Lemonade Magazine: For those who aren’t aware of you or your art could you give us a brief introduction to who you are and what you do?
Mark Graham: Sure my names Mark Graham I am creative director at ilovedust a small design boutique style design studio out of the UK.
LM: Can you tell us a little about your artistic background?
MG: After graduating from Portsmouth University in 2001 I worked a number of odd jobs ranging from builder to kitchenware salesman and as a designer of everything from websites for glove companies to housing brochures.
LM: Who or what inspired you to start creating art?
MG: I guess it started back at school drawing on skateboards and making tees and stuff. My mum was pretty artistic, always making stuff, and my dad worked as an interior designer so I was always dipping my toe into the design based pool if you like.
LM: How would you describe your art?
MG: Well at ilovedust we do quite a variety of styles and directions but I always like to think we have strong narratives and a nice attention to detail. We love cool shit; we love cool shit with a story even more.
LM: How do you start off a new project? Do you always start from the same point or do you try to work more organically?
MG: Hmmmmm how do we start!? Well it depends on so many things really and that’s exciting in its own right. Maybe we have to use certain pictures of an athlete like Kobe Bryant or Ronaldo or we might need to use certain colours or finishes etc. so I’d say we start with what we know then flip it on its arse as much as we can.
LM: Tell us about your favourite piece of work that you have created to date and why it is so special to you?
MG: There has been a few of late, certainly jobs we have done in the last few years that are special would be the one off box for Benji Wlison and Nike, Benji was a hugely talented basketball player cut down in his prime by gang violence in Chicago. We produced a one off booklet and packaging for his family with Nike to pay homage to him 10 years after he sadly past. That to me is a very special project.
LM: What’s the craziest idea you’ve either been proposed or come up with?
MG: Ha ha! Fuck there are loads! Hmmmm I like the ones where people have absolutely no idea what they are asking for in reality, they just talk up a storm of nothing. We have been asked to paint a Lamborghini as well, that was pretty nuts!
LM: Who are your favourite artists, past or present?
MG: So,so,so many but the ones who stick in my mind right now would be: McBess, House Industries, Charles and Ray Eames, Jim Phillips, Saimon Chow and Alex Giard.
LM: What is your favourite piece of work created by another artist and why?
MG: Hmmmm, god that’s so incredibly hard to say to be honest. I recently bought a Faile print and I have to say it’s the first real piece of Art that I have bought and so I’d have to say that. My Faile flag print yup.
LM: Do you have a particular material, brand or technique that you swear by?
MG: Redwing shoes, Cholula hot sauce, Barbour jackets, Ben & Jerry’s, Sapporo Cans, Sharpies, Nike Mercurials, Stumptown coffee and M65 jackets.
LM: What do you think is in store during the next twelve months for design? How has the recent recession affected you?
MG: It’s much tougher there’s no question of that but I’m hopeful that it will actually mean that it’s going to have a positive long term effect with everyone trying to look at quality and quantity much more. I think the recession will test a lot of people’s metal and put them to the test.
LM: What’s the single most important thing you want to tell young designers just starting out?
MG: Really I would say work hard, put yourself in harms way almost. Be there when needed and be there when not needed. You have to have more than just talent; you need a work ethic and the will to succeed in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you don’t triumph on your first try, just brush yourself off and go again.. And again … And again.
LM: If you had to up sticks and leave the country where would you choose and why
MG: Portland, Oregon, USA. I go there so much it’s like a second home and it’s just so laid back and creative. It just feels like a place to be for a while. Sick it up and spit it out.
LM: Who controls the stereo and what’s usually playing in the studio?
MG: Oh god that’s the hardest, HARDEST THING!! We try to take turns, although I try to be the first in to take control for the day! We have so much?!! From Marvin Gaye to Jay Electronica, Beastie Boys to the Bangles, Frank Ocean to The Smiths, Kanye West to … Well, Kanye West.
LM: What can we expect from you in the future and is there anywhere you would like your work to take you?
MG: I think we’re going to be doing a lot more hands on projects with live installations and a bit more motion work too; certainly we are pushing onward and upward.