It was a pleasure to discover that London based illustrator, Marcus Oakley was not only a visual artist, but a musician, a daydreamer, and a tea-lover. With an impressive resume that includes such companies as Uniqlo, Paul Smith, Levis, and Citroen, Oakley is super grounded and is dedicated to making sure his artwork maintains a unique vision. His newest wallet design plays with geometric shapes in natural settings and creates a colorful world of interesting characters. For those of you who haven’t heard of him, this is your chance to get to know him on a more personal level!
Marcus Oakley Interview from August 2009
Hi Marcus, how are you today?
Yes indeed everything over here seems to be sailing smoothly.
Can you tell us a bit about how you started doing art for a living? What is your work regimen like?
Phew… that’s a long-ish story. Simply I have always just wanted to create and be creative. I like the idea of thinking about something and then trying to visually communicate the idea. I studied graphic design and fine art. After my degree I worked in fashion for a few years. And after a few years of that, I decided I just wanted to be my own boss and spend time on my own personal projects. I don’t really have a regimen. I just work when I feel like it.
Much of your work is heavily influenced by music, why? Have you felt your art change by it in anyway?
I think music simply just puts me in the right kind of mood to work. For a long time I have been fascinated with visualizing music and vice-versa. And in the past I have tried to make musical versions of my work. If you like, you can listen to it here. I don’t know if it has changed me but it has taken me on some interesting visual journeys.
What does your sketch book look like currently?
Inside my sketch book there are currently drawings of castles, weird things, birds, elves, snails, female body builders, abstract things, ancient artifacts and some naked hippie campers.
How do you start making new works? Do you seek inspiration or do you let it come to you?
I generally like to listen to some music, drink some tea, and then do some day dreaming. Some of my best ideas come along when I least expected it.
A lot of your work is simple, but very detailed. Many artists seem to over work their pieces. How do you know when to stop?
Somehow the work talks to me and it’s all about visual harmony. I know when to stop when the harmony is right.
If you could be in any band from the past, who would they be and what would you do?
I listen to mostly smooth music from the 1970′s. Lately I seem to be listening to lots of Steely Dan, so it might’ve been to cool to illustrate their records covers.
Thanks for your time again Marcus!