Meet: Sam Taylor
Sam Taylor’s work is easily recognizable for its bold lines, vibrant colors, and fun character designs. He incorporates numerous pop culture references, whether in his personal projects or his work for well-known brands like Nike, Google, and Nickelodeon. He’s also done editorial commissions for publications such as Bloomberg Businessweek, The Guardian, and The New Yorker. We met him to find out more about his time at Camberwell College of Arts and how he decided to make his passion a full-time job.
What did you study at UAL and why did you choose that course?
I studied Illustration on the BA course from Camberwell College of Arts in 2008-2011. I had a blast.
Did studying Illustration at UAL change your practice somehow?
Absolutely! I didn’t really know what I was doing when I got to Camberwell. I’ve always drawn and painted, but at Camberwell I developed my own style and confidence to try something new.
When did you first start thinking about being creative?
I’ve never consciously thought about it. I’ve always drawn for fun since I was a little kid, and it has just evolved over the years. I used to sit drawing sharks and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when I was young and I’ve always followed my nose and drawn whatever I was interested in. I think it was in my second year at Camberwell when I realised I could do this full time and make money doing what I enjoy, so I decided to give it a shot.
Your work is easily recognizable with its bold lines, vibrant colors, and fun character designs. Where do you get inspiration from?
It’s cliche to say but… everywhere. Obviously cartoons like The Simpsons, TMNT, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Ren n Stimpy were important to me when I was a kid. Also my general interests like skateboarding or films constantly influence me and my work, along with other people’s art from the present and the past. My work is a refined distillation of things I’m interested in at the time.
Your portfolio of work includes great clients like Nike, Thrasher, The Guardian and Google. Is there anyone you haven’t collaborated with yet that you’d like to work with?
Yeah definitely. That’s one of my favourite things about working as an illustrator: you never know what’s coming around the corner. I’d love to do a Google doodle, branding for a festival, an album cover for an artist that I like. I also want to do more work where travel is involved, like the LA Grammy Museum installation I did in 2018.
Are you / have you ever been represented by an agency?
Yes. I am currently represented in Asia by Cross Studio Asia and this is great for me because I don’t speak the various languages or didn’t have a proper foothold over there until we partnered up. They have got me some nice jobs for a bunch of Asian companies. I’m also open to a British/European/American agent in the future if the right fit comes along.
Any tips for fellow illustrators who want to pursue a creative career?
I think you need to be confident in what you do.
You need to draw or develop your work all the time. You shouldn’t be that concerned with trends or money (but never work for free) - easier said than done but I think you’re better off creating your own little world rather than taking part in others.
Also, I think you need to love it.
Email art directors and show people what you do. It’s crowded out there so make sure you get seen.
Get an accountant.
Put the things on your website that you want to make again, don’t have a crowd scene on there if you hate doing them. I could go on all day haha!
You have your own exhibition at AMP Gallery in October. Congratulations! Can you please provide us with more details about it? What can the audience expect to see there?
Yes, it’s called Drawing From The Heart and it's on 13-15 October. There’s free beer courtesy of Goodness Brewing Co. Anyone can come to the PV on Friday. There will be a limited run of t-shirts to commemorate the event from Print Social. I have accumulated loads of drawings, they’re all with ink and promarker. I always hand draw my work so I wanted to showcase them. I can’t wait to see them all on the walls in the same venue, I’ve never had a fully analog show before so I’m excited. I just want to show off! Hope to see you there!
Follow Sam Taylor on Instagram @sptsam
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