Interview for Fact Magazines article entitled 'Cover stars: behind the scenes with 11 of modern music’s best sleeve designers' Apr 17 2014:
How would you describe your aesthetic?
I’ve always been interested in scientific imagery, especially looking at extreme scales – whether it’s viewing the universe through a telescope, a slide through a microscope, or when you move beyond what is visible with today’s technology. That’s when things start to blow your mind. A lot of inspiration is taken from natural curiosities that are alien or unfamiliar to everyday life. They can can be unsettling and beautiful. When creating an image, I might bring together star clusters, supernovae, diagrams of autopsies, animals, plant life and machinery, and then by scaling these elements disproportionately I can start to form landscapes and compositions that bring together the strange worlds of the very big with the very small.
What interests you in particular about producing visual work for records?
The type of relationship that I enjoy the most with musicians is the symbiotic kind where your ideas feed of each other. I think it can be more interesting to be a part of the creative process rather than a response to it. For Old Apparatus, we never thought about any one record sleeve in isolation – it was more about how we could create a unique landscape where the sleeves were just moments of time within that world. The great thing about working within a bigger idea is that there is so much room to evolve. It’s like the deeper you get into it, the more you want to enrich the overall sensory experience.
What are the big no-nos in your practice – things you studiously try to avoid?
I think that for Old Apparatus integrity is really important. We all started out as independent artists doing our own thing, hanging out in Leytonstone, East London, where we all met and became friends. When the idea of a collaborative project came together, we all jumped on it, determined to establish our own creative space where we could share and develop ideas. When it became more than we could have imagined and we started to release records, it was a really exciting time. We were always looking at how we could push things forward forward but always had an uncompromising vision.
Which other artists – visual or otherwise – inspire you?
I get a lot of inspiration from outsider artists on the fringes of society where art is a form of therapy or a reaction to deep and personal emotion. Artists such as Charles Dellschau, Henry Darger, Adolf Wölfli and Madge Gill all produced incredibly imaginative and extensive works that are highly detailed and thought provoking interpretations of their inner minds.
Which sleeve would you pick as the best introduction to your work?
The first sleeve that I produced was for the self titled Old Apparatus EP released on Deep Medi. We wanted to produce a bold, striking image that had fantastic tactile qualities. We silk screen printed a limited number in black and metallic silver on this really nice brown board stock. I love exploring new print techniques, but there’s still so much to learn.