1. ABOUT ME 2. MY PRACTICE 3. SECRET WALLS 4. MADE YOU LOOK 6. MURALS 7.COMMISSIONS 8. PORTFOLIO 9. ONLINE PRESENCE 10. PROMOTIONAL MERCHANDISE 11. ROAD AHEAD 12. LINKS
Creating art has always been more than just a hobby for me; growing up it played an important role in my identity formation, and to this day my work remains an ongoing personal challenge to find ways to visualise the world around me in new and unique ways. Living in London was one of my biggest influences, observing the ever moving and ever changing urban landscape fueled my creativity and provided me with an almost limitless amount of inspiration. Interests in graffiti, comic books, tattoo art and architecture have also been big influences on both my personal identity and my illustrative style. Over the last few years travelling has become one of the most important influences on me; seeing new places, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures is important for my illustrations to remain current and allows me to continue to explore new imagery and techniques.
My work is focused mainly between hand drawn illustrations and large scale mural work. I studied graphic design for a year at university before changing to an illustration degree, which has allowed me to bring aspects of both practices into my work. I took part and won Secret walls last year, which is a live art competition where two artists get 90 minutes to battle each other on 8ft x 8ft boards using only black. This helped me developed my work onto a much larger scale, taught me to work fast, and motivated me to further my work in a more
professional context. Through focusing on the use of only black, I found an area of illustration I felt very comfortable with, and since have continued exploring and developing this style in all of my work. My current practice is focused heavily on line work, and is a mix of black and white imagery with the occasional use of colour. My subjects are a combination of surreal animal forms combined with architectural imagery, and by combining this with abstract techniques I hope to create dynamic andand unique illustrations. A subtle use of colour brings out the subject and can be a interesting way to frame a subject without drawing focus away from the focal point.
My Pre Major Project was focused around the theme of identity within urban environments, and how a city or place can have a direct affect and influence a persons identity. I explored ways the area I grew up in west london has had an impact on my identity, both personal and illustrative. Through visualising places of importance within spherical perspective illustrations, I illustrated the concept of my world within the city of london. My major project is a continuation of the work i completed within my PMP. I have chosen to highlight the themes of journey & travel within Identity. I feel that my identity has been shaped through my experiences travelling over the last ten years and it is an important part of my life and work. Being inspired by my environment and surroundings was a key theme within my PMP work, and so my MP looks at this concept on a larger scale; whereas before I only studied london, I chose to then
focus on places/ countries/ journeys that have inspired me as an artist and shaped my identity. I have continued to play with the idea of perspective ,however my major projects work looks beyond the concept of a spherical image and explores new perspectives to enhance my illustrations. This allowed me to branch out and develop my imagery in new ways and using new techniques. Through photographic documentation of my travels during my final year at uni, Iâ€™ve created compositive travel illlustrations using places/people/imagery that made an impact on my whilst travelling. I focused on three places that have infucenced me and my work over the past year, London, Bulgaria and Amsterdam. Using the imagery I created, I have then joined up the travel illustrations in the style of a constantina book, as I felt this was the best way to present the work; the themes of travel and journey are conveyed strongly in this type of format.
BANKSO , BULGARIA.
TRAVEL ILLUSTRATION, POSCA MARKER ON PAPER
My major project has been an informative and educational experience. The work I have completed during the last few months of my degree has set me up to leave university with a professional working style and a knowledge of my preferred sector of illustration. Whlst working on this project my skills in presentation & documentation have improved hugely, and I can confidently present myself to clients or individuals in a proffessional and consice way. Working on this final project has opened me up to a whole new section of illustration, and after finishing my degree I will be persuing both my old illustrative style but worked into the architectural imagery I have refined during this project.
During the course of 3 years I have learnt a huge variety of applications for my work that I was unaware of and have been able to refine my pratice to a place I am finally happy with. I have been opened up to a new world of imagery and concepts and my work has grown into a much more refined and controlled version of its previous self. Now coming to the end of this journey, I am confident to persue my goals and ambitions with the knowledge I have gathered over the course of three years.
INSPIRATIONS Artists such as KAWS, who in the early 90â€™s started out as an illegal graffiti artist, is now known gloabally for his cartoon imagery and large scale sculptures that have now reach high end design status and can be seen in various fine art settings ( left ) . Mike Giant, who also started off writing graffiti, now owns his own clothing label called Rebel 8, is famous around the world for tattooing and also creates large scale graffiti murals as a hobby. Pose MSK is an artist who owns LRG clothing, a skate brand known globally. His work as a graffiti artist and then an illustrator has made him one of the top street artists today and is a made man from his work in clothing and manufacturing spray paint. All three of these artists have something in common, through hard work and dedication they have made their passions into successful businessâ€™s, and paved the way for other artists to be able to do the same. This transition from graffiti / street artist to high end illustrators & designers inspire me to persue my own goals and through being dedicated in everything I do I hope to one day achieve this level of success where I am self sufficient off my artwork and have developed a variety of projects that generate income but remain enjoyable and fufilling.
Secret walls is a live art event where artists, on their own or as part of a team, are given 90 mintues to battle each other on 8ft by 8ft white boards, and are only allowed to use black. The winners are decided by two guest judges and a crowd vote. Secret walls events take place all around the world, from London, Lisbon, Berlin, Tokyo and more. It is a platform for young upcoming artists to be able to show off their skills in front of a live audience of like minded people. I was lucky enough to take part, and win, the Secret Walls Bournemouth tournament last year. This event motivated me at the time to push my illustrations and it helped me find and develop the illustrative style I have today. Being able to take work out of a sketch book
and create it in front of a live audience was a game changer for me, and winning the tournament motivated me to push my work in a much more professional context. Learning to draw an image in a given time span without sketching pushed me to really know my craft and it took illustration to a new level for me. It has helped me develop a variety of illustrative techniques, such as composition, scale and line weight, and this is where I feel my illustrative identity really started to take shape. With out a doubt Secret Walls has been the catylst to all the proffessional work I have undertaken since taking part in the tournament. Through secret walls I have made countless contacts and it has set me up with a concrete path to follow when I leave university, and the skills I have learnt through this process will benefit all future projects I am part of .
SEMI FINAL 2013
GRAND FINAL 2013
MADE YOU LOOK is the art collective I started in 2013 which involves myself and 3 other artists. We travel to festivals and events creating live artwork infront of large audiences, collaborating together to create larger than life hand rendered artwork. Through the use of similar mediums, we aim to seamlessly blend our work together to create dynamic and intricate illustrations that immediately engage the viewer. By working in a collective we help each other get noticed and by working together at events we have a much stronger presence than an artist working on their own. This summer we will be travelling to Gottwood festival in wales, Barcelona and India, creating public artwork along the way, and plan to continue travelling after university creating artwork wherever we go. Working aborad massively broadens our client base and allows us to display our art to a much bigger audience, which in turn will hopefully gets us more work / commissions.
MURALS & PUBLIC ART
Large scale illustrations have been a growing interest of mine over the past year, and public art and large scale murals are becoming a very crucial, and very lucrative, part of the art world. Every day we are constantly having advertisments thrown in our face, from the side of buses, to billboards and posters, and so why should we not do the same with our art. Rather than confining artwork to a gallery, we should be making the streets the gallery, and sharing art with everyone, not just a select few.
SHOES ARE BORING WEAR SNEAKERS COMMISSION This commission was a collaboration between myself and Jake Attewell. We were asked by The Outside Collective, a creative agency who we work for, to paint a two story building in shoreditch, east london, for Converse. The campaign they were running was entitled â€˜Shoes are boring wear sneakersâ€™. We were given two weeks to plan the piece, which we then painted over the course of two days. I created the imagery blue, whilst Jake painted the background using the grey tones. Using a cherry picker to paint the top half of the building, we both learnt alot regarding various aspects of public art, safety, consideration to the passing public, and the commissioning process for such large pieces of art. As we are both looking to persue painting large scale murals such as this in the future, this commission was crucial in educating us about the process behind such a task. From completing this commission I am now fully confident to continue working within this sector.
Brainchild was a student run festival I help put on during 2012 and 2013. During the first year I was the co - art director and with help from a friend decorated the stages, bars, food stalls, and created the signs and live art boards. During the second year, I took a step back from the running of the festival and came to solely produce artwork. Made You Look, my art collective, came down for four days and decorated various parts of the festival. Helping put on this festival broadened my knowledge of event management and how to present myself as an artist on this platform. I will continue to persue this form of illustration after uni as festivals are perfect times to network and gain new commissions and contacts.
Karabu Clothing are a bournemouth based clothing / skate company who I have been working for for around a year. I first met them through their screen printing company, print zilly, and soon after I was asked to be one of their 4 permanent clothing artists. So far we have printed two lines, with three - four pieces of mine in each, of which I recieved commission per item sold. Through working with them I have learnt a great deal about screen printing, as their printing company has been running for four years and so they have lots of experience within all sectors of printing. With this knowledge myself and a friend went on to start up our own screen printing business called cabin press; I hope to build it up to be a reliable and efficient screen printing company which will hopefully become a solid source of income when I leave university.
HORIZON FESTIVAL 2013 BANSKO, BULGARIA During september 2013 a friend of mine purchased a screen printing carosel and together we set up a screen printing company together called Cabin Press. One of our first commissions was a snowboarding festival in Bulgaria called Horizon Festival. Over the course of one week, we printed around 220 t shirts, ranging from S to XXL, in white, black and grey. A group of us then went out to bankso, bulgaria, for the festival and by the last night we had sold out ! The trip was a massive success and some great contacts were made during the trip and we managed to bring back enough profit to refurbish our DIY screen printing room. During the process of printing and selling the t shirts, a great deal was learnt about both the printing and commissioning process when it comes to both clothing and working for festivals abroad. This knowledge will be crucial when we leave university and set up the business in brighton, and start to persue it as a means of earning a living.
OUR STALL SETUP AT THE MAIN STAGE ON THE LAST DAY OF THE FESTIVAL
During my second year of university I secured a job at Urban Outfitters in Bristol during a major refit of the store. I was asked to come down and work for 3 days with the rest of the team to help decorate the store. During my time in the store, I decorated three glass panels at the top of the staircase, and several leading down the stairs and created some hand drawn typography in the menswear section of the store. My experience in working for professional clients at this point was minimal, and so being part of the team was a really educational experience. I got to meet some great people and made some contacts that when I leave university I will be persuing for work.
PORTFOLIO As I had not updated my portfolio since my interview for AUCB, when my portfolio interview came around I decided to take a new approach and start from scratch. As much of my work has been produced on a scale too large to bring into interviews, and much of the documentation has been done through photographs, I created a small square format book to present myself to Gina. Using work I completed from the start of 2013, I have laid out the book in chronological order, starting from my secret walls battles, and ending on my recent commissions with converse and urban outfitters. In doing this it allows me to talk about my work and how it has developed over the course of a year, displaying a variety of styles and mediums I can / have worked with. I wanted my portfolio to look professional and easy to handle, and I feel that this format has succeded in doing this. From this mock interview I can now confidently carry myself in an interview and have a better knowledge of the interview process. Once I finish my degree, I can use this to present myself to people in industry, and as it is very easy to handle I can have it with me at all times ready to show someone at the drop of a hat.
ONLINE PRESENCE WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media sites such as facebook and instagram are an artists secret weapon in promoting their work and getting their name out there. Having an online presence is crucial in the success of an artist in todays online society. Maintaining sites where audiences can view and purchase work is critical, and building up an audience of followers is a important part of this as an artist then has the power to put themselves and their artwork in front of others. My website, facebook and instagram accounts are always up to date and are constantly re designed to keep them looking fresh and current. By keeping these sites updated I can hopefully acquire commissions and build an audience for my work.
â€œOne of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you dont feel like doing it.â€?
BUSINESS CARDS From working at graffiti / street art events, to visiting galleries & exhibitions, I feel that it is essential as an artist to try and make people remember you, and one way of doing this is to always have business cards at the ready. Using two images that I feel visually sum up my illustrative identity, I carry these with me wherever I go, festivals, abroad, even on nights out, because you never know who you might end up speaking too. Networking in illustration is one of the most important factors in making a name for yourself and promoting your work, and so I will never be caught without a set of these in my back pocket.
PROMOTIONAL MERCHANDISE Another area that i feel is important as an illustrator is creating promotional merchandise that can be sold or given away as means of self promotion. Creating bespoke items or customising objects such as skateboards or guitars is something I thouroughly enjoy, as I feel that people are drawn to artwork that has been applied to something other than paper. Prints and small canvasâ€™ are also great ways to earn money and help promote yourself as an artist, and can also be posted to clients or galleries as a means of self promotion. After university this will be a great way to get people to notice my work and help me aquire work in proffessional context.
THE ROAD AHEAD During my time spent at university, I have developed hugely both as a person and as an artist. As I am coming to the end of my degree, its time to put the things I have learnt into practice as I start my carrear as a proffessional illustrator / creative. There are a variety of areas of illustration I am looking to persue, and I now must use my time well too continue to produce new work and also network and get my name out there. My art collective, MADE YOU LOOK, will be up and down the country at various street art events, such as City of Colours, which is a graffiti / street art event held in birmingham. Working at these types of events is crucial in this line of work, as it offers a perfect platform to network and meet people who are already working in these areas of illustration. I will continue to persue my work with clothing companies, as this offers a consistant way to earn money, and helps me get my work seen by a variety of audiences. My screen printing business is currently being re vamped with new equipment, and once our degrees are over we will be moving the company to brighton, as we feel that there is much more opportunity and work there. This is another way I will be earning a living after university, and also allows me to continue printing both clothing and paper based prints, which I can sell both privatley and through galleries / events. I will continue to paint murals / character art as a means of self promotion, and I have secured walls around london that I will be painting during the summer. I have also recieved interest by the design agency The Outside Collective, who commissioned me on the converse piece, and have worked with brands such as nike, adidas, lacoste and desperados. I have a meeting setup regarding a part time illustration job in their offices in shoreditch, east london. By applying myself to a varitey of different sectors of illustration and design I hope to continue broadening my portfolio and work myself into the area of high end design that artists such as Parra, Kaws and Mike Giant have achieved.
â€œBuild your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.â€?
LINKS FACEBOOK - https://www.facebook.com/MrChrista MR CHRISTA - www.MrChrista.co.uk CABIN PRESS - https://www.facebook.com/cabinpressuk INSTAGRAM - @MR_CHRISTA_93 EMAIL - christopher.gharibi@Hotmail.co.uk
Published on May 12, 2014