I like. I’m friends with the guys from The Harmony and they asked me to do some board designs for them. I sent them some sketches and they liked them, so i just worked them up and they didn’t change anything.

Disney or anime? Toilet-wall graffiti or photo-realism?
Disney, I guess, but only because they teamed up with Pixar – Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles were all rad. The other stuff, like Beauty And The Beast, can bugger off. I’m not into photo-realism – why have a painting that looks like a photo? Just take a photo, then with the time you have saved you could go get some friends. Just kidding…

Do you prefer working freehand or doing as much as you can on computer?
I’m all about freehand. I do use the computer for some stuff, but not too much. I like to see the artist’s touch. I’m not into things that are done straight onto the computer – it always looks a bit souless.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen?
I’m not sure about coolest thing ever, but I love anything that Adam Buxton does. Here’s an example of his genius.

What artists/illustrators do you look up to?
One of my favourites is Ed Templeton. He’s been someone I’ve looked up to ever since I got into skating. He’s a pro skater and owns and runs his own company, for which he does all the artwork and he’s now a well established artist in his own right. Also, my friend Paul is amazing, as is Tim Ryan. I share a studio with Tim and he keeps me on my toes. He’ll blow up big soon.

Any words of wisdom for aspiring artists?
You may have to work a crummy job you don’t like so you can keep making all your pretty pictures. But don’t worry, because when you die everyone will become fans of your work and say that they always liked your stuff. Keep on trucking.

Check out Mike O’s latest exhibition, on until 30 September at Donuts in Bristol. Check here for deets.

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