Shruti Barton MA Creative Economy
The Hogg Blogg Part II with Richard Hogg, Graphic Artist, www.ho99.com.
To carve out a niche for yourself working as a creative across a broad spectrum of industries, from advertising, digital media, computer games through to music videos seems to me to be an almost impossible feat. Not so for my next creative candidate and pseudo big brother, Richard Hogg who has, over the course of the last 10 years accomplished exactly that and much much more. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spend this foreword raving about him in a nauseating manner. Richard is far too cool and self-effacing for that. What I can share with you is that, in my opinion, Richard has exactly managed to balance working as an artist in the commercial world with simply being an artist with a conceptual edge. Whenever I meet him I am inspired to draw, paint, buy Illustrator, update my Photoshop skills and generally create something one could potentially find pleasing to the eye for a matter of seconds at least. I figured that if that’s how he inspires me; his story, advice and work is almost definitely going to inspire you.
What exactly is it that you do?
I am a graphic artist. I do illustration work.
I make videogames.
For more information check out the following Hohokum interview featuring Richard Hogg: http://www.gameinformer.com/b/features/archive/2013/05/01/the-vibrant-world-of-hohokum.aspx and Frobisher says. This was directed and made by Richard.
I also sometimes paint murals.
I’ve done loads of advertising work which I get through my agent http://www.siobhansquire.com/richard-hogg/portfolio/.
Here’s an ad for Gumtree:
And this is a print ad for the Design Museum:
How long have you been doing it for?
About ten years.
What did you study?
I studied BA Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and my MA from the Royal College Art specialising in Printmaking.
What were your favourite subjects and why?
Weirdly, geography was at school. I used to love the field trips and, I dunno, I guess I like mountains and stuff.
Who gave you your first big break?
Airside, who are a design company. They gave me a job which rescued me from the doldrums. Prior to that I was an unemployed failed Fine Artist. I was doing a bit of teaching work but I didn’t enjoy it. Airside gave me a chance and straight away I loved it there and I knew that the kind of thing they do (trendy illustration and animation) was something that I could be good at. Weirdly I was having a drink with Alex and Nat, who were my bosses at Airside last night and talking about how grateful I am that they gave me my break. We all got a bit emotional!
What are your most successful pieces of work to date and why are they are so successful?
Erm. I guess the most famous things I have done were the Mika album cover and the Labour Party Manifesto at the last election. I guess they were just high profile clients.
The thing I am most proud of is the shouty track video I did for Lemon Jelly. It still gets a laugh when I show it to people so I guess it is pretty successful.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
Who do you think is the most influential person in your industry?
That’s really hard to say. In design there isn’t really anyone who you could say that guy is THE MAN. Or if there is, I don’t know who it is. I guess I don’t really see things like that.
What do you see as one of the challenges facing your industry at the moment?
Well, there’s a law that’s making its way through at the moment. Some people are calling the Instagram Act. I think the formal name is the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2013/24/contents/enacted) is basically a lot of different laws which are forming one big mega law involving, for example, farmer’s wages and god knows what else. They are basically changing the way copyright is handled and a lot of copywriters and illustrators are really worried as it might give the power to newspaper groups and give the makers of the work less control over copyright and the ability to enforce our own copyright. It could make things better too but there are lots of warning signs to say that it’s more likely to make things harder for us. There are things called ‘orphaned works’ which mean images that no one can trace this law will allow people to take orphaned works and make money out of them. It will then be down to the creator to have to prove it was they who made it without the law on their side.
What is your opinion of the internet, social media and its impact on your industry?
I am generally positive, I would have to live in London if we didn’t have the internet so know I can live where I want to in the world. I can also promote myself in a lot of different ways. I know people who aren’t on the internet too. You shouldn’t feel obliged to be on Facebook or Twitter but you should do if you enjoy it and you’d be crazy not to embrace it. On that note, I think a lot of people think it’s not necessary to have an agent because you have a website but you can’t beat face time. Siobhan my agent is out there every day with her portfolio meeting people, building relationships with agencies. You can’t get that from the internet or social media.
What are your words of advice to prospective graphic artists looking to pursue a career as a commercial artist?
It’s difficult for young people as it’s a chicken and egg situation. You need to build up a body of work. No one can get an agent straight after Uni, When I worked I was already big enough to be interesting to an agent but that’s an unusual case. You don’t need an agent for a lot of editorial stuff. You may be looking at a lower level, like free stuff, or work for a local publication. I think once you’ve built up a body of work doing that kind of thing then you can approach agents about doing bigger editorial work and advertising work.
Another thing is that a lot of people treat agents like their bosses, which I think is a bit weird. For me it was important to look for the right agent in terms of whether the relationship would be good and whether it was right for me. A lot of illustrators are grateful and wait for the agent to come along and snap them up. Sometimes you are better off being with a smaller agent who’s not as well-known rather than a bigger agent who represents thousands of artists.
Thanks to my chat with Richard yesterday and our recent meeting at his Mexican themed birthday party by the sea, I’ve since had another eureka moment a bit like the one in my last blog, you know, where I said ideas do count for something? I have always wondered why I’ve been a hoarder of newspapers, magzines and catalogue cutouts ever since I can remember. At this said Mexican birthday fiesta I had the opportunity to meet Richard’s friends http://www.jackieparsons.com/ and http://cutitout.co.uk/. Realising that I may just give collage making a go is itself the realisation of an idea which has clearly been looming in the back of my mind for some time. So Richard, forget drawing, painting, Illustration and Photoshop for now, this time you have inspired me to get my 10a scissors at the ready…..
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