Interview: Pete Harrison (aeiko)
1. Would you, please, introduce yourself telling us a bit about your background and when you got started as a designer?
I'm Pete Harrison, and go by the alias ‘aeiko’ which is pronounced ‘eye-ko’. Ever since I was younger I was creative and wanted to follow this direction in life, When I was 12 I wanted to be a graphic designer. Knowing this I was able to tailor my education around what I wanted to become. At school I studied art and design, same at A-Level. I went to University and studied MediaLab Arts. This 4 years of my life can best be described as a metaphor...
MediaLab arts is a car crash between two vehicles travelling at extraordinary speeds that takes four years to happen. In one car are internationally recognised computer scientists able to teach programming and control of visual media. In the other are artists, musicians, theorists and designers who are determined to reinvent how art, language and human beings are represented in the 21st century. Miraculously everyone walks away from the crash unscarred, and from the wreckage emerges a software artist able to operate at an exceptionally creative level in both corporate and cultural industries.
So I knew I wanted a career in the creative industries.. during University I started creating digital art, and by the time I had finished I had quite a few artworks to show, so I set up a website to showcase these. I began posting on a few community and social sites and networking with other designers and illustrators. I was featured in a few magazines and books and exposure started to grow. I took a fulltime job in London working at an agency, and while I was here I set up a clothing label as a hobby, I called this Funkrush, and commissioned a bunch of friends to do some designs for me.
Funkrush developed very fast and now showcase’s designs by some of today’s top illustrators and designers as well as being stocked in shops all over the UK and Europe. Alongside this (and my fulltime job) I decided to take up freelance and gained some high end clients in the fields of graphic design, web and interactive media, my online presence was still expanding. I was recognized by Computer Arts magazine as one in ten internationally recognised designers in the year 2006.
As you can imagine I was super busy, I was getting more freelance projects and funkrush was expanding even bigger, so I decided to quit my agency job and take up freelance full time. I moved back to Devon, southwest UK - this is where I grew up, although I loved London I think this place suits my lifestyle more. In between all of this I set up the Desktopography project and got loads of friends involved in that too. So this is what I currently do..im a freelance graphic designer running a few creative projects on the side, you can read more about them on my website, also feel free to check out my blog for updates and other fun things!
2. What is a good design to you? What's the key to it?
A good design can be a variety of things, I think that is an opinion, sometimes I may have a different opinion than others, its objective.
3. What are the three must-visit-regularly websites for you?
Probably facebook, tumblr and friendrise.com
4. You're a creative person - describe your creative process and how you stimulate yourself?
My design style I guess at the moment you could say it was photo manipulation with lighting effects, I use similar elements and the way I work that now people recognise a piece and can put my name on it, the workflow of each project is different, normally if its a personal piece, I will get the concept down, then sketch an idea and then go straight into photoshop. If its a client piece well they might have an idea of what they want so I will work to that..or sometimes if im experimenting I just go straight into digital! Recently I got a new graphics tablet so my style is evolving, I am drawing more and you will see a lot of new stuff this year, that you probably would not expect it was from me! It helps if I work in the early hours of the morning so I dont get distracted and I find it easier, I guess its more stimulating this way, im kind of nocturnal!
5. Do you remember your first customer? Was he hard on you?
Once I had started to create digital art, I posted it on forums and communities etc..my first customer saw some of my earlier works, and thought I could create something for one of their websites, so they got in touch with me and I did, we were both pleased with how it turned out, and I realised that it was easier than I thought and had fun doing it at the same time, I just had got paid for something I enjoyed doing..surely that's everyone's dream job. If one customer liked this, then i am sure other's would too, so that's when I started to take designing a little more seriously, and set up a website to showcase my artwork.
6. What or maybe who inspires you most?
Inspiration is hard to pin down, its quite a broad subject I see design inspiration everywhere I go. Some comes from personal experiences and my own imagination, it could be anything. Recently fashion and clothing labels, and music is one of my biggest inspirations. Whilst designing anything can inspire me and change the thoughts / design process behind an image. My work is always changing though, I got stuck doing the same sort of thing for a while as that is what clients wanted, but am starting to experiment a little more now. I have a folder on my desktop I save inspiring images too as well :)
7. Thanks again for providing WebDesign.org with this opportunity to interview you. On the final note, what advice would you give to beginner artists?
Live by an Amo la Vita lifestyle, love life! If you are passionate, you will succeed, just keep practicing! Dont forget to have a healthy social life too and try and balence you health, love and wealth. Overall just be happy and if you are creative, keep doing what you love!