We’ve reached the finale of Toys by Design for Design Bureau, and I’m “chuffed” to conclude my column with that polymath, Pete Fowler. Here’s an artist who was an early player in the designer toy game, but he didn’t pause on plastic. In fact, he didn’t pause at all. For over a decade, Pete Fowler has let loose a panoply of woodland critters and seafaring sprites in mediums as disparate as toys, trophies, tables and thread. You can drink out of or eat off of his artwork. You can jam with his creations. Some might even say his characters raise awareness.
Pete and I had the following conversation back in April, and the truncated column appears in print in the August issue of Design Bureau. Notably, this marks the final “toy art interview” I’ll be posting on my website for the foreseeable future. But…stay tuned for 50+ interviews with creators and collectors in Toy Art 2.0, the coffee table art book I collaborated on with Okedoki, out before the year is over!
JB: Where does this missive find you today?
Pete Fowler: At home in east London, enjoying a coffee [ed note: perhaps?] on a Saturday morning while the elusive sun streams through the windows with Ulrich Schnauss playing on the Hi-Fi. I’m signing at ToyCon this afternoon, looking ahead to a busy weekend of catching up with friends and fellow artists. I’m sure there’ll be a few drinks later.
What are some of your favorite places to be?
I really like being in Cornwall, the part of Britain where I went to art school and later spent a chunk of my life before I moved to London. I love being near the sea, and Cornwall has an amazing coastline. It’s an inspiring place for me–not just the landscape, but the myths, stories and characters that live there. Also, it’s an excellent place to relax.
Creatively, my perfect space can be anywhere really. Good pubs are as good a place as any to ponder and plot. My local, the Carpenters Arms, [ed note: "granny annex"???] is a great pub once owned by the most notorious east end gangsters: the Kray twins!
You work in a splendid array of mediums! Does the medium or the message come to you first?
I’m inquisitive by nature, and I think that’s reflected in the different mediums I work with. It’s also a patience issue, so it’s useful to have several projects running at once so I can dip in and out of them. I often get ideas from one project that can be transferred to another, and the mixture of mediums seems natural for me to explore. Sometimes coming across a new medium can excite me to think of a way to use it. Other ideas search for a medium. It can happen both ways.
How do you organize your ideas? read full article