Welcome back to our International Artist Series.
Today we're catching up with five incredible artists from the United Kingdom, a European country rich in history. I asked each artist how their country and culture influenced their work, and they delivered great responses.
Michael is an illustrator and designer based in London. Featuring extraordinary graphic illustrations for many editorial pieces, his work highlights diverse cultures and common themes.
There are a lot of things to really love about living and working in the UK! The quiet countryside, the hustle and bustle of the busy cities as well as the sheer volume of interesting and odd characters that inhabit here.
I love the cities! At the moment I live in London and there is always something going on, be it theater shows, gigs, arcades, festivals—the list is endless.
I think all of these fantastic things going on all the time help me to really stay inspired visually.
The art community here is fantastic! There are always exhibitions going on throughout the country. I try my hardest to see as many shows as I can wherever I go but sometimes it can be a real struggle as there is just so much!
Next up is Josy, a freelance illustrator based in Wakefield, United Kingdom. Inspired by the beauty of the countryside, she creates exciting, textural illustrations for magazines and more.
I love living in the UK because I have a lot of freedom to choose what type of career I want. I am a freelance illustrator because in the UK there is a lot of support for the various creative industries.
Because the culture is quite supportive, I have been able to work with a wide range of publishers, from greetings card publishers to more serious editorial commissions for magazines.
I believe I am less distracted being away from the hub of the UK publishing world. I find a lot of my inspiration comes from spending solitary time thinking and walking in the countryside, and scribbling ideas down for later use.
Explore Travel Posters
The art community in the UK is very diverse and this is very much reflected in the area where I live. I am lucky to live in a town where the investment on art is fairly high. A brand new art gallery was built recently (The Hepworth) and nearby there is a sculpture park featuring the work of another famous northern artist, Henry Moore.
My local arts community is also great, with lots going on from print workshops to street theatre. So yes, the UK is a great place to be for art and design.
Wielding epic, flowing colors and paints as one of his many mediums, Craig Black is a brilliant lettering artist based in Glasgow. Check out his incredible typographic skills in the following works below.
I am originally from a small coastal district in Scotland called Inverclyde. It’s truly a hidden gem on the West Coast. And after three years of working and living in the hustle and bustle of London, it was time for me to come home. It’s such a beautiful area and is an ideal location for transport links to Glasgow and across the United Kingdom.
My studio is literally 100 yards from the water. So every morning I walk along the esplanade—the water being so calm and tranquil is great for my mental well being.
The community is also so friendly which breeds a positive factor, so I embrace that and try to channel those factors into my work. I’m a big believer that the area and people you surround yourself with can definitely influence your work.
Typographic Window Mural
From music and architecture to art and film, Inverclyde has always had an incredible creative community. To build on that community, I’ve collaborated with Riverside Inverclyde to develop Creative Inverclyde, a series of talks and events from local creatives with inspiring stories to tell.
Designed to encourage discussion, share ideas and foster collaboration, we want to champion our creative community and make people aware of the undoubted creative talent from Inverclyde, who are making a difference in our local community and on a global scale.
The result has been incredibly positive in the area with new creative hubs and opportunities created due to this event. Creatives from far and wide are now moving to the area to become a part of this community.
Next, we'll dive into the dreamy illustrations of Mira Miroslavova. A self-taught artist with a love of Manchester, United Kingdom, she creates beautiful traditional and digital pieces full of whimsical characters.
Princess Stories and Other Extraordinary Events
I grew up in Sofia, Bulgaria. A small, colorful country in Europe. When I was a young teenager I moved to Manchester, UK, where I immediately started high school.
Not long after I engaged in this new environment, I started to spot the similarities between Manchester and Sofia. The cultural life was very active, and a lot of artists were coming up with new and amazing ideas.
I had a small contribution to the cultural magazine "See No Evil, Hear No Evil," where I had the pleasure to meet and experience the work of so many talented artists. I met amazing people there who inspired me to become an artist and to pursue a career in illustration.
On My Way
Even though, to most people, Manchester has very melancholic weather, I was immediately drawn to that. The wind and the air have this magical feeling, like opening an old book in a garden and taking a deep breath. And I catch myself staring at pictures I took years back to get inspired when I pick my next palette.
I am a slightly melancholic person and I just clicked with this city. I started appreciating its beauty and wanted to embed it into my work.
At first, I did not have any contacts within the art community in the UK. But later on I started to spot them all. I wanted to participate in everything so I could find what was that thing that made me, me.
The community really helped me to gain confidence and taught me to work hard for what I wanted. Afterwards, when I came back to Bulgaria, I felt so inspired and thankful. And I am happy that the art community in Manchester still reaches out and we still keep contact with each other, exchanging ideas and appreciating everything we do together.
Our final pieces feature the mind-blowing work of Scott Balmer. An illustrator from Dundee, UK, he creates vibrant digital illustrations inspired by nature and pop culture.
See more in his portfolio.
I live up in Scotland, so I’m largely away from the sprawling metropolises and general hustle and bustle of the city, while still living around the outskirts of the city that I grew up in.
I would say that what I love the most is seeing more green in my surroundings than grey and that's largely due to being able to be surrounded by some lovely scenery in the countryside. But I can also experience a city-based environment that's not too far away. It's nice to have a break up in scenery in that respect.
Growing up in Dundee, there have been a few things which have played a role in the type of creative influences within my work. Dundee has played a large part in the comic book industry and this has shaped some interest in me wanting to create illustrations for a living.
Video games have played a much bigger role though, and this is one area where Dundee has had an interesting history. Back in the 80s/90s when the zx spectrum was still a thing, many created with interesting limited palettes.
The city itself is also inspirational as it is based near the River Tay and features some vistas.
Super Mario Super Art Show
Though I haven’t played a large role in the art community here they are largely passionate about art and design and have had a few good public events which I think will grow even further.
With the new V&A opening soon, I think that Dundee’s art community is going to see a large bit of growth which will be fun to witness.
Love these art collections? Check out more from this series:
- Global InfluencesInternational Artist Feature: IranMelody Nieves
- Global InfluencesInternational Artist Feature: IsraelMelody Nieves
Many thanks to the artists who took the time to answer my questions and share a bit about themselves and how their country and/or culture has affected their work. You can check out more of their work in the links below: