Designer Questions - Neil Irvine

Neil Irvine Interview

This week we chat to Neil Irvine about how he creates his abstract patterns,  his favourite movie (an impossible question) and how he started his digital style.

Hi Neil and welcome to the designer collections.  We are really happy to have you included in our collections and love the abstract patterns you have on site now.  When creating your patterns, what do you use for your inspiration and can you explain how you get the focus to concentrate on such clean lines when creating?

Hello, and thanks. There’s no real set way that I work, there’s a lot of happy accidents involved, where a lot of ’stuff’ is thrown on the page in the initial stages. It’sapparentpretty early which ideas have legs, so then it’s a case of focusing on those and working into more to get them as precise as possible.  I think there’s a lot of value in designs that take a long time to finalise, pieces that you can really get your teeth into with plenty of detail, but also in the more minimal ones too. The simpler designs are sometimes the hardest to get over the line. Nothing’s ever really ‘finished’ there’s always things you can add to improve something, but if you can look back at work you’ve done in the past and think it still holds up, you must have done something right.

Have you always been creative? When did you start drawing and creating art?

Yeah, pretty much. I was always drawing as a kid. Art was the main subject at school that really interested me, and I pushed a lot of my efforts into it. I did the traditional year-long course at Art College, using Photocopiers & Fax machines to Create loose, organic effects. This was in the days before having any real access to computers, you had to work with what you had!  Getting to grips with Adobe software at Uni was next.  It was all Photoshop for me back then, I didn’t even touch Illustrator until I graduated, so I’m pretty much self-taught on that front. I like to dabble in both now, usually at the same time.  Where do you see your art career in a few years? Shredding artworks in Sothebys with any luck. ;) I’m not sure, just going to see how it goes really. It’s been really good to be involved with Underdog from the start, as one of the ‘originals’, a good litmus test to see if there’s much of a market for the type of work I do as wall-prints.  Next steps for me would be to open an Etsy store, something I’m looking to pull together before 2018’s out, see if I can get some traction there. I’m also toying with the idea of buying a Giclee printer, but one step at a time...

Which artists inspire you most and do you have a favourite classic?

There’s so many, it’s hard to even pinpoint. Saul Bass is a big inspiration though so I’ll put him down as my ‘classic’. A bit more contemporary, the work of Me Company was a massive inspiration, way ahead of their time in the mid 90’s. Their cover art for Bjorks albums are something else, along with all the hyper-real florals etc they’re known for. Great stuff.  I only just signed up to Instagram in Spring this year (should have bit the bullet years ago) and that’s expanded my horizons to more varied artists. A lot of the motion stuff up there I think is incredible - Antoni Tudisco’s work is ridiculous.

What's your favourite movie and why?

Very difficult question. Jaws? Back to the Future? Gremlins?! Jaws is a masterpiece, every shot in that film could be a print on the wall. I guess in terms of favourite, a good way to judge would be the ones you watch right through if you stumble upon them flicking round channels. Goodfellas is one you can’t turn off. Inglorious Basterds too by Tarantino. I rate it higher than his other films, I think it's his classic.


And finally, if you could tell yourself anything about being a creative professional 10 years ago, what would you say and why?

I think most of the stuff I do could be taken up a notch if it was animated, so I guess getting to grips with motion software like After Effects a little sooner would have been good. I still just know the basics really, I have no excuses either, it’s sitting right there on the desktop…!


You can find all Neils patterns and geometric delights here.

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