One of my favourite recent discoveries was colourful renaissance man Morgan Hislop - he blends his styles seamlessly and has an acute sense when it comes to design and visuals as well as his work within music
Where are you from and when did you start working in the creative industries?
I'm based in London. Working remotely at offices/studios as well as working at a mini studio at my flat.
I played the drums from 11 and at 16 started a band that saw us tour in the U.K for a few years which was my main interest at that age. I was also studying a mixture of art, design and film at college and I moved on to study Fine Art: New Media (at this time that meant video) at Winchester School Of Art. My studies led me to adopt collage or the use of found imagery and footage as my main medium and style.
Throughout this time the band disrupted things as we were away a lot and we went to record an album in Grenada Spain that sadly never saw the light of day. I had originally taught myself Photoshop to design posters for my band’s gigs and releases, and to be honest this has never really stopped. The band eventually called it a day and I worked on a load of new music projects getting more into electronic music and DJing. This led me into a brief stint, after graduating, into organising clubnights, gigs and art events; again designing posters and now making club visuals to accompany nights I was putting on. It was through one event in particular that I met and joined a new band; Tropics, and we toured both the UK and further afield like the US, Japan, Mexico and around Europe. After a couple of years I called it a day with events organising, it's a fairly defeating job that seems always against you.
I moved to London and starting assisting an illustrator called Ciara Phelan. The job was a great insight into managing your own business or as an individual and I found this very short period really inspiring and gave me a goal that I decided I wanted to reach personally. I moved on to several years working as an in-house freelancer (can I say permalance?) for an online fashion brand. This gave me the vital design skills and discipline that I had missed by doing Fine Art rather than a Graphic Design degree. Throughout this time I was still maniacally juggling more creative design work and a solo electronic music project. About a year ago I went properly freelance and now work remotely. It's been one of the best decisions I've made as it's allowed me enough time to still maintain the personal work and music that I've grown to rely on to keep me sane!
This is a long fragmented answer to such a simple question, but I wanted to share all this to show that it is such a winding trail to get to where you want to go in the creative industry; one that doesn't have to follow the more obvious routes. Without getting too deep, but working towards a steady career in creative industries will always be a struggle and it is only fuelled by reminding yourself that these are skills that you are passionate about doing.
What projects are you currently working on?
I have a number of ongoing clients I work with, LADbible, Topman, a social content agency called OK Cool and just started at Shortlist too. I try and keep a good friendly relationship with clients to ensure that they not only need you again at other times but want you rather than need. I strive to be favoured as an addition to their team.
My most interesting project right now is composing the soundtrack to a ballet that was commissioned at the start of the year. It's been an insane learning curve as it's fairly out of my comfort zone.
I have also been involved in creative directing a new pop act called FAUX from scratch. This was actually working with people I worked with way back through the first band I was in when I was 18 so it has been quite a nice reunion too!
What is the creative scene like where you are?
I know it's the cliche to say ‘I Love London’, but honestly the city oozes imagination at an exhausting level. I could easily find something really up my street to visit or go see every night of the year. I can't fault it and with the right mindset and drive the work comes to you here.
What would you say have been your career highlights so far?
Some of the places I played with Tropics have been just so eye-opening. To go to somewhere like Japan to share or show something you can do is a truly humbling experience.
More recently, I designed the creative for LADbible's first original series Hidden Britain that was really great fun to have been a part of, considering the scope those guys have. The creative was spread across digital, video, billboards, posters and more.
And I had some artwork showcased on The Guardian this year around election time which was pretty mad.
We are all about collaboration - do you think this is an important part of creating and if so then how has it changed the way you work?
Hugely! It is totally integral for every creative to try and collaborate. Not only as a way to reach new audiences but also to get talking with like minded people.
I think it's also really good practise to improve your well-being. I've had moments where I've struggled through ideas thinking I was trash and reconsidering my whole career and all it takes is someone else to say they like something or to suggest to change this or consider that. It's a huge release and gives you that support that I think anyone can relate to.
Relationships with others have been hugely influential in everything I do. I don't belong to an agency, all my opportunities have come through word of mouth, recommendations or people I have met when I have made the effort to show support or show my face. I have survived completely from being someone open to talk to like-minded people and open to working with others.
Who was/is your main influence?
Closer to home, my family are really creative and I'm very lucky to have grown up with parents who have embraced art and culture. It has sculpted me really. My sister is also a far better designer than I will ever be!
Further afield, I don't know anyone who has piqued my interest more than David Lynch. Although it's not in really similar mediums to my own work but no one has created such a unique atmosphere and universe that is so recognisable as his own, and no one can touch it. The fact he flits between film and painting, photography, music, is massively inspirational and I'm just always left in awe with everything that guy does! Twin Peaks in particular is a piece of art and the new series had a very strong emotional hold on me this year.
3 creators we should be checking out?
Pilar Zeta & Jimmy Edgar
Jimmy Edgar is a music producer and runs the dance label Ultramjaic. Pilar Zeta is an incredible US artist. Together they have the slick Windows 95 / Vaporwave style down to a tee but with the sophistication that is lacking in a lot of other artists of this genre. They make artwork for all the label releases and I love the marriage of audio and visual.
I have the pleasure of knowing this guy, so try not to be too much of a fanboy of his work. He brings his really interesting illustrations to life through Cinema 4D (I think!), its bold and fresh and has a playfulness about it that makes me want to see more.
Found this guy on Instagram, he makes very authentic abstract posters in a retro 70’s and 80’s style. He is so consistent and seems to put out new work at a crazy rate!
Further comments …
You can find me at my website: www.morganhislop.com and also posting snaps on Instagram @morgan_hislop
Pictured below - Morgan Hislop