Peter Judson is a London-based designer and print maker whose unique, bold aesthetic has drawn comparisons to Nickelodeon cartoons, The Simpsons, retro video games and the latter works of Roy Lichtenstien. Having graduated from Kingston last summer with a degree in illustration, Peter is set to show his work as part of the Tate Britain’s BP Spotlight: Source display later this year. We caught up with the budding artist to talk potato smileys, Doug and Richard Deacon.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO FIRST TAKE AN INTEREST IN DESIGN AND ILLUSTRATION?
Potato smileys, actual food with a face. I thought “that’s for me.” The best ideas are always the simple ones. I think Heston Blumenthal tries too hard.
WHAT’S YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF MAKING ART?
I was in single digits and managed to re-create Pele’s dummy against Uruguay on my mates dad but unlike Pele, I scored. If that’s not art. I quit.
YOUR ILLUSTRATION STYLE COMES ACROSS AS HAVING BEEN INSPIRED BY RETRO VIDEO GAMES, ARE THEY AN INTEREST/INFLUENCE? WHAT ELSE INSPIRES YOUR ILLUSTRATION/DESIGN STYLE?
To be honest I’ve been really enjoying what people have been comparing my work to as of recent so I’d rather let them keep guessing. The other week somebody said my work looked like “a cheap rip off of the latter works by Roy Lichtenstien” – I thought that was brilliant. And someone else said my work reminded them of the Nickelodeon cartoon Doug.
YOU’RE ALSO A PRINTMAKER – IS IT IMPORTANT TO PRESERVE MORE TRADITIONAL TECHNIQUES? GIVEN THE POPULARITY OF SUCH TECHNIQUES AS SCREEN PRINTING, DO YOU THINK WE’RE NOSTALGIC FOR A PRE DIGITAL AGE?
I don’t think I can do either of those questions justice within this context. Can you bullet point in interviews? I’d probably miss something out and kick myself later, so I’ll just say I use print for two main reasons and they are; I’ve found screen printing to be an incredibly effective way of turning art that is quite sterile and created on a computer into a really tactile and accessible medium. The other is a serious appreciation of craftsmanship and process. Not just within print, the recent Richard Deacon exhibition at Tate Britain was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in years.
WHAT IS IT THAT FASCINATES YOU ABOUT TYPE AND LETTERS?
Language fascinates me! Not type and letters, but type can be laid out in incredibly pleasing ways and letters are just beautiful in their simplicity.
WHICH PROJECT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE TO WORK ON?
That one with the thing and those bits! We were all laughing. I’m not sure to be honest, I’ve worked on so many projects that I’ve enjoyed but after they’re finished and signed off I don’t really think about them. I’d say I most enjoy whatever I’m working on at that moment.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH A BRIEF? WHAT IS YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
Generally from within the box until/if it opens and then I climb out, apart from when I’m too small or the box is too large. That can be frustrating. My creative process generally involves reading and re-reading a brief until it’s ingrained in my memory and then I sit on it until it becomes something I can’t help think about all the time. When that happens you start making decisions and building on little ideas you have when sitting on the train or talking to someone about the beauty of inconsistent British weather patterns. It’s rarely eureka! moments more a combination of satisfying “oh yeah, that might work.” moments. I’ve only had one real Eureka moment but I’m going to sit on it until the time is right, It’s worth the wait that’s all I can say.
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVOURITE ILLUSTRATORS OR DESIGN STUDIOS?
Phoar! I almost answered that but I think they may count as inspiration so I’m going to have to let you guess.
WHAT PROJECTS DO YOU HAVE COMING UP?
I’ve been invited to show an image alongside the print archive in the Tate Britain for BP Spotlight: Source. I’m also working on a series of 20+ layer screen prints that I’m planning to exhibit later this year.
Click here to visit Peter’s website.