From album covers to chocolate bar wrappers, the design on a bread bag to the smell of ink in a magazine, I’ve always been fascinated by printed images and a need to discover how they were created and who created them.
Growing up in a very provincial part of Liverpool, where a harsh reality’s escape revolved around football or a fight, anything remotely arty or creative was seen as being a bit poncy or pretentious, and standing out for being different was something that would get you in to bother more than anything else. Nevertheless, I was always drawing, painting or imagining another world inside a photograph.
After I left school, I applied at Greenbank Art College where the strength of my portfolio helped me secure a place for my BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design and Photography. Nearing the end of my final year, the college was approached by a couple of blokes from a local creative agency looking for two junior artists to work alongside them. I was one of the lucky ones to be chosen and it was testimony to the amazing skills I acquired from my brilliant lecturers Paul, Dave and Ernest.
Digital Artwork Studios in Wavertree Technology Park was one of the first design agencies to use computers in creating print-ready artwork way back in the late 80s. It was also my introduction to the creative industry, learning pasteboard artwork separation and reprography. I loved the smell of photographic chemicals in the darkroom and learning the old pasteboard techniques of finished artwork separation. I loved seeing my work printed and feeling proud that I’d help create it. I even worked on Mars bar wrappers and realised, I was now producing the things that fascinated me as a kid and getting paid to do it!
I arrived in the industry just before the old pasteboard techniques were being replaced by computers and thrived in an ever-changing environment. I was really excited about the digital technology that would eventually take over and change the industry forever.
Throughout my career, I’ve always carried the same fascination in photography and design and always embraced new technologies along with an appreciation to know what it’s superseded and the amazing people I’ve worked alongside who helped to turn the world I dreamt of as a kid into a reality.