Q: Introduce yourself to our readers that may not know you already?
I go under the alias Mr Mead and am an Artist /Illustrator from deepest darkest Cornwall. Currently I live and work in Bristol.
Q: Tell us about your art and the characters you paint and draw?
From an early age I have been terrified of people wearing animal suits, all due to Reginald Mills 1976 ballet film, “The Tales of Beatrix Potter”. To this day I still cannot watch it! Recently though I decided to embrace my fear to try and get over it instead of running away, ever since I have been drawing animal people. I like the idea of people mixed with machines and have nicknamed what I do as ‘British Bio-Mechanic Anthropomorphism’ which is a bit of a mouthful! My ultimate aim is to actually draw something that I like, which as I am very hard to please is quite a challenge.
Q: What made you want to be an artist?
I never wanted or could do much else, I am ridiculously stubborn (as my parents would agree) and all I ever wanted to do was what I enjoyed, and art was it for me.
Q: Who or what are your main inspirations?
Antlers the gallery that I am represented by inspire me at the moment, their professional drive genuinely makes me want to push myself much more. Music constantly inspires me as well, I find myself creatively stale if I don’t have a new band coursing through my head.
Q: What medium do you use and why?
For the smaller pieces I use a fine dip pen to get the detail. For the larger pieces I draw on large pieces of sanded MDF usually going through about 45 pens each drawing, as I am yet to find a pen that can last! I am getting into using ink washes and I think etching is next.
Q: Did you study art?
I did, I studied Animation production at the Arts Institute Bournemouth. A fantastic course, but I could never animate so went into background design and art direction, which led me in a roundabout way to where I am now. Ironic that most of my pieces don’t include backgrounds, but they will soon.
Q: Where do you live and work?
I live around the Stokes Croft area of Bristol, its an amazingly inspiring place and perfect for an artist. Most of the time though I am in my second home Jamaica Street Studios, drinking a lot of tea and procrastinating/working.
Q: Tell us about the infamous Jamaica Street studios?
Its an incredibly inspirational place to work, there is so much talent and diversity to learn from here. I came to the studio struggling in the 2D animation world, once the open studios came last year I put my work on the wall for the first time ever and the experience changed my career! I used to consider my art ‘a process’ therefore attaching no value to it, now I think the complete opposite and I am happy to say that this studio has changed me for the better!
Q: What is the most challenging part of being an artist?
For me its actually being able to get what is in your head onto the paper, it’s a permanent form of torture, but a torture I couldn’t live without. Oh, and the living off lentils part is pretty challenging as well! But that’s half the fun I guess.
Q: What does Mr Mead do when not immersed in the studios?
Not as much as I should, admittedly I am a complete workaholic so mostly I am drawing or trying to find materials to draw on. I skateboard as much as I can, but my old useless body is slowly giving into that. Mostly in this crazy place it’s going to endless private views and gigs, which is never a bad thing.
Q: Name a few favourite artists, dead or alive?
H.R Giger, Nate Frizzel, Shaun Tan, Goya, Tim Burton (back in his heyday). Locally Beth Carter and Tim Lane. Mostly though it is Koji Morimoto and Remi Wyart .
Q: Most amazing place you have ever visited?
China, it completely blew my mind. I don’t think I have ever had so many photos taken of me. Why hundreds of Chinese girls would want my ugly face as a photo will always bemuse me….a dartboard perhaps!?
Q: We hear you have been working on a book, can you tell us about it?
Originally it was going to be a dark folk tale book with 10 old tales each from a different culture reworked and made modern. But I struggled to find a writer to help me, and then realized that the project was a vast one. So now I am working with a local writer to find a publisher and adapt one of the tales I found into a graphic novel. If this all goes well it will be released by early next year.
Q: What next for Mr Mead?
I am currently working with Antlers Gallery on a limited edition deck of playing cards featuring my character designs, we are looking to launch these in April in a temporary gallery in Cabot Circus, Bristol. There is also the JSA Yellow show at St Georges and then I have some big plans for the 21st-24th July for the open studio event at Jamaica Street. Along with trying to cure my artistic torment and actually seeing some sunlight now and again.
Q: If we were to give you £100,000.00 to buy one painting what would it be?
I don’t think I could buy a painting for that much, as I have never seen that kind of money before. If I did though it would have to be ‘The reprobate series’ by Anthony Micallef, or commission Giger to mural my house. Photos by Luke Vagnolini Purchase info at Antlers Mr Mead's website