Artist of the Month – Christopher Lovell
Need some creative inspiration? Meet this month’s featured artist Christopher Lovell.
Chris is a UK based artist who specializes primarily in illustration for clothing companies and band merchandise. He is self-taught and draws inspiration from his love of fantasy and sci-fi. Get to know him a little better in our Q&A below!
CustomInk: What made you want to become an artist?
Chris: It was in motion before I was even aware of it. I just loved creating, and drawing was the easiest way to get satisfaction as a child. I adored cartoons like He-Man and Dungeons & Dragons. I would obsess over the characters and apart from playing with the action figures, drawing them was the only other way to satisfy my obsessions. It just became a hobby and I began to explore all aspects of it –sculpting, making things, painting, and drawing. Seeing the reaction to my art from friends and family made me feel like I had some kind of secret power. This all just amalgamated into a life long passion and any other career choice would be madness…apart from music. If I could be touring the world in a band I’d be doing that and drawing on the tour bus!
CustomInk: What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Chris: I think the fact that my career could go anywhere and in any direction keeps things so exciting. I definitely have numerous goals–a nice coffee table art book, exhibitions in different countries, large paintings, etc. It’s easy to be so busy with projects and commissions that one can fail to see what has already been achieved. I feel blessed and 10 years ago where I am now would have been my dream goal, but I’m furiously ambitious and have so much more I want to achieve. If I was told I had a month to live I would be devastated, largely due to the fact I have so much more I want and need to create. I don’t feel in any way that I have done my best work. I am probably a decade away from feeling that warm fuzziness of inner peace that I’ve done what I was destined for. Long term, I would love to get into film making of some sort. I have visions and ideas that can only truly be expressed with the power of motion and sound. One day!
CustomInk: What’s your most indispensable tool or office supply?
Chris: Hmmm… I hate to say internet, but it’s the first thing to come to mind. I guess my laptop, as it’s so essential to me staying on top of things. After that it would have to be my coffee machine. I can’t function without it first thing in the morning.
CustomInk: Do you have a pre-creativity ritual?
Chris: I like to approach each project with a clear fresh head. My rituals are usually a tidy of the work space/studio, a nice bath, and a coffee in town. I’ll do some scribbles to get some juices flowing, then choose some music or a movie to stream while I work. It’s great when things flow and I find myself just zoning out, losing all track of time and making a big dent in a project.
CustomInk: What’s one work of art by another artist you wish you had created?
Chris: That’s hard. So many iconic images are stored in my mind from my childhood and teens. I adore a lot of the vintage Games Workshop artwork. The old White Dwarf magazines were a visual paradise for me during childhood.
However, if I had to pick one piece, I guess it would be H R Gigers ‘Xenomorph’ design for the movie Alien. It’s such an iconic and feasible design for an Alien creature. It’s sleek and sinister, with a disturbing sexual aesthetic. I’d love to have come up with that design, as long as it was then used in the film and it became what it did. If I changed the course of history by coming up with that design and it ended up just filed away in a drawer that would be tragic! There are so many other images I could think of, but I’ll stick with Alien.
CustomInk: Where do you think clothing fits into the art world?
Chris: Clothing was where I essentially cut my teeth and found my path to a career in art. I established myself as a t-shirt designer, and through that I was able to get commissions that took me into other artistic territories. I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go over the last decade, but band merchandise has pretty much stayed constant in its art style. The great thing about being a t-shirt designer is that bands these days primarily make their money from touring and selling merchandise, so there is always work to be had in that field. I remember begging bands to let me work for them for free back in the day on Myspace, just so I could get a little bit of exposure and experience. I’m very glad I don’t have to do that anymore. Working with minimal colors for screen-printing can sometimes feel a bit restrictive and a detriment to the artwork, but sometimes limitations can force one to be most creative.
I occasionally do t-shirt designs now, but they are usually for licensed horror franchises or bands that I’m actually a fan of. It’s a nice feeling doing artwork for a band I loved back in my teens. It almost feels like I’m looking down on 14 year old me and high fiving.
CustomInk: If you had to wear one piece of clothing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Chris: My dressing gown. Its thick, snug, and I literally crave to put it on after being out all day. It has a hood and is like a bearskin over me. Being self-employed, it is very easy to fester in ‘The Gown’ all day. So I try to go out for coffee every day and tackle emails, etc. so I get dressed and keep some basic social skills!
CustomInk: What’s the last picture you took on your phone? Does it inspire you in any way?
Chris: I’m tempted to lie and say something cool, but it’s a stupid photo of me posing ‘Blue Steel’ style with my hair in a massive mess that I sent to my brother. We send each other highly camp and cringe photos often to basically gross each other out with embarrassment. If anything, it has inspired me to get hair cut. I want to grow it long, but the in between phase is killing me.
CustomInk: Where did you travel to last? What did you forget to pack?
Chris: The last place I travelled to was Portugal. My girlfriend and I travelled to a number of regions–Evora was particularly amazing. There was a ‘Chapel of Bones’ there, filled with 5,000 monk skulls adorning the walls and ceilings. I found that fascinating and oddly beautiful. Hmmm…what did I forget to pack? I can’t think of anything too major. I left my laptop behind as I was banned from any form of work on the holiday, which was good as I needed a break. It did feel weird not having my trusty laptop there; It has been all over the world with me and I use it at some point every day. I try my best to travel light so I cut down the risk of forgetting things.
To check out more of Christopher Lovell’s artwork, visit his Facebook, Instagram, or online shop.