Sunday 1 November 2009

In a new series for B365, we'll be chatting to up and coming artists who are taking design to new heights. First up is Luke Standing, who is perhaps better known as one of the promoters behind Bristol's premier dubstep night SeasonFive, as well as being a incredible producer and DJ. Luke is an emerging talent who has already been responsible for some key work in the Bristol dubstep community, and is quickly developing into one to watch for the future. We caught up with the man himself recently for a chat.

B: Good Evening sir, how are you tonight?

L: Very good thank you, another day done in the office and excited about the weekend!

B: LOL. What's new in the world of Luke Seasonfive at the moment?

L: Well we've just had our Hessle Audio feature at the Tube gone past from Saturday, a nice introduction to the new student clubbing. We had Untold and Pangaea playing for extended sets, it went down very well indeed - lots of people, good vibes, good music! Just finishing the programming for the rest of the year and the start of next year. I'm currently working for a design studio called Halo in Bristol at the mo which is going well, lots of exciting projects which I'm enjoying a lot.

B: Does it leave you much time for personal projects now?

L: Ummm, in some ways yes and no. I'm also working freelance, but I've been quiet picky about what things I will undertake. I still have time to keep on top of things in the design world!

B: Where does your love of design originate from? Is it something that's always intrigued you from growing up, or have you come to it relatively late?

L: I suppose it's been a natural thing in my life from when I was very young. It sounds weird, but I used to love to draw despite my strengths being in other places now. I guess when I first got into stuff like that it was when I won an art competition when I was 7 and won a crayola set lol! I even used to keep a pencil and paper under my bed.

Since then, I undertook on creative subjects like art and graphics (more like packaging design) at secondary school and then photography and art at A-level. That's when I first started to use Photoshop. As well as this, I used to write graffiti pieces in legalised areas in Brighton. The aspect of image manipulation really excited me, and it was very motivating in the progression of learning computer design.

B: So the potential with platforms like Photoshop and Illustrator became a progressive step to where you are now. Without software would you still consider yourself an artist though? I feel there's a lot of people who rely solely on computer design whom lack some of the understanding more traditional artists might bring to a project.

L: I would still consider myself as a designer and artist regardless of what platform or media in which I work. I guess in a way programs like Photoshop, Indesign and Illustrator have allowed me to free my hand of weakness. These tools are often interfaces which I use on a daily basis and are what is often happening right now for me in the majority of projects in which i work with, but it is also a means to an end in a way with design nowadays. It's the most efficient way of producing artwork.

However, I do very much appreciate the different qualities of using tradition ways like type-setting and screen printing. I have used these methods of producing work successfully. Much of my work during my degree was based on screen printing and laser cutting. I believe there is a right method for every project.

Seasonfive Brand Identity, 2009

B: Speaking of which let's chat about some of your own work. Seasonfive has had a very strong visual look from day one, which seems to fit the musical content extremely well. Over the years we've seen a definitive evolution in the pieces you've created for the night. What was your thinking behind the concept for this?

L: I think a strong branding concept behind anything visual is the key to success. I wanted to create a look which people could relate to and would compliment the music of the events. The look and feel of these designs has been a learning progression of myself as a designer as well. I'm always trying to create something better than before. It's like a challenge within myself. It's great to see people recognize and appreciate the artwork for SeasonFive. It's really important to me that SeasonFive has a strong visual aesthetic and continues to do so.

B: You've also been responsible for working with Hyetal both in a musical and visual vein. The branding you created for him feels like an extension of the SeasonFive aesthetic, would you agree?

L: I think Hyetal has his own image as an individual artist, however I can see how people can relate Hyetal and Seasonfive visually. As Seasonfive, we have helped support his own achievements and provided an extra platform for him in the Bristol clubbing scene. I have helped develop designs and ideas in which he had initially, and helped encourage how he presents himself as an artist in someways. We're very proud to see how much he has achieved and he has our full support.

Hyetal Brand Identity, 2009

B: The Hyetal triangular logo has been widely used now in lieu of a press shot. What was your thinking behind that piece as a brand?

L: The abstract triangle shape was actually found by Hyetal. He came to me and asked me to create it. I simply recreated the image digitally and styled it appropriately. I'm glad people like it. I think its very suited to his music and his personality. Good find Hyetal!

B: Geometric shapes, geometric music! Similar in concept to your work on Morality In The 21st Century...

L: Umm...yes! Basically, Morality in the 21st Century was a project which I undertook whilst completing my degree. It's more about statistical information or data being visualized based on opinions of a group of people under subjects which are current world issued.

Morality in the 21st Century, 2009

B: Why did you choose that as a subject to visualise?

L: I think world issues have always interested me. I think I'm very responsive of certain topics in which we live with. Seeing as I had already chosen the subject matter of "conflict" to base my work around, I felt it was the right choice to look wider into world issues. It was very motivating as a project base and I felt it could have a strong relationship in a graphic form.

B: And contrast and conflict are major motivators in your work? Horizons is another piece incorporating contrast...

L: Yes I think conflict generally has a strong image whether it may be working just simply with black and white. For this project, I wrote a piece of music which reflected my current music interests. I tried to express light and dark tones within certain sounds which was really stripped back and represented those two elements alone.

I then graphically visualized the track along a time line using shapes to represent sounds over the space of time. Alongside this piece, I developed the design right through to the end, resulting in a full product which incorporated designs on the sleeves of the record which were cut on vinyl and a supporting poster. The packaging and branding of the product was taken in to consideration with the music, with detailing of laser cutting and screen printing.

Horizons 'A Conflict Of Light & Dark', 2009

B: Was this just created as a mock-up or an actual product?

L: Well this was actually a one off! However the track has now been signed to a label called Project Squared, and should see a release in mid-December if not early next year. There are discussions of replicating a limited amount of copies for sale from the label but this is still in contemplation as the production costs would be very high.

B: Music is an integral part of your creative outlook, both as a designer and a producer. Would you like to design for record labels and so on?

L: Yeah I find music and design both equally inspirational. When I get the chance to combine the two is when i find an equilibrium, Horizons being a perfect example of this. Designing artwork for labels does interest me and I would be happy to undertake the right projects. I even have plans to start my own label in some time in the future.

B: Under the Seasonfive brand?

L: We'll would be interesting to start a new project with a new image also, so we will see!

Accept & Proceed Light Calendar
, 2009

B: LOL fair enough! So let's talk about your influences. Accept and Proceed factor quite highly in your inspiration...

L: Yes definitely, they have been an agency I've had my eye on for a while now. I was really inspired by them typographically alongside another agency called Build. But their information graphics have been an initial drive for me to experiment myself.

B: Do you draw influence from less immediate factors? Your work is very reminiscent of Peter Saville's early work...

L: Yep I love Peter Saville, its weird you have picked up on that! In fact I have the Unknown Pleasures cover poster in my room. The monochrome approach and very airy negative space with simple type is very appealing to me. I wouldn't be surprised if Accept & Proceed have been very inspired themselves, as I can see references and similarities in their work. Its easy to pick up on things that are visual which you are exposed to.

Peter Saville, 1979

B: Something that seems a recurrent theme in your work, and the work of others you find inspiring, is product. Does the potential of the art of the commodity, the consumable, fascinate you?

L: It's always possible to re-contextualize existing imagery for your own means. Part of the progression with art in general today is to re-innovate and pioneer new means to design using existing forms and given them a different purpose and meaning. However I don't feel this is solely my design ethic and I'm still interested in developing original pieces which create their own context.

B: But the lines I feel between artistic disciplines are irrevocably blurred now - it seems all aesthetics are bled into the mainstream of commerce. How do you see yourself as standing out as an artist, how do you find your voice in an increasingly over-populated market?

L: I like that art has got many cross references now. Obviously it is difficult to find an individual voice in such an over-populated sea. I think that the best way is to follow your own vision. This is not to say that I'm not influenced by work that's come before me, but i would say that as an artist I will try to create an individual space by representing myself as a person and reflecting my interests and life experiences within my work.

B: So what does the immediate future hold for you? What have you got lined up over the next few months?

L: Obviously continuing the brand development of Seasonfive. Working at Halo in Bristol is allowing me expand my knowledge and understanding of graphic design, and is really benefiting me with commercial experience. The idea of starting a label is a future possibility too. Spending more time in the studio making music. The main thing though is to focus on developing myself as a graphic designer.

B: A development that is going well already! Well that wraps up things for tonight, anything you'd like to add?

L: Just to say thanks very much for your interest in my work and taking the time to interview me. I really enjoyed answering the questions its nice to talk about the concepts to give people a better idea where it comes from!

B: No worries, thank you for agreeing to do it!

FFI : Luke Standing Online Portfolio


X said...

Big ups Andy and Luke. Real big fan of you're stuff Luke, cool you're working at Halo too as well, bet that is helping to push yourself commericaly more in the profesional side of the industry.