CF: Tell us a bit about yourself? How did you first become involved with photography and graphic design? What were some of your early inspirations?
I was born in a small city in Ontario, but spent the last ten years in Toronto. I became interested in photography and collage in high school but gave up on it after a year, only returning to it when I started studying design. I got into design through throwing parties and needing flyers and posters and being too much of a control freak to source out the work, and that led me back to everything. Early inspiration was all over the place, but I was mainly influenced by music (which is still evident when I decide to do typographic posters). But the people who really made me think design was a thing I wanted to do were Jacob Whibley, Andrew Wilson, Nicholas Di Genova, Team Macho… basically I was surrounded by a group of artists who were so committed to what they were doing and so good at it that I saw it as something worthwhile of pursuit, and it brought back all of the things I’d stopped doing when I moved away from home.
“Doing collages gives me a sense of completion and peace that I don’t find anywhere else”
CF: In your website you mention that Collages take a large part of your design process and it’s -in our opinion- one of the most fascinating groups of work in your portfolio. How did your inspiration to make collages come about?
Again, in high school, and again, I stopped doing it for a long time. I used to make zines that used (really bad) collages as backdrops to text, and when I started making things again I gravitated back toward that. It helped that my friend Jacob (Whibley, mentioned above) was a graphic designer and collage artist and really encouraged me to do it. Doing it gave (and gives) me a sense of completion and peace that I don’t really find anywhere else, and once I began I couldn’t stop. I don’t know if there was any one thing inspiring me, just a need to do it.
CF: How has your time spent at OCAD University influenced your views in graphic arts?
For the better and for the worse, I think. I was lucky enough to go to school with a group of like-minded people who were and are incredibly generous in every possible way, and because of my time with them I think I’ve developed a more nuanced understanding of art and design. It was also a blue-sky kind of place: at OCAD you were allowed to run off in completely conceptual directions not at all related to design, which influenced what I did so much for the better, but also made it really hard to find work once I’d graduated. I wouldn’t change anything about the experience, though. I think my work would be boring and stale and meaningless had I not had the teachers or friends I did.
“Early inspiration was all over the place, but I was mainly influenced by music”
CF: If you could choose a soundtrack for your work, what would you choose?
It always changes! A lot of the time these days it’s a movie playing in the background. When I’m in the darkroom it’s usually Destroyer, James Blake, or anything else immersive and a bit puzzling. I like music that feels like a puzzle that needs solving, either in production or lyrics. Lately I’ve been listening to the new Daft Punk a lot, especially the song “Touch“, which I think is an incredible piece of music. A weird thing that I do is, I get stuck on a particular song and will listen to it 20-30 times in a sitting. So, yeah. My working soundtrack is extremely variable to the work I’m doing and where I’m doing it.
CF: What is your favorite thing about living in London?
The pace. This is also my least favourite thing about London. I think that because there’s so much going on here, and because the city’s so big, it’s easy to feel meaningless and small, and I think that either causes you to completely stop trying to do things or makes you an insane workaholic. In me it’s done the latter, and while I’m happy about that and really glad that I live here (my practice has advanced exponentially in the last ten months) I also miss the feeling that I can relax and slow down a bit. Of course, this might all be in my head, too.
CF: How does your creative process change when working on commercial projects as opposed on working on more personal or “art” related ones?
It varies from project to project, but when I’m working for someone my creative process tends to become a bit subverted. There’s all sorts of things that need to be taken into account, and when working for myself I can loosen up a bit. They definitely both have their benefits and I do try to inject as much of myself into the former as the latter, but I definitely feel more satisfaction on doing my own work. That said, I love working on album packaging, that’s always a dream job and record labels are usually great about letting me do what I want.