Cat On The Wall’s Jo Whitby caught up with artist and illustrator Joe Rogers a.k.a Colourbox for a quick chat about his fab creative creations and what future projects are on the horizon…
Cat On The Wall: Your website is quite something! How did you come up with the concept? Did you create it yourself?
Joe Rogers: Thanks but I can’t really take full responsibility for the design of the site, although all the artwork on there is by my hand. A few years ago I decided I needed a portfolio site, I went to a local design company in Brum called ‘Tak’ (sadly now closed), they were a lovely bunch of creative people. I laid down some parameters for them but wanted to give them the freedom to create something different but usable. They came back with a few designs and together we thrashed out the solution you see now. I think it is due for a few tweaks and I have recently split my work into two sites, one for the more experimental stuff which is newly housed at http://cargocollective.com/colourbox and one for my more client based work which continues to be housed at colourboxonline.com. Hopefully soon I can fully integrate the two!
COTW: When did you first discover that you wanted to become an illustrator? Have you always been interested in illustration or is it something that developed over time?
JR: I don’t know really. I suppose I was always doodling around when I was a kid but I don’t think it was any more than any other child would do. I think it was only really when I was at high school that I found I wasn’t totally terrible at what I was creating, I don’t think I was any great shakes either, but I think I got encouragement and I found it more enjoyable than the other lessons! When it came to choosing what to do after school it was the only way I wanted to go really. I guess I have worked quite hard to develop myself, I have never really thought I have had much talent, just a bit of determination to improve. When I look back I guess I have improved over time but it is an on-going thing, I’m still nowhere the artist I want to be but may be all artists think like that.
COTW: Do you have a preferred medium? Is there a medium that you’d still like to try?
JR: I don’t really have a preferred medium, I like to let the idea lead the way and the process seems to come after. I do try an avoid certain materials that I have never really got to grips with, oil paint is an example, hopefully one day I’ll find a way of using oils that doesn’t look totally crap! I like to experiment with the mediums I use, recently I have been making a lot of paper-cuts, I suppose if I look back on the work I have done in the last few years a lot of it has involved collage in some way.
COTW: What inspires you when creating artwork? Do you have a particular subject that you prefer drawing above any others?
JR: What inspires me? What inspires anyone! Things I see, music, anything. Most of the time in truth I don’t really know where the ideas I get come from, they just seem to pop out of my head from nowhere. I’m sure all the things I look listen to and experience get stirred up in that factory upstairs and just get spurted out somehow. It is crazy, I have never really got to grips with where what am creating comes from! I don’t really have any preferred subjects, there are areas I don’t really touch, generally things that are out of my sphere of experience I suppose.
COTW: You’ve worked on quite a few really interesting projects. Do you have a favourite? Are there any upcoming projects that we should know about?
JR: I have worked on a couple of good things in the past, but I would like to do loads more!! I recently had a few of my designs picked up by Poketo (an American based company producing of limited edition art products, accessories, apparel etc) for a back to school range to be sold in Target stores in America nationwide. This was a really cool project and it came totally out of the blue, to see your designs being sold in stores all across America quite cool!
Also a few months back I started up a mixtape sharing project called inventively enough ‘The Mixtape Project’. The group was set up for like-minded mixtape enthusiasts to make and design their own mixtapes and swap them monthly with other members of the group. It’s a bit of fun for people who are interested in the old-skool mixtape making idea, it is fun to do and members have come up with some really cool results, which can be seen here: http://www.flickr.com/groups/themixtapeproject/
COTW: Finally, what are your plans for the near future?
JR: I’m not sure what is on the horizon for me, in the near future I have just gone back to school to do a Masters at Chelsea college, we will just have to see what the future holds!!