Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Introducing Season Zero Artwork and Illustration Studio

Season Zero is an art & illustration studio I discovered based in Germany. They've won numerous awards for their artwork in the music industry and produce original, striking designs. I caught up with Matthias to chat about their work. 

1) As musicians yourselves, did you always want to work on artwork within the music industry? 

I started to make music about 14 years ago. Since the bands I've played in always had the ambition to release music it was necessary to have an artwork and cover for our demos. So the first cover artwork I made was for my own bands. By playing live shows and meeting other bands I had the opportunity to do this for other local and underground bands. 10 years ago I began to work by my company name "Season Zero“ and continued to work for bands during my studies. 

Close to my final exams I got a phone call asking me if I would like to do an artwork for Universal Music Germany – it was an amazing opportunity for me to then go freelance after I did my bachelor thesis in Media Design. It was kind of a natural development and I’m thankful that so many bands and musicians gave me their trust, thereby allowing me to build up a portfolio over the years. One thing led to another and major bands and labels joined the ride.

2) What project have you been working on recently?

It might seem a bit strange but the last few projects I’ve been working on reflect the way in which I see my job quite well! I was working on the new album of Schwarzer Engel (a german Dark Metal/Gothic band) and for Glasperlenspiel (popular german Pop/Electro duo) – to name a few. Totally different styles, genres and labels – but that’s what makes it so exciting: every project has a different approach in style and feeling . It was always my goal to be able to translate any kind of design to fit the music of a band or musician. I'm working for underground Metal bands, as well as pop acts at the same time – which is cool. Through this I get the chance to venture into all kinds of different styles and artworks!

3) Do you have a preferred style of music to listen to whilst working?

Not really. If I like the music of the artist I’m working for I tend to listen to it while I'm working – but most of the time their music is still in process when I start to work on the designs. Though my musicial roots are rock/metal, nowadays I’m listening to a wide range of music like Folk, Jazz, Electro… for me the genre doesn’t really matter. It’s all about the song itself – either it’s good or not. 

4) Where do you draw inspiration with fonts for logotypes? 

 I’m a huge fan of traditional sign makers. I always try to find a way to see some kind of an image in the word that has to be transformed into a logotype or brand. It’s fascinating how every word bears it’s own potential to work with. Every letter has to be treated uniquely, thus it’s like a design micro- cosmos where every line, space and dimensions matters. 

Discover more of their work here 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Interview with BoomArtwork

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Eric Van Den Boom (who works under the name BoomArtwork) who is an extremely talented artist, specializing in illustration and custom lettering.  I found Erics work via Instagram and was immediately drawn to his stylish, detailed work. Eric kindly took the time to answer some questions and share some information behind his work!

What project have you been working on recently?

I've just finished a personal work, a portrait of David Bowie. This one and other prints are for sale in my webshop . David Bowie is one of my all time heroes. I've been creating a lot of work whilst listening to Bowie albums. So I thought it would make sense to do a portrait of him.

 Do you have a preferred style of music to listen to whilst working?

This really depends on the mood I'm in, and the time of the day, but I find music very important. I won't start doing anything before there's music on. Could be something really relaxed, or dark, uplifting or loud. When I'm doing album design or a festival poster I always listen to the band or acts. It helps me to get into the right vibe. I used to be in a punk band for years, so my roots is guitar based music. At the same time I've been enjoying all sorts of styles of music. From very experimental jazz electro to plain in your face oldschool punk. I'm always searching for new music, and like discovering new stuff.

 What do you enjoy most about your work?

When I'm totally in a flow, when things are going well with a project, and listening to my favourite music.When I'm really concentrated and mindful I can feel really privileged to be doing something I really like, and then realising it's my job.

Having previously completed work in Brighton, are there any other towns or cities you'd like to spend time in?

I love Utrecht, the city I'm currently living, but wouldn't mind spending working a summer in Barcelona. Or in Brighton again, as I had a great time there.

I particularly love your custom lettering, where do you draw inspiration from for new styles of fonts? 

Thanks! Mostly old packaging that I collect on flea markets, or second hand stores. Nowadays all this stuff is also on available on Pinterest, if you follow the right people, but it still is more fun to find something special in a store somewhere when I'm on a trip. It reminds my of my trip.

To view more visit Erics website and Instagram

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Regent Sounds Photo Shoot

To shoot the new mens tees we wanted to find a location that epitomized the Rock 'n' Needle style and inspiration behind the brand. We contacted the guys at Regent Sounds who very kindly let us use their incredible guitar shop for our shoot.  

Regent Sounds is an independent guitar shop based in Londons famous Denmark Street. The shop has a rich musical history which attracts many visitors. In early 1964, The Rolling Stones recorded their hugely successful first album at Regent Sound Studio. Through the 60s and 70s it played host to many other bands and artists including The Who, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, Mott the Hoople, Donovan and Black Sabbath – who recorded their hugely successful song and album Paranoid at the studio.

It was the perfect surroundings for the new designs! Regent Sounds are Fender & Gretsch specialists, stocking electric, acoustic & bass guitars.

 For more information check out their website here.

A huge thank you to Regent Sounds! 

Model Andrew Jardine, Photographer Christos Markou 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Time: Tattoo Art Today

This week I visited Somerset House for the Tattoo Art exhibition, which is being held until the 5th October. 
Somerset House
The exhibition comprises of original artworks from some of the worlds most influential tattoo artists. These include Ed Hardy, Paul Booth and Chris Garver to name a few. After having a coffee in the courtyard we headed in to the exhibition. 
'Rouge' by Rose Hardy 
'Jennie' by Antonio Macko Todisco 
'Trinity' by Joe Capobianco 
'Mark of Identity' by Ami James
'Time waits for no one' by Jack Rudy 
'Waiting in the back' by Grime

'Old Friend' by George Campise 

These are just some of my favorites from the display, there are so many interesting and cool designs to be seen, I won't give it all away! The collection is a mixture of mediums including oil paintings, watercolors, paint layering on real skulls and airbrushing. Each piece of art work is completely new which has been made especially for the exhibition, making it a must see. I find there's something incredibly relaxing about wandering around an exhibit space and it always feeds my creativity.

The exhibition is completely free and there's also posters and books available to buy. For more information visit the Somerset House website. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

Interview with The Tattooed Bakers

Recently I heard about the fantastic duo that are The Tattooed Bakers. Given my love of tattoos and baking (eating baked goods) I decided to check out the much talked about cake, which is described as bespoke edible art. I instantly fell in love with their unicorn cake, and after spending a while both drooling and feeling intrigued by their website gallery I thought I'd see if they would be up for an interview. The Tattooed Bakers kindly agreed to tell us a bit more about their work!

How did you come up with the idea of Tattooed Bakers?

We wanted to create a brand that deviated as much as possible from traditional pretty cakes, and to push the boundary of what can be done in cake - essentially we want to be the UK's answer to Cake Boss!!

When did you start baking? What was your first baking job?

We started baking cakes in 2011 in a bit of an unconventional way! We started a company called "Cake Doggy Dog' ( that make completely bespoke cakes to look like our customers dogs! We found that it was too niche, so we started Tattooed Bakers so that we could branch out into different subject matter.

Could you tell us a little more about Cake Doggy Dog?

The idea behind Cake Doggy Dog is that we create a completely bespoke cake version of your dog! We ask our customers to send as many photos as possible, and choose the position they'd like their cake-dog to be in and any distinguishing features of their pet so that we can make them as life-like and personal as possible. It's a bit of an unusual concept! 

How would you describe your cake style?

Different, exploratory and we approach cakes from an artistic point of view rather than a "cake-maker's" - neither of us are "trained" cake-makers so we've learnt to use cake and sugarpaste in a way that works for us and our creations.  

'Hell Horse' created for Miss Cakehead's Halloween Pop Up shop "Eat Your Heart Out" 2013. It had Kraken Rum flowing out of its nose! 

What inspires you?

We approach our cakes with an attitude that anything and everything can be made into a cake - and try and do things that haven't been done before (as much as possible!) It sounds really naff, but when we create our sculpted cakes we sort of forget that its cake and concentrate on making something that will make people say "Wow" first and then "That's a cake?" second. Baking and Cake Artistry has become such a massive thing over the last few years, it's really about creating something innovative now - I think people want to see something that they can't make at home.    

Mick Jagger's 70th Birthday Party

What has been your most challenging project so far?

We've recently had a few commissions for portrait cakes - these are definitely the most challenging! Ensuring that the cake looks like person it's supposed to be, but also making sure that it has some character to it is pretty challenging! We've recently made one that we can't say too much about, for a documentary - that was pretty nerve wracking.

Favorite cake filling or flavor?

Red Velvet!! I'm completely obsessed with it at the moment. 

You recently won the ‘2013 Novelty Cake award’ Congratulations! – Could you tell us about which cake this was for and how it felt to win? 

We won this award for the life-size rainbow cake filled Unicorn we created for "Baketopia" - an edible pop-up for National Baking Week. It was a real honor to win this award actually - as relatively new cake makers it was lovely to be acknowledge by the "cake world" in this way. 

For more updates on The Tattooed Bakers check out their website below!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Skull & Heart presents The Colour Series

Skull & Heart describe themselves as a small collective based in East London that direct and produce limited edition screen print series, alongside exhibitions and events within the low brow art world. Displaying the work of the best UK and international artists, designers and illustrators around, I dropped by to the latest exhibition 'The Colour Series' to take a look. 

 The gallery is showcasing both emerging and established talent from national and international artists. 

 Mr Gauky - A Yorkshire born, London based artist described as creating superbly fantastic and intricate character based pieces.  Mr Gauky Website

 Tom J Newell hails from Sheffield and has a distinctive black and white style. He creates images by hand and pen.  Tom J Newell Website

The End Of My Cigar
 David Bray is a London based artist/illustrator. His preferred medium is pen/pencil on paper but he is always up for experimenting with new mark making techniques. David Bray Website

Queen Bee
 Brian Ewing fuses his own creative explorations of perspective, colour and space with more classic, beloved imagery from rebellious American youth culture: hot punk girls, totally rad skulls and fields of colour aflame. Brian Ewing Website

Serpent Messenger
 Palehorse (Chris Parks) resides in Florida USA where he runs a gallery which he works out of. Palehorse is constantly experimenting and pushing the boundaries of his work, blurring the lines between digital illustration and fine art.  Palehorse Website

The Skull Mistress
 Iain Macarthur resides in London and creates stunningly beautiful pencil and pen work pieces using mostly pencil, water colours and pigment pens. He creates portraits of ordinary people but with emebellished patterns and watercolour effects, transforming their faces from something plain to something bizarre and wonderful at the same time. Iain Macarthur Website

 Mr Gauky  

 Iain Macarthur 

Dan Mumford is a freelance illustrator/designer/screenprinter working out of Studio 100 in central London. Dan Mumford has become one of the more prominent names in the alternative music and design scene. He has worked with many brands and clients including Nike, Adidas and Red Bull. When I arrived at the gallery I was lucky enough to see Dan completing this piece! Dan Mumford Website

The Colour Series runs until the 7th April in Brick Lane Gallery Annexe, London. Check out their website for a full list of artists and follow them on Twitter for updates in the design world. I loved the style of the work and highly recommend a trip to see the exhibition! 

Monday, 31 March 2014

Gig Review - Marie GC - Killswitch Engage

It’s always such an amazing atmosphere at a show like this with my view from the photo pit. The security guards in good spirit as they engage in banter with the photographers, and pass cups of water to the thirsty front barrier clingers; which by this point looking rather red faced from Trivium’s set, but clearly not budging - for they have made it this far. The sold out venue goes pitch black, and all attention is on the stage as Killswitch Engage appear to soundtrack ‘Eye of the Tiger’ - which couldn’t be more befitting to the performance as they certainly didn’t pull any punches.

Everyone, quite frankly, goes mental as the eccentric Adam D runs across the stage in his “daisy dukes”. Clearly he will be up to his usual stage antics! As the intro fades they blast straight into ‘A Bid Farewell’, the whole of Brixton Academy is consumed with a spectacular lighting display and eruption of energy.

Jesse Leach owns the stage, his vocals - effortless, and his engaging with the crowd – humble, as he nails tracks from the Howard Jones era. It’s evident they have moved forward, and Jesse proves he is most certainly one of the most formidable frontmen in metal. From their latest album ‘Disarm the Descent’, tracks ‘New Awakening’ and ‘In Due Time’ sit perfectly in the set alongside the Killswitch classics. Adam D provides the usual comedy moments, along with the memorable riffs that are the foundation of their sound, yet his strong stage presence doesn’t detract from Jesse. Duelling guitars and fierce drumming complete the perfect package. 

Ending in perfection with an Encore ‘My Curse’, they left the hairs on the back of my neck standing – ever so slightly taller than Trivium.