There is something mysterious and compelling in the language of Nick Sheehy’s images. As we draw from our own visual vocabulary, we can connect stories to the mundane ritualistic habits of everyday life. Yet looking closer, these masked characters – shrouded in theatricality – conjure up mythologies and times forgotten. They exemplify our disconnect with one another and the world around us.
Nick’s work, drawn and coloured by hand, is meticulously crafted and wonderfully executed. Nick Sheehy has kindly taken the time to talk to TF about his work, process and inspirations.
Q1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am an Australian human male living in the south east of the United Kingdom. I like drawing. I spend a lot of needless time thinking and sometimes worrying about how I draw.
Q2. How do you approach starting a new project?
For commercial work, usually the first thing I do is determine the final dimensions of the piece and then think about what I could show in that shape. For a recent commission for a set of skis I thought about a character with really long legs. If you set one simple rule for yourself, then you can get a lot of freedom dancing around that rule.
Other than that I usually just sketch ideas, piece things together until something interesting comes out. I always have a sketchbook wherever I am, so for new projects it’s usually a matter of assembling elements together to fit the new project’s context.
Alternatively, sometimes I have an idea I can’t get right on paper until a new project comes along.
Q3. Weapon of choice (favorite materials)?
Graphite. Everything starts as a pencil drawing. Sometimes I add acrylic. Or if I know that a lot of tweeking is going to be involved I use photoshop. But I generally find analogue more satisfying than digital. It’s just that digital is more convenient.
Q4. Do you have a favourite place outside of your workspace that you like to go to sketch?
Public transport or sketching in front of a film produces the best results. I like to try to draw a lot when travelling. Your mind is automatically in a different game. I don’t really use my workspace to sketch, it’s more of a place where I finish works. Sketching seems like more of a thing I do whenever I can grab the time to do it.
Q5. Your favourite procrastination pastime?
Clicking refresh on my mail inbox. Researching albums on wikipedia. Trailing through 70s footage on youtube of bands I like. Buying new pencils.
Q6. What do you like to listen to while you’re working?
At present I’m revisiting The Jesus Lizard which does a good job of blocking out any background noise and helps me to focus. I like Tom Waits because of the stories. Other regulars: Bill Callahan/Smog, Talking Heads, early Van Morrison, Kurt Vile, etc
Q7. What are some of your sources of inspiration?
I get most inspiration from films and music. I like the atmosphere. Going for a walk also helps get the grey cells moving. Seeing trees.
Huge thanks to Nick for providing so many awesome photos and for taking the time to do this interview.
Don’t forget to stop by Nick’s site!
All images ©2011 Nick Sheehy