ABSINTHE BUBBLEGUM

Ian Moore’s works not only satirize the absurd aspects of living in the 21st century, but are a visual treat on their own. The Bristol-based artist uses media ranging from digital illustration to murals and Riso printing to showcase his vibrant style and textures. Read today’s feature to learn about Ian’s insights into visual storytelling and why he uses 1-star TripAdvisor reviews as inspiration.

Your work spans different mediums, from digital illustration to spray painted murals, and now even Riso printing. What attracts you to each medium, and how does your creative process differ with each?

The thing that attracts me most is the efficiency of the medium for whatever the task. Spray paint is great for getting a piece of work up quickly in a big space. As for digital illustration, I used to produce most of my drawings traditionally with ink and brush, but once I moved over to using Procreate, I found it let me work much faster. It’s also a very powerful program that enables you to bring in colors and textures you wouldn’t be able to achieve as easily with traditional mediums.

I had always been put off by Riso printing because of my lack of understanding with the process, splitting up colours into channels and the limitations on how many colours you can use. But I think it’s those limitations that I find appealing now, trying to create an image just using 3 or 4 colours while trying to get the most out of how the colors mix when they are overlaid. The imperfections also give it more of a human feel than other printing techniques.

Your zine, based on 1 Star TripAdvisor reviews, sounds like an intriguing concept. What inspired you to explore this theme, and how do you translate these reviews into visual storytelling?

The project started because I had worked part time in bars for a few years, and one night there was a bad review written by a customer who I had dealt with. There was a misunderstanding that had ended with a customer behind the bar, swearing in my face, but in the review they had called me rude and unhelpful. And throughout my time in bars, I’d see the same kind of distortion of reality – customers who were too drunk and claimed in their review they had only had one drink and behaved like saints. So, I thought I’d make a project to joke about this.

The reviews themselves are fairly easy to turn into illustrations. I usually just treat them like individual stories. Sometimes I have to read between the lines or emphasise the parts I find ridiculous or unjustified. I want it to be obvious that the joke is on the reviewer and not on the venue.

Humour and caricature seem to be central to your artistic style, with influences such as Ralph Steadman and Robert Crumb. How do you incorporate these elements into your illustrations, and how does humour help you address themes such as anxiety and politics?

I think both Crumb and Steadman’s work helped me as I was starting out. They both laid the foundation to build up on what would eventually become my own personal style. Personally, I don’t really like to wear my influences on my sleeve, I’m more interested in carving out my own unique way of working.

 As for anxiety and politics, living in the UK (and I’m sure other places have similar problems), things constantly feel out of your control, whether that’s rising bills, rent, or food prices – you feel like you’re at the mercy of politicians and companies. I think humour and satire can be a good way to confront these things; if people can laugh at something, they’re more likely to engage with it. Although it can often feel like preaching to the choir, the more people are talking about these things the more public opinion can be swayed. I think there is a therapeutic element of using art to address more personal themes like anxiety, it’s always good to express these feelings even if it’s not direct, but more in the subtext of my illustrative style.

Your illustrations are vibrant and punchy, with a direct message. How do you approach the balance between clarity of communication and artistic expression in your work?

The way I work, which I think is quite common in the illustration community, is to start out drawing a bunch of scrappy thumbnail sketches. So, I get a feel for what I want to say in those sketches where I’m just dealing with the basic composition and themes of a piece. I think for me the artistic expression comes later, with the way something is drawn or by adding the colour and textures to the initial idea.

Music seems to play a significant role in your creative process. How does listening to different types of music influence your mood and approach to illustration, and do you have any favourite artists or genres that you find especially inspiring 

Yes, I usually listen to music when I’m working and have a big interest in music generally. I listen to lots of different genres such as punk, post punk, hip-hop and electronic music like techno. I’ve done a bunch of work with bands or work inspired by particular musicians in the past and It’s always fun to try and make something that works with that particular style of music. Hip-hop is great because of how story-driven some of the songs are – there’s a lot of imagery to play around with. Although I would say my illustration style fits easier into the psychedelic genre, and although I like that kind of music, these days I find myself listening to it less. I’m much more interested in the trippy elements of other music, like chopped and screwed hip hop from the 90s Houston scene.

Our current theme is Sugar Rush. If art is like eye candy for people, what would be your favourite sweet treat?

As far as visual treats go, I really like Andrew Tseng’s work at the moment. I love the way he draws his characters in such a unique and recognizable style. I’m also a big fan of Alice Monvaillier’s vibrant Riso prints. There’s a graffiti writer called Jakob (Jakobderbruder on Instagram) whose work just blows my mind. Also, there’s a painter called Michael Polakowski whose work is great and uses a beautifully saturated colour palette.

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Bio

Ian Moore is an illustrator from Sheffield currently based in Bristol, UK. He works mostly in Procreate for editorial illustration but also works with spray paint for murals and walls. Recently, he has been exploring the process of Riso printing. He also runs his own zine, which is based on 1 Star TripAdvisor reviews.

Ian’s work uses humour and draws a lot on caricature, with Ralph Steadman and Robert Crumb being early influences. Anxiety features a lot in his visual language, whether in the vibrant, skewed colours or his exaggerated, disgruntled characters. Politics and social themes are also important to his work and he tries to use humour as a way to ridicule things he doesn’t agree with.

Credits

Artist/ Ian Moore @iam.ian.m

Interview / Markéta Kosinová

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