When we first came across Lawrence Slater’s eye-popping illustrations, we wanted to know more about the artistic process and personal background behind the illustrator himself. The London College of Communication graduate unquestionably has an idiosyncratic style. His work has a cool, bold simplicity - it is therefore understandable he has been employed by brands such as Urban Outfitters. We spoke to him about his upbringing in the countryside, his creative routines and activities he does in his spare time.
“I currently live in South East London in a house with some of my friends, where we share a studio in the front room. I was born and grew up in the countryside near Nottingham in the midlands of the UK. My mother was a seamstress and my father was an engineer, they encouraged creativity but never really pushed it. To me I was unable to become a professional football player so some kind of art career seemed like second best. I moved to London to study graphic design in 2010. While studying there I interned in a few agencies as a graphic designer - I found this uninspiring and knew straight away I needed to focus on something slightly different. My brother was already an illustrator so I just copied him."
Always interested in an artist’s personal routines, we delved deeper into the creative process behind Slater’s illustrations. “I wake up at around 7.30, shower, have breakfast and walk my dog Lacey. I am normally sat working by 9. I start with some admin and then get to work. How my work currently looks has slowly developed but the key principles in my work have remained the same. I come up with ideas in lots of different ways, from constantly looking around me to watching music videos or reading the news. I’m not sure I really believe in creative blocks.”
“You have to force yourself to work on something else or in a different way.It takes time. Keep working at it. Make images everyday, you will learn or improve with every one. Make work that comes naturally and you enjoy.”
Slater’s work boasts natural imagery, the illustrations always coming across as highly energetic and seem to have a sense of fluidity about them. We ask Slater if he feels his personality and environment is reflected in his work. “Yes, I like things straight forward, simple and precise. I love the summer, everyone is about having fun, going swimming etc. I hope to translate fun, energy, bold shapes, humour and bright colours. I always find colours interesting. Everyone has a preference, when people who you think have similar design sense and tastes to you will prefer different colours. I like blues and oranges.” All artists need a break – we asked Slater what he does on his, and what he’d be if he didn’t heed to his creative calling “just walking the dog round the parks. I’d be a dog walker.”
Words by Sophie Harris