Rob Snow Interview

First time i saw Rob Snow was five years ago in design forum, and when i think to start interview, i want to start with him. So, here is his interview and asome great pictures:

About you
Location:  Thessaloniki, Greece
Primary media:  Graphite/Digital
Education:  Masters Degree in Media Production, BA in Media Design (Animation)
Major projects:

Nissos Beer Labels, Ritzenhoff Design, New Scientist Magazine, The Untapped Source
Animal Behaviour Series (personal project)

– What is art?
Wow! That’s a pretty open question, and for someone who studies semantics I can answer it a little deeper maybe. Art was the very first form of communication. Cave paintings scribed on the wall were used to communicate many different forms of needs. Ritual, directional, and so forth. These eventually turned to ideograms and later alphabet, but we were accustom to images first. This has always remained in our genes. You see it with young children (before they go to school). Able to draw, without guidance. So, art is a form of communication, that holds many a strong semantic value. It is about passion and also personal resonance of an idea, form or message.
Modern art has however transposed this into a weaker form of it’s original meaning and strength, but nevertheless it is still a strong communication form, and the oldest.

– Whats your influences?
I have influences for my themes, but as far as people who influence my work, I try to avoid emulating people I admire. There is no real point to try and reach a peak that you love in someone else’s work. You need to find your own path and become as good as you can at it. As far as themes go. I adore animals, so I like the idea of incorporating these into my art as much as possible. If not only for enjoyment but to bring that message in that I mentioned. I also, not a big fan of the political system, so if possible I like taking digs at that, and my new series does; Suited.

– Any project you wish to have been involved?
Wow! There are a great deal of projects I admire. If again I feel that I missed out on something, it would demoralise me, so I don’t regret many things. I am happy in my own creative path. The only thing I do look back on is that I was at Newcastle Polytechnic until 1989, and was in the exact same building as Jonathan Ives! Now that would have been a good plan to stay friends with him.

– What is the most important lesson in your education and why, (for example: the third law of newton, because …).
Well, I guess, and a lot of scientific research goes into this now, I think being an artist, the most important lesson or rule is the chaos theory. Chaos has an unpredictable order that will make the path of your creativity move in such a way that can be fulfilling, passionate and spontaneous.

– What skills do you wish you had been taught earlier in your career?
Again, this is throwing back to regrets again, but I guess computer graphics and 3d modelling, but I am an old dog, so computers were not around at the age I needed them to be good at that. Thank god for pencil!

– What is the most valuable piece of artistic advice you have ever received?
My brain is a little thin with remembering things, but advise is two sided. You tend to take good advise negatively, and bad advise to heart. I guess that the advise that positive for me in my learning days was the hard path of taking criticism. Many young people don’t understand this anymore. You say something as an experienced professional, to help them, and they ignore you. Thinking they are better. Or they get sensitive. The best plan is develop what I call a ‘rhino’ skin mentality and actually listen to what experts are telling you. That is why they are experts, because they learnt something along the way.

– what is the skills that you believe is most important for illustrator?

– What personal weakness has caused you the greatest difficulty in education or at work?
I remember once that I was told always take your weaknesses and make them into positives. I can be stubborn, so I try to convert that into persistence. Working on something until I get it right! That is a key factor in my work. Much of which has been very detailed over the years. So getting it right has been a challenge.

– Why its important to you, to be an illustrator?
Well, what else would I do? Seriously, I am driven by the desire to create. It’s hard to explain, but I spend hours looking for ideas, developing them, sketching, finding techniques, etc. My entire life is centred around being creative. I would be lost without it.

– Tell us your best story from the field.
Hum! If it’s about actually projects and anecdotes then there are not many, but a story that can give some advise to the readers is this one a friend told me. Someone asked for an illustration, they wanted a picture of a dog done by hand. The artists stated it would cost X. The commissioner was a little taken aback by the price, and tried to barter. The artist thought and said to the commissioner, “Tell you what. I will do the artwork for free!” The commissioner looked really happy and excited by this. The artist added, “However, you will need to pay me for my time.” At that point the commissioner realised he was getting a good deal for the price he originally quoted. Lesson: Don’t sell yourself short and basically stick to your guns as far as who you think you are and what you are worth. If you make images for $10 to get $10, people will know you as the artist who does images for $10. Don’t do work unless people pay $1,000 and people will respect you and you will be known to do good work.

– Any words of wisdom that you like to share with us?
If I was wise I wouldn’t be an artist! :-) Anyway, what I can mention to you is that the process to create is a path. You cannot stand at the start of this path, hoping to leap to the end in one step. Learning the path is as much a part of the process as the images that you create. Many ask instantly how can they paint like this, I simply tell them it took twenty years to get to this point. In that process it is important not to give up. More people give up through failure than understanding that the learning is understanding the importance of the failure. It is a lesson that is better learnt that succeeding straight the way.

– Choosing a career in illustration, its not a easy decision. How you decided it, and how did you pursuing it?
I have to disagree. It was a little similar to my rescue dog. She chose me! Illustration chose me. People ask me what I would do if I didn’t do art, I pause as I don’t think I could do anything else. I have been drawing from the age of six, so it has been in my blood a long time. Seeing lines on paper is a good drug for me. It keeps me high.

– Independent illustrator is a challenge. Any advice to those that thinking to producing their own art?
Follow what you like. Many fall into the trap of looking at what is trendy and copying/emulating the style thinking they will become recognised as well. Doesn’t work like that. Firstly, plagiarism is strife in the industry and second, you won’t have the passion for doing art if it’s not from your soul.

– What’s the most challenging about being an illustrator?
May sound a little prevention, but nothing about the actual art is challenging. Sometimes, I get stuck with shapes and perspective, but mainly it all comes together well. I guess if I had to say, then the costs involved and trying to convince people that the hours worked on a piece is what they are really paying for.

– Do you have ‘something’ for those times where you brain run out of ideas and deadlines is ruining ?
I teach Lateral Thinking at college, so I luckily never run out of ideas. I say to my students that ideas are like invisible butterflies floating around the air. You can simply grab them and make the creativity flow from their magic. We all dream. Many times I hear people saying I had a weird dream, but later say they are stuck on ideas to draw. Hell, what are dreams if not ideas!!!

– Can you describe what your biggest challenge in a project?
The client! I feel that the artwork that I do for myself is far better than client work. The modern age has tended to make people all feel they know something about design. NOT everyone does. But nevertheless they put their two pennies worth in and that tends to be enough to ruin the image. The clients that let me get on and trust me, tend to get excellent work. The ones who are over my shoulder all the time, get a result from a job, not a piece of art with passion.

copyright © rob snow | creative 2015
all images protected by Digimarc Guardian for Images

Web site

prints available from:

Rob Snow interview by:
Panagiotis Gournis. Web Site & Eshop Development

2015 Panagiotis Gournis. All Rights Reserved.

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