Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Yo, How you doing? It's beautiful morning over here in London. Nice that summer's hitting now. Cool, I was born in Wellington, New Zealand (5019 haha) and I've been living in London for the past 3 years. Freelancing as a graphic designer, trying to skate a bit and make things as well.
Beautiful man, we're doing good here. Can you tell us about what brought you to London?
I'd grown up in Wellington my whole life, so I was feeling a bit restless, looking for something more, I considered Auckland & Melbourne, but felt like taking a bigger plunge. It helped seeing other friends doing really well over here and also both my parents were born in the UK so no visa issues haha.
I bet you've got lots of friends joining you now that we're traveling more. Regarding your practice, how did your style develop? Do you feel that the move to the UK has impacted your work?
Yes, a few friends are coming over shortly and more should (if you're reading this you know who you are haha) Pretty excited to share with them the world I consider home now. Being here you're surrounded by people doing their own thing without looking at what others are doing, so seeing that all in person gives you the confidence to just do your thing too. It feels like a bunch of friends working on fun stuff with their friends, that's the best part.
That sounds like a really fun energy to be around. You mention friends coming over. Do you think amongst designers and creatives, there are style notes that stem from growing up in Aotearoa? A casual-ness maybe. Or is it more a matter or work ethic or an outsider perspective?
Great question, I don't think styles are entirely limited to physical location anymore, with the internet it's possible to surround yourself with culture that's tailored to your own interests. In saying that, you're going to be more influenced by your own personal experiences and what your peers are doing in real life than anything online. Everything in New Zealand is on a smaller scale because the reality is there's less people interested in what you're interested in, but that doesn't stop culture or good things from happening. I feel it's easy to get bogged down on what's happening overseas when you're on this little island on the other side of the world so it's important to get offline and try to do something in your own community, in real life - and lots of people have been doing that, and I'm sure will continue to do so.
Yeah I try to focus on the benefits of our isolation, fewer lines to draw within to combat that feeling. But the challenges of a small and often conservative market are always present. You’ve worked with some big international brands as well as New Zealand–native ones. Could you tell us about one or two of your favourite projects?
Of course, at the end of the day it's best to just focus on the community around you and be inspired by that, the process will always feel more real and so will the outcome. Yeah I've been lucky enough to work on a wide range of things over here. As for favourites.. My recent zine comes to mind (SHOCK), which stemmed from all the collages I've been making more recently, cutting up books found at car boot sales, printing graphics over images, then collaging these pages together, then the process again and again. The physical process of pairing of imagery to create something new is what I found really stimulating. But really my favourite projects are always the ones where I'm working with friends on something I haven't done before - Grange Farm Estate, Henry Gorse's Kalendar, Jackson Bowley's Circus Magazine, Eamoon Freel on the Balenciaga Campaign and with Jack Charlie Mitchell on Waste!
My favourite projects never really start off with a formal conversation, more talking about possibilities then before you know it you're doing it because it feels right. That's where the best stuff comes from.
I feel there's an organic nature to your work and style, maybe that starts with the discussion process. Did Waste, the store you started with Jack Charlie Mitchell, come about in a similar way? Can you tell us a bit about it?
Yes definitely, myself and Jack first met online over 8 years ago, we started trading zines and other graphic stuff we made, at the time I was living in Wellington and he was in Bournemouth (England). It wasn't until we were both living in London that we got a chance to properly meet. I was going around to Jack's studio just off Brick Lane a bit after covid to screen print t-shirts, we were talking about how there wasn't many shops in London that you'd want to go to and hangout and learn about something you didn't already know about. Also how it would be fun to set up a diy market as a lot of friends were making cool stuff themselves but wasn't anywhere to see and buy them in real life. Jack found the tiniest shop front shortly after and just set a picture of space with 'Shop?', then we pretty much spent every day there for 3 months fitting it out ourselves and buying upfront the things we liked from friends and abroad to fill it up. There wasn't then and still isn't much of a master plan, but each day it's nice to just hang out, meet new people and learn about something new, hopefully everyone coming to say hi feels the same way.
That's such a cool origin story. I'm curious given you're a guy with many plates spinning, what does an average day look like for you?
At the moment it feels like the days figure out themselves, nothing too planned out. Which is fun as you never truly know what's going to happen tomorrow. A mellow day would be having the morning free to work from my flat on whatever freelance projects are going on, my own stuff or any waste bits. I bike down to the shop in the afternoon and chill there sometimes trying to work on stuff or just hanging out with whoevers about until closing up. It's nice to have the freedom of being freelance to just go for a skate, to a museum, run some errands, catch up with a friend etc etc.
Sounds like your lifestyle and workflow have a nice ebbing and flowing nature. Finally, do you have anything coming up that you can tell us about?
Trying to haha. I should be jumping into designing Jackon Bowley's CIRCUS Magazine 02 in a few days, which will be fun because we just sit down in my room and throw around ideas quickly. More events with Waste! Tim from Knowledge Editions is having a book release with us very soon. Going on holiday to Croatia in a few weeks, it should be really nice to relax for a bit. A friend mentioned the other day that you can't have any output without input so have been believing in that a lot recently. After the holiday excited to make more fun stuff with more amazing people, so we'll see where that all takes me, hopefully things I haven't done before.
Awesome man, thanks for your time, looking forward to seeing those projects come to fruition! Enjoy the rest of Summer.
Nice one, it's been fun chatting - and to you! When it comes back around I'll be back in NZ, so I’ll swing by the Checks HQ.**