Andy Hamilton has been working under the moniker My Tarpit for quite some time now. I actually can't pin point the first time I came across his work but I feel like it might have been some stickers around Belfast city centre about 8 or 9 years ago. Regardless, I know we definitely exhibited together on a few occasions since. Firstly, there was a Transformers exhibition in Dublin, 2012, then the I am Illustrator event in 2014.
If you click through to Andy's site you'll get a snap shot of the diverse range of work he's completed commercially as an illustrator and further to that, as an artist, in a gallery context. Read on for his interview and some examples of work.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START ILLUSTRATING AND KNOW WAS IT SOMETHING YOU WANTED TO DO AS A PROFESSION?
That's a toughy. I have always drawn/doodled, I can't remember a time when I didn't draw.As a kid I was always copying panels from comic books or scenes from cartoons. It was probably going through Art College that I was told I was an 'Illustrator' (the term cartoonist was a dirty word!). So I suppose I knew from an early age I knew I wanted to be the guy who drew comics or animated the Saturday morning cartoons. Man, I thought those guys were wizards, bringing all these worlds and stories to life.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION?
The love of the baby Jesus... ha,ha..sorry *ahem* ... I still love reading comics, watching cartoons and I have a unhealthily large collection of figures and toys. If I need to overcome a creative 'block' then I only have to stick on an episode of 'Battle of the Planets' or pick up a copy of 2000ad or Mad Magazine and I'm off again
HOW DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR ILLUSTRATIONS?
People. People and their stories. I love people-watching, tucking myself away in a café and just drawing and noting down people and their conversations. I have shelves full of sketchbooks with gorgeous little snippets of life waiting to be drawn.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE MEDIUM TO WORK WITH?
Dorris Stokes. I love the way she can really pick up on the personalities of peoples loved ones who have passed on. Sorry, couldn't resist. I love working in Adobe Illustrator, I've been using it on a daily basis for the last 20 odd years so it's become second nature to me now. You can lay down crisp lines and colours in the blink of an eye. The iDraw app on the iPad is becoming a firm favourite too. I also still get the odd graffiti commission which is great, love the smell of aerosol!
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
My studio schedule is full until the end of the summer with commercial work, but apart from that I am working on a series of 7 'nonsense' picture books and I'm in the middle of planning a month long exhibition/performance show which will take place in August as part of Bangor's Open House Festival. I have the month of August to illustrate my way out of a gallery....
CURRENT PLAYLIST AS YOU WORK?
ARE THERE ANY ILLUSTRATORS THAT YOU ARE A FAN OF THAT DESERVE SOME EXPOSURE?
I've just joined forces with a new local Illustration agency called UsFolk, and I have to say that I'm loving the work of the other illustrators that they have on board. Look them up, our little island has some amazing talent!