For third year BA Illustration student Mike Roden music has a big role in inspiring his creativity. When he illustrated a short horror story by H.P. Lovecraft he exclusively listened to Prurient and Daniel Menche non-stop. Here, Mike talks to us about his practice, his prints and the preparation for Camberwell’s Undergraduate Summer Show
Tell us about your art/design practice
My practice mostly concerns image making at this time, working with collage and pen, sometimes with digital assemblage. I regularly use wordplay as a starting point. Illustration to me is about hopefully presenting some aspect of a subject to an audience that perhaps they haven’t considered before. The richer that our accumulated visual languages are, the more meaning we can garner from our experience as human beings and the world as a whole.
I seem to gravitate towards ideas involving systems or structures of late, in both physical and metaphysical or psychological terms. My work mostly looks quite stark and minimalist I suppose, but there’s oftentimes a playful side to it too.
What are you currently working on?
Summer exhibitions for my third year work; this work has mostly been about book making, with the intention to print regular publications in the future. I will be exhibiting a few of my books and some prints of extracts from other books. Thematically it all centres around the potential of environments to tell a story. There’s something interesting in the way images placed in sequence can suggest narrative, such as in a book. As observers we naturally look for patterns or meaning in what we see, so it’s fun to play with this dynamic. In seeing a series of images, that have a loose connection with one another, one is forced to look for meaning and construct narrative internally if it isn’t readily accessible. Much of this work has evolved over this last year through collage experiments, using repetition and distortion of forms.
Has studying at Camberwell informed or influenced your art/design practice?
Yes, I think the way they link the subject to the world at large and through culture and history is very interesting, and perhaps vital to being a well rounded artist or designer. The subject is not presented as a closed off entity, but something intertwined with society and people.
Do you have an artist influence?
I think music is a big influence for me; the right sounds are great at setting a mood. Visually I’m a fan of Justin Bartlett, Tom Gauld, Jean Jullien, Tim Lahan, Ryan Peltier, Decadence Comics.
Any future plans?
I’m going to continue working with book making and developing my personal practice. I’m actively looking for collaborations with publishers also.
And finally, do you have any advice to students looking to start the Illustration course?
Don’t treat the course as if you are a consumer. It can be tough when tuition fees are high but you’ll get more out of it if you keep an open mind. It’s a privilege to be in such an environment and not everyone gets to be in your shoes. And listen to what your tutors have to say. You don’t have to agree with anything they think, but they nearly always know more than you do, even if you think they don’t.