Sam Williams Interview
Sam Williams is a Brighton based illustrator, printmaker and one half of creative collective Magictorch. Formed in 1999 in a garden shed in Hove and currently situated in the glorious 1960's brutalism of New England House, Magictorch produces bespoke illustration, design and animation for all manner of clients. Whilst more than content with his life as an illustrator Sam has also spent the last few years exploring a more self indulgent path producing screen and giclee prints.
A trip to California in 1995 transformed me from an eyeliner wielding goth into a tie dye emblazoned hippy. In 4 short months. Nearly 25 years later I am neither.
It's pretty much been the only thing I've ever wanted to do so I studied it at university and after a short detour into gardening I teamed up with an old friend from University and Magictorch was born.
Music is a big one - I struggle to work in silence. Aside from that, concept designers like Syd Mead and sci-fi master John Harris are an endless source of inspiration.
At the moment I'm more often than not eased awake by the dulcet tones of a shouting toddler. Once her needs have been attended to I head to the studio. Cup of tea, quick scan through emails and then it's time to get started on the days commissions or personal work depending on what's most pressing. From there on I'll be pretty much glued to the computer until it's time to head home. Probably not the most exciting sounding day - but it works and I rather like it!
Walk away from it, get some space. Frequently, after hours of banging my head against something, the solution presents itself on the way home or in the shower or doing the washing up. Even though I'm not consciously thinking about it, somewhere in the background it's percolating away and a bit of distance can bring it into focus.
British Airways, BBC Focus, Metal Hammer.
Cinema 4D and Photoshop are the main offenders.
I frequently start a project with a wander around Pinterest - it's such a great resource and place to stumble upon unexpected gems.
A friend of mine once said to me "failure cannot live with persistence' - at the end of the day you're in charge and you're doing what you love - it's not going to come without a fight! Too much work! - not enough! - feast or famine - prepare to be stressed - a lot. But while that sounds pessimistic, stick at it - it's daunting striking out on your own - but the rewards FAR outweigh the stress.
Good art direction can be the difference between a dream project and a nightmare. That, coupled with anything that inspires and challenges - and it really can be anything - and I'm a happy illustrator!
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