In my office hangs a stunning print of W.B. Yeats, it is one of my favourite prints and always reminds me of home. The artist – Gary Reddin. He is a Sligo based illustrator and has been in the industry for over ten years. During that time he has worked with private clients as well as creating stunning prints for us to hang in our homes.
What always draws me into his work is the detail and also his use of colour. The prints like ‘The Beauty of Thoughts’, ‘Burning Thoughts’ and ‘The Butterfly and the Cat’ beautifully merge the detail with eye-catching colours and really highlight his artistic eye. I am delighted to be featuring him today on Floralesque and learning more about his business and plans for the future.
Have you always been interested in art and design?
Yes, definitely! I did actually study architecture in college and worked in it then for 3 years. But the reality of working in architecture versus what we did in college was very different. In reality, I was photocopying and doing dull office work. I didn’t get to be creative and to design building each day which is what I thought I would be doing.
So you have no formal training in art/design?
No, it is all natural, I didn’t train formally. I think that if you like what you do then you can work from it. In art, there is a much faster turnaround time compared to architecture. It could easily be two years before a building is built but in art, a project could be completed in a week.
You have worked on some amazing projects to date? Has there been any pinch me moments or projects that stand out?
We have quite an offering in what we do and have worked on a large number of projects over the years. We focus on graphic design and illustration and it is only now that I am looking back on what we have done in the past few years that we have seen how large the body of work that we have done is. We always look forward and not back so it is surprising to see the volume of projects.
You have so many different characters and styles within your illustrations. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Mainly from our surroundings – both urban and rural landscapes. Also from the people that surround us.
I think that many of our pieces are an exaggeration of a person that we know – an exaggeration of their character. The illustrations sometimes merge into a semi0dream state or the world which I like as how other people see you is perhaps not how you see yourself.
Your website and social media channels are very well done and you keep on top of them. How important is it for artists/illustrators to be visible online in this digital age?
Vital. It is one of the most important things. It can actually also take up a large bulk of time as well. You may like to create all of the time but could spend 2 out of 5 days curating your online presence and it has to remain important. If you create the most amazing work but no one knows that you exist then it doesn’t matter as it won’t sell. So it is crucial to be visible online.
Would you have any tips for those who want to create a strong online presence?
Limit your expectation in the beginning. Know that in the first month you may not get a high number of followers but that you need to keep working on it. Remember also to keep your focus on the product or drawing that you are creating – it is so important to make it as good as it can be. And also to keep working on improving yourself as well. If you create good illustrations, drawings or whatever it may be then people will naturally hook on.
People fall down where they stop focusing on the art and get obsessed by the numbers. It can be easy to get addicted so you need to remember to focus on your work.
Starting a business I am sure is quite challenging. Did you find that you took to it naturally or was it quite difficult after leaving architecture?
I took to it naturally. It is so varied with so many different facets – one minute you can be discussing VAT with your account, the next doing an interview (like this!), the next discussing changes with a client, then trying to manage your subcontractors and then managing your social media. The different facets mean that it was a huge learning curve and was challenging but it’s been great. You need to know that it will take a time to learn it and not to give up!
Is there anything that you wish someone had told you before your started?
Not really, I think it is good not to be told at the beginning! It is only finding things out on your own that you really stretch yourself. But you probably will be broke most of the time at the beginning but don’t give up. You may have to move back with your parents – these things do happen, but keep going.
So what does the future hold for Reddin Designs?
We want to focus on being a bespoke illustrative service. We want to be one of the Top 10 illustrators in the world.
The dream would be to land the cover of the New Yorker. It is probably one of the biggest accolades as an illustrator that you can get. It is a goal – it could take 5,10,15 years but it would be quite the achievement!
A massive thank you to Gary for the interview, I loved learning more about his business and his path from architecture to artist. What I enjoy about his work is the variety. If you are looking for a print for your home then the choice in his online store will have something suitable for so many homes and styles of decor. Gary’s website is certainly worth checking out, and he is also on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook! Personally, I am a big fan of his Instagram as I love seeing what new pieces that he is working on.
All images kindly proivded by use by Gary.