Clark studied graphic design and illustration at NUA and graduated in 2010. He is now based in North London. “I work from home, in a little studio fashioned out of a spare room,” he adds.
His main focus is illustration, though he still works on design projects and hand-drawn type from time to time. Clark’s work has a painterly and slightly retro feel, combining bold colours with a clever use of light and shade. His website features a mix of editorial illustrations, film poster artwork (for Ben Sharrock film Pikadero, below) and self-initiated pieces.
“I always start with the pencil – I used to do a lot of collage work, but now I’m quite hung up on everything coming from my hand,” he adds. “I start with drawing the shapes and then work into blocking out areas of colour – sometimes with masking tape and paint and sometimes digitally – it all depends on scale and timeframes. Usually, my work ends up in Photoshop where I can tweak the colours and apply finishing touches, but even this is done by hand to a certain extent (using a Wacom tablet),” he explains.
“I’d describe my aesthetic as something between a mass/pop style- like street art and comic books (both big influences) and something more ‘fine art’, containing more texture and expressive mark making,” Clark adds. “Fresh, vibrant colour is important too, along with dark tones that seem to be present in most of my work – I love contrast.”
Since graduating, Clark has produced illustrations for MTV, Adidas, The Financial Times and the Guardian. Last month, he was commissioned by men’s magazine Port to illustrate some of the key looks from Paris Fashion Week – from clothing for Alexander McQueen to a collaboration between White Mountaineering and Adidas.
“Illustrating the runway shows was very fast paced- I’d often get photos of the key looks sent through in the evening, to be illustrated by lunchtime the next day, so timing was a big challenge. The good thing about that though is you have to just dive in as there’s no time to procrastinate,” he says.
He is now working on new type and textile designs – “quite weird and dark ones maybe, as there’s so much cute-sy stuff out there,” he adds –and says dream clients include Paul Smith, Liberty, Nike and the Standard Hotel.
You can see more of Clark’s work at billyclark.org