The British Council presents Swifty & Paul Bradshaw 3 Day Workshop in Auckland
We are extremely excited to have two UK heavyweights visiting Auckland in May as part of the 2012 PIYN programme. Heralded as the “Godfather of the Sampling Generation”, Ian Swift (“Swifty“), has been an highly prolific figure in the London music and design scenes for over twenty years. Recognized early on by the likes of Erik Spiekermann and Neville Brody (of FACE magazine) as a rising star of typography, Swifty’s unique fonts and bold sampling techniques have extended the boundaries of modern graphic design, whilst his distinctive album sleeve and club flyer designs are responsible for pioneering the UK Acid Jazz movement’s signature style.
Swifty is also presenting at the Semi Permanent Conference Auckland May 18th.
Paul Bradshaw is the man behind the iconic London magazine Straight No Chaser, as well as being a journalist and modern day UK music and culture consultant.
Join both UK mentors for an exclusive three day workshop exploring publishing technologies, UK cultural history, Music and fanzine production. To register please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – places are strictly limited. This is a creative commons FREE event.
We are also holding an industry meet and greet with Swifty and Braders at Conch Records on Friday evening May 18th from 6pm, where some seminal UK tunes will be played, as well as a little chat from the two UK guests, and the completion of some artwork that Swifty will be blessing the Ponsonby shop with during the week….
Since his debut years at Face Magazine, Swifty has held the role of creative designer for magazines such as Straight No Chaser (The Magazine of World Jazz Jive) and Area, designed covers for countless preeminent musicians through his work with labels Talkin Loud, Mo Wax and Source 360, produced animation for television, designed a camo clothing line, as well as founded his own company Swifty Toypographix through which he has published several books.
In recent years Swifty’s commercial success has enabled him to indulge in more personal projects, pieces that make up the majority of his current touring collection. He admits that despite his clients remaining pretty liberal with design briefs over the years, he finds something infinitely satisfying in creating entirely independent works. Influenced by childhood nostalgia and drawing from a host of very “British inflated” memorabilia circa 1960, Swifty explores a variety of media such as sculpture, painting and collage in recreating images from of this diverse and turbulent period.
Ian Swift was born near Liverpool in 1965. The youngest by seven years, Swifty acknowledges that he’d grown accustomed to doing his own thing: ‘I wasn’t really I loner, rather I always sort of had my own agenda.” This became particularly apparent when he first expanded his company, “I found it really hard to delegate. I’m the hands on type: I’d rather just do it myself than attempt to explain what I envisage”. After vacating the rapidly gentrifying Hoxton area in the late 90’s and deciding to downscale, Swifty set up shop at the bottom of his garden- what he now recognizes to be the definitive work station. “It’s kind of isolated, but I like that, I can really zone into my own little world and do my thing.”
The decision to integrate image sampling into his work symbolized a turning point in Swifty’s career, a paradyne that would forever change the face of modern graphic design. Swifty recalls the first time he was confronted with the possibility: “Very early on when I started doing work with Talking Loud, I was approached by a band (Young Disciples) requesting to reproduced a Joe Henderson, Blue Note record sleeve (Mode for Joe).” He recalls that at the time the request was a touchy subject, as although in the 90’s sampled music was most popular and considered rather as homage, Swifty explains that “graphic sampling” “was still frowned upon in a funny kind of way”.
Swifty admits that aside from its appealing aesthetic value, camouflage subconsciously symbolizes an important influence in his life. “My dad was exempt from going to war, he stayed on the home-front and was an expert in tank and ammunition repairs. I was immersed in this kind of imagery as a kid. Until my older sister encouraged me to persue my drawing talents and go to art school, I had always saw myself joining the army. The war played an important part in the lives of my parents and grandparents, I think it has always had an influence on my work”.
Aside from the turbulent images of the 60’s and his love of music; another significant influence in Swifty’s work is definitely his love of Pop Art. “When I left school, I remember sitting in art history lessons and always falling asleep”. Something about a cold, dark projection room and monotonous lecturer soullessly pointing at slides of Monet or Turner, turned Swifty else where for inspiration. He found this in the library, where he could again discover things “for him self”. “The first thing I discovered was pop art, I immediately identified with it. Warhol was obviously the king of the scene. Although I was never really into the celebrity thing, there is something about the Campbell’s Soup Can that really appeals to me, it’s typographical, it’s “designed”. The mixing of popular images, with other topical subjects of the time has given Swifty’s work a unique and vibrant dimension.
Swifty sees himself moving further into fine arts in the future, “unlike with graphics, with paining you don’t have to please anybody, it’s very personal”. Despite confiding that his ultimate super power would probably be to add more hours to the day, Swifty has never been the anxious type when its comes to producing art:
“Art has never felt like work to me, it’s not like business where you feel over pressured to achieve. Ever since I’ve worked at home, I’ve felt like my two lives are finally fused. My studio is only forty feet away, so my art is finally infused with every aspect of my life.”
Ian Swift says “I’m a graphic designer primarily, but I do art.” He says “I’d designed hundreds of flyers, hundreds of record sleeves and was firmly established as a music industry designer.”