Updated: Oct 14, 2020
This week we will be looking at various projects that artists and illustrator Georgie Cox has completed, and what he might be doing next.
Georgie is an illustrator who uses a variety of processes, namely a ballpoint pen to create a range of work, from political messages, to highly detailed botanical studies. If you want to find out more about Georgie's artwork you can read our Q&A below. You can find more amazing images of Georgie's artwork @georgecoxartwork.
Can you briefly describe your art practice?
I would say that my practice consists of quite detailed illustrative work that often focuses on the overlooked or bizarre elements of daily life.
Is there a piece of art that you are most proud of creating? Why?
Currently my favourite piece is an illustration drawn in response to the prejudice and police brutality in the USA. I feel that it encapsulates the importance of respecting people regardless of skin colour as we are all entitled to the same rights within the country that we call home. I got a lot of positive feedback for this piece which made me feel that my artwork was a part of an important and essential change.
What do you enjoy about working with a ballpoint pen, how do you use this tool?
I feel that ballpoint is the most gentle form of shading that can give a bold spectrum from intensely dark to very faint and gives this vibe of taking a doodle too far. The best way to start doing it is to just crosshatch like crazy and then overlap the lines more and more leading into the darker areas. I think it’s just one of those tools that requires a lot of practice but is well worth it.
Georgie Cox, American, ballpoint pen and pencil crayon, 2020
You have used a lot of different processes with your illustrations like screen printing and lino printing. How do you approach a new process, and do you have a favourite?
Purely for economic reasons, ballpoint will always be a reliable medium for me as screen printing equipment can be pricey. I think that when approaching a new process it’s important to understand what you are particularly good and successful at and how to equip it usefully to a new technique, for example when I prepare a design for screen printing, I would draw the image out as I usually would and then take it into Photoshop and halftone the shaded areas so that my style of shading would be translated better into my screen prints.
Is there an element of art you like or dislike working with most? Why?
Personally I tend to dislike more sequential illustration but I think that’s because I dislike drawing the same subject repeatedly. I’m always amazed by illustrators that make incredible comics because I feel that they have massive integrity and commitment to their practice and ideas!
What projects have you recently completed?
I’m going through a bit of a phase of making lots botanical illustrations. I believe this is a response to being in lock-down and being surrounded by nature. It’s a little ironic as I always wanted to focus on drawing more plants so I guess this was the perfect opportunity!
Georgie Cox, Tiger Lilies, ballpoint pen, 2020
Why do you make this type of art?
Without being committed to producing artwork for any coursework, I feel that now in lock-down, creative people have the time to respond to the current world events without distractions from other work. Whether it be in response to the current social climate, environmental issues or the methods in which we respond to those in positions of powers and authority, I think it’s really important for artists to document the moment of history within which we are in.
How do you make it?
Now that I have the time after finishing university to sit down and choose what I focus on, I have started to draw outside more. It’s started to become more meditative in response to the current social unrest. I feel that we are currently overwhelmed with the injustice in the media and luckily I have my practice to fall back onto to calm myself. I would say that for myself my artwork has changed in how it serves myself as well as delivers messages to other people. Working in ballpoint pen is quite therapeutic because you spend a lot of time with a particular image. Lately I’ve been trying to combine other media with my pen work such as coloured pencils and digitally colouring my tonal work.
What kind of artists influence you the most?
I have a stack of artists that have influenced me over the years I have developed my style. An illustrator that has inspired me since secondary school is Andrea Joseph. Her earlier work incorporated a lot of ballpoint pen but she now is venturing into other media such as watercolour and other types of pens. Her journey in blending her style into different media has impressed me especially how she can stay consistent aesthetically whilst varying media. Another illustrator that I’m loving right now is Katie Scott, her work draws a lot from traditional natural history illustrations and I really admire how she marries hand drawn methods with digital practices to highlight the benefits of using both.
Georgie Cox, Pluto, mixed media, 2020
How do you engage with online platforms with your artwork? Do you find these types of online communities important for an emerging artist?
My favourite platform to use is Instagram, I just find it very easy to use and it presents my work quite nicely alongside each other. I also have a website which gains a little bit of traffic but Instagram is definitely more useful for communicating with my audience because likes and comments can help to gauge what particular pieces are more successful than others. I’m trying to branch out into other platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but I’m finding these a little more challenging as an artist because they weren’t designed to be used purely for images like Instagram.
What one thing would you like to change about the art industry today?
I would like there to be more outlets for emerging artists to get their work displayed to the general public as it’s quite difficult to get work without an extensive portfolio of professional artwork in the first place.
As we all know, COVID-19 has had a very disrupted impact specifically on the creative industries. Can you describe your experiences trying to create art during lock-down?
Where do I start! Like a lot of students, I had to complete the final modules of my degree in lock-down which was horrid because I didn’t have access to all of the facilities at the university studio. I was intending to do more screen printing and incorporate a lot of other techniques that required specialist equipment. However I believe that this experience was way more educational because I had to really adapt in such a small space of time. Luckily I always had my ballpoint pen drawing and painting to fall back on, but I feel that it was a real lesson in how practicing artists have to be flexible. I’m still really happy with the work that I produced for my deadlines and I was stunned by the artwork made by my course mates as well. I feel that the online creative community became a lot stronger and supportive during this period as well, so I guess while it was disruptive it resulted in a lot of important camaraderie amongst artists which I’m sure will continue as we ease out of lock-down.
For your lino print series, you have stated you take inspiration from traditional eastern art and mid-century western cartoon. Can you tell us more about how you gather inspiration and how this impacts your final design?
These prints were part of a series of investigations from my dissertation project in which I explored cultural identity through visual arts, primarily focusing on Asian and western cultures. For this particular exploration I drew heavily from the artist and illustrator Gary Taxali who merges the traditional styles of Asian art with western printing processes. He tends to draw inspiration from his childhood particularly how textbook illustrations were composed and produced. These particular prints drew influences from the rubber hose style animation of the 30's and 40's era and the more traditional and refined visuals of Asian cultures. This design was intended to show a narrative of how one culture can attempt to replicate and appropriate a particular aesthetic or subject of design work but can ultimately result in ridicule and insult. The entire aim of this project was to communicate the respect a culture’s artistic identity deserves.
Georgie Cox, Hans Prints, lino prints, 2020
How can we contact you?
My Instagram: @georgecoxartwork
My website: www.georgiecox.com
My email: email@example.com
It has been very insightful to talk to Georgie with his work focusing on illustration. He is able to create very striking and graphic images that can still portray important social and political messages. We wish him the best in his future as an artist.
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