The Little Interview with Andy Smith
What is your background in art/ design?
I studied illustration at the Royal College of Art in London, once I'd graduated from there I started to get illustration work and I've been freelance ever since working on a variety of projects for advertising agencies, publishers etc. I also do a lot of screenprinting. I work on posters and self published books when I get the time. I really like messing about with little hand printed books, it seems to be a good way to generate ideas that then feed into my commercial work.
Name of a few of your favorite publications?
Thats a tricky one as I seem to read a lot of stuff online nowadays. Paper is dead! A new publication that I recently got is 'Its nice that' a kind of printed, more indepth version of the website (https://www.itsnicethat.com). Its got a lot of good work in it.
What is the next step for your career?
I don't really have any big plans apart from just keeping on what I'm doing. I've recently started screenprinting alot more and am interested in seeing where that takes me. The work I've been doing recently has been very typography based. It would be nice to go back to doing more drawing without the type but I'm finding it difficult to stop adding lettering- theres nothing like drawing something and then writing what it is on there also. Theres no confusion that way!
Where do you live and does your environment affect your work?
I recently moved from grimy London to Hastings a seaside town on the south coast of the UK. Its a great place full of interesting stuff (castle, smugglers caves etc) and slightly weird people (fishermen, arty folk, asylum seekers- always a good mix) I think living by the sea led me to make 'The Hi Tide' a little screenprinted book. I am trying to avoid a nautical theme in my work though. I don't want to get pigeon holed. Anchors are great to draw but i can do more than that!
If you could live in one other place in the world where would it be?
I quite like it where I am but maybe somewhere remote like the Isle of Sky in Scotland. There would have to be a supermarket nearby though. And a cake shop.
Do you dream and if so do you have recurring themes?
I guess I do but I never really remember them. I do occassionally have one of those dreams when you're falling off to sleep and you have the feeling of falling over and then I wake. That dream doesn't really give me an inspiration unfortunately. Maybe I am eating the wrong foods for dream generating.
Currently reading/ Watching anything?
I am terrible at reading stuff and don't read books unless I have to for a job like a book jacket or something. Even with newspapers i tend to go for the headlines only...If you get a headline with a photo that will usually tell you everything you need to know. I will save my bookreading until I am old and can't get about too well. I like watching documentaries, especially ones about odd ball type people, hoarders of stuff, rubbish collectors etc.
Name the last 5 songs you listened to on your I pod?
I have resisted buying an ipod and still just have cds. I like to put a cd on it the morning and play it over and over again so it becomes a constant drone that I don't really notice. It would be good to get one of those cd players that will take 5 at a time then I'd have a bit more variety. The thought of filling an ipod with all my cds is too daunting. At the moment I am listening to The Pictish Trail which is pretty good. I also have Iggy Pop around and Nick Drake, hes good if you want to speak to people on the phone and listen to music. Sometimes he goes so quiet you think hes finished.
What inspires your work?
i've been inspired by people a lot. Neighbours are always good. I used to live near a family who had a fat kid who was an incredible nuisance to the area. I made a couple of little books with him as my muse. 'Lightning strikes at Fattys house' which is kind of self explanatory and 'Fattys big bubble' in which he drifts away connected to an enormous bubble gum bubble. I get a lot of my ideas by just keeping my ears open and listening to things people say. A lot of my recent prints have been type based and most of the slogans in them have come to me this way..
5 words that describe yourself?
Hairy, beardy, checked shirt, jeans and jumper if it is cold.