Ricky Also, a Graffiti Artist and Graphic Designer, from Bournemouth, has answered several questions on his business, to give you an insight into how he became an artist and the projects that he been working on, during his whole career.
How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
Well, I guess you could say I became a professional artist from a pretty early stage… although it is a bit of a stretch! : )… I remember drawing pictures of Garfield and other characters for people to colour in at around 9 and by 14 was selling photocopies of graffiti to friends at school for sweet money… does that count as professional?
The principles of what I do haven’t changed too much since then, I make a living drawing and creating ideas for other people and I still love it. The majority of my work is commercial, using my skills in graphic design and graffiti and applying that to a wide range of work for many different brands and projects.
My passion is still fuelled by my personal work as a graffiti artist and I’m constantly trying to evolve my style and develop my skills. This side of what I do is for fun, I do take it seriously, but I try and not put any pressure on what I’m doing in terms of subject and content, it should be just how I feel at that point and part of a more organic journey.
Where does your tag name (Also) came from?
Because I do quite a lot of different creative work and have had a number of different personal styles I just found myself saying ‘also’ a lot when describing what I do… I’m a graffiti artist and also a graphic designer, I do typographic pieces and also character based works, on walls and also glass.. etc I just seemed to fit very well and resonate with what I do.
Inspiration is crucial in all forms of art. What is it that inspires you?
My inspiration has always been very eclectic, but I think the core areas I draw from began with traditional graffiti styles and 80’s skateboard graphics, but then have taken a lot from 60’s graphic design, particularly the Super Graphics movement and also vintage advertising and that style of typography. I guess I’m probably more inspired about the past and history than current trends.
What is the toughest challenge while working on a piece of art?
I’m in a good place at the moment with my personal work, where generally its a simple and painless process, my work is up on the wall within a day and then I walk away from it. I’m really enjoying freestyling my work and being spontaneous with it, which I do the with my typographic pieces, but not so easily with the more figurative work. Then it becomes a harder process, replicating a sketch on a much bigger scale and the process of building the image with spraypaint is more laborious with details and many layers. Theres always a point for me now when I run out of steam and get physically tired, it can be hard then to stay positive about what your doing and put the extra effort in to do the best you can. I’m just getting a bit old.
Tell us a bit about living in Bournemouth. What the creative scene is like in here and what can be done to improve it?
I love Bournemouth, I used to spend every summer here with my Grandparents and moved here with my family nearly 2 years ago from London. There is a very strong creative scene here, but strangely for a small town, the scene is pretty fragmented. There does seem to be an effort to bring people together, but I think people are very settled in their groups and don’t tend to break out of these circles. I do think this is all changing though, the potential for Bournemouth being a creative centre is huge. The ingredients are all there, lets just mix it ups little.
Let’s talk a little bit about your style. How would you describe it?
Its a pretty graphic style, using abstracted typography and mixing in with comic characters, which at the moment are taking on the appearance of american tourists.
You’ve created a lot of stunning pieces over the years. For anyone reading this, where should they go to see some of your work?
Thank you! Well, if your very lazy you can see a lot of my work on my website (www.paintshopstudio.com), or my Instagram @rickyalso) to see what I’m up to day by day. Otherwise there is plenty of work to see in Bournemouth and also in London. Locally I have a big mural in Lansdowne Rd, the underpasses at St. Swithun’s roundabout and also Mexico restaurant near by. Theres a wall I have work on with other artists on Tregonwell Road, and also Studland Road near Alum Chine. You can see the shop front I did for King Bong in the triangle. There’s a large mural in the centre of Bournemouth Uni near Poole House and also a set of garages on Glennmore Road where it runs next to Boundary Road. There should be something near you. I’m always on the lookout for nice walls to paint, so if you have any in mind that are public facing please let me know.
What was the most interesting project you had? Why?
I really enjoyed the St Swithun’s roundabout underpass project. This was a really neglected space but still used by hundreds of people everyday. Its one of the first places your greeted by as you come into Bournemouth by train and in the centre of the growing business district. The artworks and the newly installed cafe have really helped to make a difference to the space, its become a place to stop and relax, to meet people and a destination for people taking their lunch break. I wanted the artworks to not only act as a way of brightening up the area, but to also to have a function. I designed them to incorporate a wayfinding system to help you quickly find your way around the disorienting underpasses and each of the large typographic artworks reads North, South, East and West. It’s been really nice to see my work helping to create a more exciting public environment for the community.
Any exciting project coming up?
I have a really exciting project I’m trying to get off the ground here in Bournemouth, its taken a while but progress is being made and should be a very positive thing for the area. Keep your fingers crossed.
What advice would you give to young artist looking to go into your profession?
Learn from as many sources as you can and keep your influences broad. If you take your camera to the same places as everyone else, you’ll always end up with the same pictures as everyone else. Understand the things you like and make you tick, and find a way to bring them all together to create your style. Embrace ‘you’, don’t try to be someone else. Have fun, keep trying and expect to get some knock backs.