Based out of London’s Shoreditch district, Mr Go is a designer turned illustrator, who, while searching for something more in terms of a creative outlet, found his calling in the digital medium. His prints, rooted in photorealism, have a brilliantly candy-colored way of standing out, inviting double-takes when the realization that they’re not actually photos hits. Mr Go uses technology to translate his ideas to paper without compromising the relatability of it all- his work is influenced by what he sees, feels, and happens across on a daily basis, and from there, it’s only a matter of dedication and pinpointing the right vision.
Here is an exclusive sneak peak from his new collection being released July 8th!
MR GO INTERVIEW
Q 1 || Do you ever have anyone question the fact that you illustrate digitally- how would you deflect the assumption that digital art is somewhat ‘easier’ or not as time-consuming as classic pen and paper?
There is no denying that digital tools allow for a very different workflow from traditional media, however this requires it’s own, equally challenging skill set that can only be gained through experience and hard work, just like traditional media. With digital art being so varied in how it is created due to a massive range of programs being available to use, it can be a process that isn’t fully understood from the outside.
If we are talking about a process being ‘easier’ or ‘harder’ than another then whether digital or not, that really depends on the artists abilities. An experienced oil painter would find it ‘easy’ to create a final piece they are happy with, but that doesn’t make it less valuable than the same artist using an unfamiliar medium like watercolor and finding it ‘harder’ and struggling to create it. I would recommend artists use the tools they found ‘easy’ to create their work. The tools they find easy because they have become masters at using them from years of practice. Becoming an expert at your chosen medium allows you to explore the end result better rather than worrying about how to use those tools.
I understand though that unfortunately some hardcore traditionalists view on digital art would, perhaps, say that it somehow has less credibility than an oil painting for example. I think it’s easy to romanticize the role of an artist slaving over wet paint compared to the more clinical nature of pixels and digital art. But is the vision and techniques required to create an oil painting more credible than that which is required to create a digital matte? I don’t think so. In my view the two processes are two very different things, two wildly different mediums and should be respected for what unique qualities they offer.
Q 2 || You’ve mentioned that you often find inspiration in street art- is that something you can see yourself trying out one day?
Street art is an influence for sure. It’s not something I have done before but I would be up for trying it out – I’d need to get pretty tasty with a spray can before anything good came of it though! For me the appreciation of street art is kind of about the anarchistic attitude. It’s an attitude that you just don’t find in galleries. I think there is a valid voice of the people seen in street art, it represents opinions of the time and politics of that area or even on a wider scale. Ron English is someone I really admire in this respect.
In terms of dabbling in other media, I do see myself getting more involved with painting. I consider myself mixed-media currently as I use more than just a digital format and with the creation of the hand finished canvases I make as part of my collections, I’m using all sorts of different materials to get a unique finish to these pieces. Both acrylics and oils is something I’ve got an increasing interest in exploring further so this coming year I’m excited to see how my work develops in this direction.
Q 3 || Was there anything that particularly surprised you about the path to becoming a working artist and having your work bought and showcased?
Yeah the most notable thing for me is hearing peoples reaction to my art. With it now reaching a wider audience I’m enjoying this aspect of it being showcased. Creating this art is a largely solitary process that really messes with your head at points! It’s a constant cycle of self critical evaluation at one end and mad excitement at the other. So when people connect with my art in some way, it means a great deal to hear their take on it and see how they have assigned their own meaning to it.
Q 4 || How often do you do commissioned pieces as opposed to personal projects? Do you ever find yourself without time for one or the other?
Commissioned work is not yet something I have done. However, now I have signed with Wishbone Publishing, this is now a possibility if someone was after that. My working life is constant case of plate spinning though, working as an artist, a graphic designer and director means I’m always finding I have limited time for at least one of those things. It’s a delicate balance but the variety is key to an interesting working life for me.
Q 5 || You stepped away from the career you had established to pursue solo work- what advice could you give to anyone trying to the same, whether it be in art or any other field?
As I say, I still work as a freelance creative in various fields so I haven’t stepped away from any careers as such. Really the biggest leap was the move into becoming entirely freelance in order to foster these various creative avenues all at once and enjoy the freedom of the variety. It’s easy to feel like you will get to a point where it will all get clear and you can make a lovely smooth transition between careers or becoming a freelancer etc. But it just doesn’t seem to work like that. I found that developing personal projects on the side, out of work hours, for your own enjoyment is the only way to switch roles like this. Over time, you acquire skills, the portfolio gets full and things happen. You essentially work two jobs for a bit, as long as it takes. Then there is a point when you realize your actually doing it but your not quite sure how or when it really ‘happened’.
Q 6 || How would you, in your own words, describe the message that lies in the underwire of all your work? Is there a common core, or does each piece stand completely on its own?
Humor, freedom and sexy surrealism are themes I seem to find myself involved in mostly. But I see it as a constant work in progress and that reflects the development of myself as an artist and a person. As I develop, influences change and thoughts and feelings become something new. Life events influence opinions and feelings thoughts and emotions alter. It’s not always clear what exactly has altered so part of me looks at my art for an understanding of what that is. I like to have an element of humor in my work, that could be the most prevalent theme. That tends to manifest itself in many ways thought which can be surprising. Sometimes it’s sexy humor, other times it’s more grotesque. It’s hard to predict but it’s good fun.
Q 7 || And finally, do you have any projects or appearances coming up that you’re especially excited about?
My summer collection is launched on July 8th through my publisher Wishbone Art. This is my first collection with them so it’s really exciting. We’ve been working towards it for a few months now, there is a festival kind of event planned for the launch and various other artists showing originals and exclusive art so it’s lining up to be pretty mega. If you want see more about it all you can see the work in development on my Instagram or Facebook feeds.