Shannon Elizabeth Murphy: When and how did you first become interested in illustration?
Adrian Farrow: I first became interested in illustration when I was really young. I always loved illustrated books and comics, so I was aware of illustration at a young age I guess. We had a stack of well-used Richard Scarry books that I would stare at for hours. I was always drawing. Typically I would get a sketch book and and some cool pens from my aunt every Christmas and that would last me the year until I was re-stocked at the following Christmas. My older brother drew and painted and my best friend's dad was an amazing illustrator, but I never really considered illustration as a career until I finished high school and started to focus on post secondary education and the different programs out there. I took an art fundamentals class at Sheridan and was exposed to the illustration program. I was hooked on it after and never looked back.
SEM: How does illustration influence your design work?
AF: I have never really identified as a designer - but as I move along, I notice how the lines are quite blurred between illustration, design and art. When I am making work I don't think about if it's too 'designed' or 'illustrative,' I just create work and do the best possible job I can so the client gets what they're looking for.
SEM: Congrats on your recent show in LA! Describe the experience of seeing your work in another country and working with Morgan Spurlock.
AF: Thanks, thanks a lot! LA was super fun - initially I was a little nervous about the whole experience- the unknown was worrisome and at the same time very exciting. I had no idea how I would fit in. I just knew that there were a ton of amazing people involved and I had to make work that I was proud to show. At the opening I met a lot of my heroes. Everyone was extremely kind and very supportive. All my apprehensions quickly melted away. There was such an amazing positive and inclusive energy at the opening, it was different than any other city I've shown my work. I made some new friends and I'm staying in touch with the people I met. I have even been considering moving there for a bit to sample west coast living. It was a super fun night - one that I will definitely remember.
Morgan Spurlock is a giant! Seriously, he's so much taller in real life. He was really supportive of me and my work, he even took a huge involvement when my painting sold. He was patting me on the back and pumped for me. I ended up hugging the guy that bought my work and Morgan got a kick out of the whole situation. I was so fortunate and I can't thank Gary Taxali enough for all his support and friendship.
SEM: Your Shared History illustrations for the onesies are amazing. How did this project come about?
AF: The good people of Shared rang me up one day and asked if I would be interested in designing an all-over Canadiana themed pattern for an adult onesie. I freaked out, and was instantly keen! I have made patterns before and it is something that I really enjoy doing. Every aspect of the project spoke to me, so I had to do it.
SEM: Which famous family would you like to receive a card from that pictures everyone wearing your illustrated onesie?
AF: My dad was born in England so I would have to say the entire Royal Family would be phenomenal. I'm talking all of them, Kate, William, Harry, the Queen- all of 'em!
SEM: What do you do to feel inspired? Do you have any rituals to summon your creativity?
AF: I'm always sketching ideas, usually just before bed. I really like brain storming ideas while sitting in the park on a warm day or riding my bike. It helps to be outside doing and seeing things. That's when the grey matter is the most malleable. As far as rituals, I have a particular paper that I always use and I am very specific about the tools I use like pencils, pens and paints. Other than that, I use coffee to help me out and sometimes I use a lot of it to summon the creativity.
SEM: What other projects are you working on?
AF: I just finished my first commissioned illustration for The New Yorker Magazine, which I am thrilled about. Also, I have a few more editorial projects in the works during the up coming month. I am always thinking about doing a solo show so stay tuned cause it might happen someday in the near future.
SEM: If you could have anyone illustrate you, who would it be and why?
AF: Oh wow this is a tough one! I haven't given this a ton of thought but my gut says David Hockney would probably be able to do a stellar job. He isn't really know for portraits and that's what I think would look cool about it.
To enjoy more of Adrian's work, check out his website, here.