Kaiwhakanikoniko – kōrero with… Joseph Carrington
Kātoitoi commissioned a number of Kaiwhakanikoniko (graphic artists) to visually interpret the written essays sitting within the project. We speak to three (of six) contributing illustrators: Bonnie Brown, Isobel Joy Te Aho-White and Joseph Carrington about their vibrant careers so far, where they draw their creative inspiration and some reflections on 2020.
Joe’s graphic aesthetic captures ideas, interactions and movement in geometric form. Through rich palettes and defined lines, his characters and compositional elements command attention. Joe’s work sits across a range of sectors and can be seen in advertising campaigns, international publications, and online editorial content.
Joe, tell us about your creative background.
I formally trained as a graphic designer and have been working professionally in the industry for 13 years. For the last three years, I’ve branched out as an illustrator working mainly in branding, social and editorial.
How has your style developed over time?
My main style has evolved as I’ve worked professionally, requiring the ability to shift between various styles for different projects. This created a desire to create something that I could call mine, something versatile for my illustration goals, and above all else – rewarding creatively.
What’s something that you wish you had known about the illustration world when you first started?
You should be your first client. What I mean is allow yourself the time and exploration to develop a style that ecompasses you. When you do that, others will take notice. Allow enough room for it to be versatile in deliverables. Not all clients are looking for the same thing.
What does your creative process look like?
There’s a lot of pondering in my mind before I throw it down onto many procreate boards. From there, I refine once, seek feedback then address that in vector. There’s almost zero paper used in my process these days, which suits this ageing greeny.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I usually try to draw my way out of it by working on something personal or entirely unrelated. I’ve found toddlers are fun creative breaks, but as harsh as creative directors come.
How do you decide when a piece is complete?
Contrast and balance of colour and tone is important to me, so I could edit forever – unfortunately. But it’s basically once the messaging is clear and I’ve said all I want to say in the piece.
How do you balance self-marketing with your illustration work?
I don’t spend too much time on it. I let Instagram do all the hard work ( if I actually make time to post) with a few ads a month or whenever necessary. In saying that, it is a goal of mine to be more active again on social media.
How did the lockdown affect your creative process?
Lockdown ended up being a great catalyst for my freelance work. After taking redundancy from my long term position in a 9-5, I propelled myself into my own work, promoting myself and turning my evening illustration work into my full-time. Thankfully, 2020 ended up being a freelance revolution and I was well-placed. Nothing beats no commute in Auckland and having my family so close.
Many creative people have reevaluated their priorities over the past year. What has shifted for you?
The uncertainty of the year COVID developed a mindset of taking everything that came my way and pushing out as much as I could. As 2021 goes on, I want to develop methods of taking on more of the work I’m interested in over working to pay the bills.
Ngā mihi |
Thanks to Creative New Zealand
who funded the 2020 Kātoitoi pilot. This interview sits within a series of commissioned essays, interviews, podcasts and artworks to be published over 12 weeks supported by CNZ.