Michael Arnold is an illustrator, designer and typographer working in the UK. Heavily influenced by Pop-Art and more specifically, seventies product packaging, he creates bright, patterned images bursting with fluid text and great references to popular culture.
His work is refreshingly vibrant, and employs simple contrasting shapes and colour clashes to draw the eye in on some really fresh design. He explains, “Way back when I started illustrating I had the idea that I wanted to use patterns and slowly, these patterns became an integral part of my pieces.”
Vintage design and pattern are just two strands of a vast web of artistic influences. Michael cites a range of artists that have had an impact on his creative style, from Lichtenstein and Julian Opie to Kate Moross and Sticky Monster Lab.
When asked about his break into illustration and design, Michael describes the projects and processes that sparked his creative career in detail, sharing his experiences of illustration as a passion as well as a business venture.
“I left school 3 years ago and decided I didn’t want to go university it just wasn’t really for me. I knew I needed to teach myself the relevant skills so I set up a small print shop from my room where I would design posters and sell them – from this I learnt how to web design, how to prepare for print, how to sell and how to work with clients. The whole project was aptly named The How To Project.
From there I realised I wanted to move into illustration and I found myself working in a completely new style, contacting potential clients and blogs, generally making very little money. I made some money from my print shop and became a financial budget master.
Over time I created a definitive style of work and this eventually lead to me being signed by my agent George Grace at the start of this year, who has taken me under my wing and helpfully filled in some of the missing pieces that I hadn’t learned already.”
Michael has worked with some great publications and organisations such as Spindle Magazine, Creative Boom, People of Print and YCN. I was keen to find out where he looked for help when creating his wonderful illustrations and of course, he dropped in some great music references.
“As far as music goes I’m pretty diverse, right now I’m hopping between Jazz and Reggae, specifically the album Studio One Classics and that keeps me going. Generally music helps more with me getting on with it, rather than providing inspiration.”
Michael has some exciting new projects lined up for this year, selling his prints, developing new design ideas and juggling client work with personal pieces. So what’s next?
“Well, i’m working with a children’s clothing label, and I also have plans to push out some more self initiated animations as I need to sharpen myself up. As for the rest of the year, I’m not sure yet. I have a huge list of ambitious ideas.”
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