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Portrait of Miles Donovan

Portrait of Miles Donovan

FN chats to Miles about the multi-disciplinary Peepshow collective and his current projects
Miles is one of the leading figures in the contemporary graphic arts field. Drawing influences from film, magazines, comic books, and pop artists he is currently working on a solo show for next year.

How did you become an Illustrator?

Well I was only ever any good at art at school, spent my time daydreaming in science and maths. Spent all my time silk-screening printing at 15. I think it was on my foundation course in 1994 that one of the tutors said I should do Illustration, probably just to get out of the Fine Art room.

What was the first ad or artwork that inspired you?

I grew up surrounded by TV/Film annuals, magazines, toys and music from the 50’s and 60’s. My dad is a huge collector and runs a second hand shop dealing in the stuff, this was a major influence in my early days. So comic book artists like Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, Brian Bolland, Bill Sienkiewicz. Magazines like 2000AD, Oink and then I always had a big interest in Pop Art and silk screen printing from an early age, Warhol, Lichenstein and Rauschenberg were firm favourites.

Can you outline your creative background?

llustration BA (Hons) at the University of Brighton, London based freelance illustrator since 1998, founded Peepshow Collective in 2000 with fellow graduates and represented by the illustration division at Art Department in New York since 2001.

What is the process you go through to build your imagery?

I tend to work in quite a few different ways, so it depends on the project. 90% of the time the computer is involved. But there is normally always a hand made part of the process whether it’s cutting a stencil and spraying through it, using a silkscreen texture I’ve created, or getting the ink out and making a mess. I don’t allow the computer to dictate what the work looks like though, I use it as just another tool, as part of the process. It’s just a quicker way to achieve hand rendered processes I’ve developed over the years.

What are you currently working on?

Editorial illustration work for various clients and continuing to work on  original  handmade collages for a solo show planned for next year.

How do you describe your style?

Collage and screen based illustration with a bit of spray paint and ink.

What tools do you use? Digital? Hand?

Photoshop, illustrator, scalpel, a scanner, an 80’s fax machine, silkscreen and my bag of magic tricks.

What do you think about the fast moving pace of the world of illustration?

I don’t really follow it to be honest, I tend not to go looking for what is currently out there. Illustration has changed a great deal in the last 10 years, there are a lot more people doing it for starters, it’s sort of mind-blowing how much work is out there, uploaded, commented on and forgotten about.

Whose portrait would you most like to do?

Peter Falk (Columbo), Pee Wee Herman or David Lynch.

What artist would you like to collaborate with (from the past or present)?

Sister Corita Kent or Mingering Mike.

What project/s are you most proud of?

Peepshow’s early collaboration with Graham Rawle ‘Hi-Life’ for Expo 2000, a 4,000 sq ft supermarket. A portrait of Notorious BIG for Source magazine in 2002, The ‘Peepshow Collective’ book we just published with Index Book in Barcelona and ‘The Museum of Objects & Origins’ Peepshow residency at Pick Me Up, Somerset House this year.

Which blogs and magazines do you read?

I find myself in Flickr an awful lot, just looking through peoples personal collections of things they’ve scanned and uploaded. Old cigarette trading cards, nice magazine spreads from the 60’s and 70’s., Pulp magazine covers from the 50’s., Architecture, obscure record sleeves. I’ve got an enormous collection of reference I’ve built up over the years.

What is the last exhibition you went to?

Jeremy Deller ‘Joy in People’ at the Hayward Gallery. Great Show.

If you could own any artwork in the world, which one would it be?

I’d have a Basquiat painting or a Rauschenberg silk screen.

Any plans for the future?

Hopefully more animation and art direction projects with Peepshow and a solo show in 2013, maybe another Peepshow exhibition once we’ve recovered from our residency at Somerset House.