Rob Draper is a British Artist & Designer born in Worcester, UK in 1973. He studied art, graphic design and visual communication. For his unique take on creativity, he is recognised worldwide. His work has been featured in the worldwide press and has been featured in numerous art/design/style/creativity books and publications.
How did you get into art?
As a child, Art and creating felt like a great escape. I caught the first wave of graffiti art in the UK which gave me confidence, a social life and adventures. I went to art college for 6 years and ended up with qualifications in Art, Graphic Design and then a degree in visual communication. I always wanted to be an artist but people like me didn’t become artists so it made much more economic sense at the time to pursue a career in graphic design so I did that, I have done pretty much most roles within design from Designer, Magazine Designer, Art Director, Creative Director yet over time through all the roles I had, art crept in somewhere or another. A few years ago the company I worked for relocated and I was made redundant from my role as an Art Director so it felt like it was finally time to pursue this path.
How would you describe your style? What makes your work special?
I feel like that's something that someone else does about your work far better than you. For me it's just quite an organic process where over time I have learnt varying skills, styles and techniques - i.e. traditional custom lettering, composition, digital type, illustration, collage, contemporary painting, painting on discarded/unusual objects, slow considered meticulous type, immediate fast expressive type and every now and again you throw all those things into the air and see how they land. In my latest works I am trying to explore the limits of collage and contrast, combining over-saturation of ideas, styles, materials, colour and techniques. A recurring theme is contrast i.e. finding the most discarded, free item and spending as long as I can embellishing it, adding gold leaf, playing with the boundaries of contrast.
How do you go about developing your work?
I just keep on, I try to challenge myself, often during the last 10% of completing a piece of work I am forming the concept of the next piece. Where can I take it this time? What can I add? How can I improve that? Can it be much bigger? Can it be much smaller? Just constantly adding tweaks and becoming intrigued with the outcome. Often after a period of working in one style, i.e. detailed and intricate I will enjoy going completely the other way with immediacy, expressive work. During these processes I use social media so its there as a visual diary for me to dip back into and use it as a starting point to somewhere else.
Who or what influences you?
When I was young we could go on college/University trips to Art Galleries and amongst others I was fascinated by the clean graphic lines of Roy Lichtenstein and the energy and immediacy of Jackson Pollock. What I particularly liked was when you got close you saw the brush strokes, the grit, the slight variations in colour and line width. Those characteristics stuck with me and have continued to influence me. I try very much to ‘stay in my lane’ so I try not to be influenced by contemporary artists around me but music always plays a large part in steering my creativity when working.
Make us curious. What is planned next?
I never really know and that's as good as it is bad. I would love to have a solo show at some point, I have amassed hundreds of pieces of work that would be great to pull together for a show. A book would be great at some point too, sometimes the stories behind the scenes are as interesting as the artwork. The hope is always to keep creating work, staying curious and motivated to see where that goes.